Sheer and Net Curtains
Translucent fabrics make ideal curtain material when daytime privacy is desired. When drawn, sheer or net fabrics will obscure a window, but at the same time allow daylight to illuminate the room.
Available in a variety of weights and colours, sheers and nets can be made up as the only curtains in a window, or as secondary daylight drapes accompanying a set of curtains in a lightproof fabric.
Make a handmade heading or use a ready-made heading tape. Hang the curtains from a lightweight pole or plastic-coated sprung wire, attached by hooks to eyes screwed into the frame.
Making up the Curtain
Choose a sheer or net heading tape, and calculate the quantity of fabric required. For translucent curtains, try to find a wide fabric needing few joins.
Cut the fabric straight, using the pulled-thread method. Using a new, fine sewing needle, make joins with french seams. You will also need appropriate hooks and the basic sewing kit.
1. Hemming Edges Lay the fabric on a large, smooth, flat surface. To neaten the edges of the fabric, pin a 1 cm double hem at each side edge. Tack, sew and press the hems.
2. Hemming Bottom Edge Turn over and pin a 2 cm double hem at the bottom edge. Tack, sew and press the hem. At the top, or heading, edge of the curtain, turn over the fabric the same width as the tape and pin the tape in position.
3. Attaching Tape Turn under the raw ends of the heading tape by 2 cm, and sew it to the wrong side of the curtain. Sew across the ends of the threads at the leading edge. Pull up the loose gathers and arrange fabric evenly across the curtain. Secure free ends of cords using a cord tidy.
The Finished Curtain
The easy-to-work and lightweight nature of translucent fabrics allows for a wide range of curtain styles to be quickly made up and hung over a window or doorway.
A simple effect can be quickly achieved with a narrow heading tape or sleeve. Sophisticated ideas include draping the curtain pole and cutting the drops too long so that the fabrics cascade onto the floor.
Sew two curtains to one piece of heading tape. The leading edge of each should be the length of the diagonal of the window. The sides should be the sill length.
This is a formal style using wide heading tape on a sheer fabric. A deep frill such as this looks very effective and elegant on curtains with a long drop.
Drape a pole or rod above an opening with sheer fabric. The effect is purely decorative and is ideal for windows where privacy is not very important.
When using a wooden or metal pole or rod, fix the heading tape below the top edge of the fabric so that the frill flops forwards, revealing the hanging system.
When made of opaque fabric, unlined curtains are the simplest and the least expensive lightproof drapes for a window or other opening.
Unlined fabric may be well suited to frequent washing, so curtains made from this material are particularly appropriate for the most intensively used rooms of a house, such as the kitchen and bathroom.
An unlined curtain is also quick and easy to make and provides an ideal way to practice fundamental curtain-making techniques before attempting the demanding lined varieties.
To enable these curtains to hang properly, you may have to add weights in the hems or mitres.
Making up the Curtain
Decide on the type of hanging system and curtain heading, and the fabric fullness. Measure the window and calculate your fabric requirements.
Clear a flat surface to work on and have ready the heading tape, matching hooks, and the basic sewing kit. Cut the fabric to size, allowing extra for joining panels. Remove the selvages.
1. Joining Panels Sew together panels of fabric, aligning any pattern. Fold the hem and sides of the fabric by 1.5 cm to the wrong side and press in place. Fold the sides over again by 2.5 cm and press. Fold up the hem by 7.5 cm and mitre the corners. Then slipstitch the side turnings.
2. Turning Top Edge Along the top edge of the curtain, fold over, pin, and press a strip of fabric 4 cm wide to the wrong side. Cut the heading tape to the same width as the finished curtain, allowing 2 cm at each end for turning under.
3. Attaching Tape Pin and tack heading tape in position, just below top fold of the curtain. Sew along both sides of the tape in the same direction, and across the leading edge to secure the drawstrings. Knot individual drawstrings to prevent them from being pulled through when you draw up gathers. Cut a length of medium-density chain weights to the curtain width.
4. Securing Weights Unfold the hem so that the topmost fold is exposed. Lay the length of chain weights along the crease in the fabric. Then sew the weights in place at regular intervals.
5. Finishing Off To finish off the curtain, refold the hem and pin it in place. Then slipstitch along the hem to secure it. Fit the curtain hooks to the tape, and hang the curtain on the track, rod, or pole. Dress the finished curtain.
The Finished Curtain
The draping quality of lightweight or opaque curtains will be improved by securing weights within the hem. Weights are available either as chains to lay along a hem, or as button-shaped discs to secure in the mitres.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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