Friday, June 3, 2011

How to Make Ceiling to Floor Grommet Drapes - A Tutorial

I promised a tutorial for our Basement Drapes, so here it is! And it's loaded with pictures - I hope it's not too bad to get through.
How to make THIS...
...look like THIS


















Supplies:
  • 60" wide Home Dec. or canvas Fabric - 5.5 yards - (purchased mine at IKEA at $7.99/yd.)
  • Coordinating Thread
  • Seam Gauge (to measure folded edges)
  • 12" Ruler (to measure grommet spacing)
  • Measuring Tape (at least 10-ft long to measure length of drape)
  • 2 packages of Grommets ($12.99 sets of 8, bought at Joann's with a coupon)
  • Curtain Rod (small enough to fit through grommet holes)
  • Iron
  • Marking pencil or pen
  • Scissors
  • Pins

NOTES: 
  • Always be consciencious of the direction of your fabric print and/or texture. I'd be sad if one drape print ran in an upward direction and the drape next to it went in a downward direction!
  • It's easiest to make a pair of drapes at a time, rather than making one side of the drape first followed by the other side of the drape.
  • I used 100% cotton fabric, so I used my iron at the hottest setting. If you use polyester, silk, or blended fabrics, please be careful with your iron setting so you don't burn or melt the fabric!
  • Since these drapes were going to lie up against a basement wall, I didn't line them. However, if you're going to make drapes to go over a real window, please buy drapery liner fabric at the fabric store and tuck it into the back of these drapes to so they're not so see-through when closed. Plus it's classier to see white drape liner from the outside of your house than the back of some wacky printed fabric. Might as well hang a Big Bird sheet with clothespins up in front of yer' dang winderr' then!

Length Measurement for Cutting Fabric:
1) measure your ceiling height down to the floor to get the length of your drape. Mine was 86"
2) add 6.5" for your top and bottom folds (86" + 6.5" = 92.5" for my total length of each drape)
3) Cut two long lengths of fabric at 92.5" each (or just cut your 5.5 yards of fabric in half if you want your drapes to puddle a bit at the bottom onto your floor)

Order of Sewing (to get you mentally organized):
1) Top;    2) Bottom;    3) Sides;    4) Grommets
By doing the top and bottoms first, the sides will fold over their seams, leaving a long, clean, smooth edge from the side view of your drapes.

READY - SET - SEW!!!

1. TOP
a) fold in 1/2" of the TOP edge of the fabric, pin in place, and press with a hot, steamy iron.
     (side note: I went to Catholic schools and had to iron pleats all around my skirts - took forever, but I learned how to pin one fold after another and another, then press them all at once by sticking pins into the ironing board)

b) fold in another 4" of the TOP edge of your fabric, pin in place, and press with the iron. (this area is where your grommets will go)

c) Sew with a straight stitch very close to the inner edge (1/8" to 1/4" max)


2. BOTTOM
a) fold in 1/2" of the BOTTOM edge of the fabric, pin in place, and press with a hot, steamy iron. (same as above)

b) fold in another 1.5" of the BOTTOM edge of your fabric, pin in place, and press with the iron.

c) Sew with a straight stitch very close to the inner edge (1/8" to 1/4" max) 



3. SIDES
 - here's where you're going to get a little fancy with what I call a "Military Sheet Fold... kinda," to get a clean, mitered looking corner at the tops and bottoms of the drapes  (my Dad was in the Navy) -
a) Place a pin 1.75" up from the TOP edge

b) Open the raw edge between the top fold and the pin, and push the center of the fold up into itself toward the pin, creating a 45-degree angle that goes out to about 1.5" from the top edge. Weird sounding, I know... here are pictures to help:

c) do the same thing to the BOTTOM EDGE
place a pin 1.75" from the raw edge (to the right of my finger), then push fold up into itself
bottom edge after miter corner fold, half inch fold, and 1.5" fold - ready to sew
NOW you can proceed with the same fold - pin - iron steps as the bottom:
d) fold in 1/2" of the SIDE edge of the fabric, pin in place, and press with a hot, steamy iron.

e) fold in another 1.5" of the SIDE edge of your fabric, pin in place, and press with the iron.

f) You can straight stitch the sides, but it might leave your drape looking a little, what I call, "woogilly-waggilly". There's no give with a reeeeally long straight stitch. So I think it's better to do a "Blind Hem Stitch" (hey! I used a real sewing term for once!). Your sewing machine may not have this stitch, but if it does, your sewing manual should show you how to do it. (if not, it's worthy of its own tutorial) Here are some pictures:
how you fold the fabric back to stitch onto the  inside of the 1/2" fold, picking up a few threads of the outer fabric every 5th stitch
how the stitch looks like on the backside of your fabric
how the stitch looks like on the outside of your fabric


4. GROMMETS
(follow package directions, really... which is:)

a) evenly space grommets, starting at 2" from either edge of the top of the drape. I kinda eyeballed the spacing first and then measured to get more accurate, even spacing. My grommets ended up being 5" apart, edge to edge (or approx. 7" from the center of each grommet)

b) use the template and a pen/pencil to mark a grommet circle - being careful to center it between the top edge and bottom edge of the 4" area that was stitched down at the beginning

c) cut out the circles using the skills you learned in kindergarten.

d) wedge the grommet side with the inner lip through the circle,
line up the top grommet piece over the bottom grommet piece,
and, as they say in the south, "mash 'em" together - wah-lah! A grommet is born!

e) continue with the remaining 7 grommets for a total of 8 across the top

LASTLY, install your curtain rod, put the drape "over, under" style onto the curtain rod so the top is wavy looking, and hang for visual enjoyment!

DONE!

I used these drapes to cover up two long stretches of plain basement wall on either side of our small, high basement window. I think it added visual height to the room, ties the grey couch and black cabinets together, and adds a little splash of pattern and color to bring a good balance of masculine and feminine to the room. Eventually I'll make some cute couch pillows to match, too!


Please feel free to email if you have any questions. I tried to read through this tutorial a few times looking for loopholes and hope I didn't miss anything. Good Luck!


79 comments:

  1. They turned out great! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-grommet-drapes/2011/06/05/

    --Anne

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you SOOOO much!!! I've been wanting to make curtains since I've moved into my new house (1 1/2 yrs. ago) and never did because I didn't know where to start. You have made it a lot easier for me. Running off to Joanne's right now to get fabric!!!
    I'm so excited- Thank you
    Michelle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wow, you made learning easy and interesting too. I'm anxious to get started on MY new gromet drapes!!!

      Delete
  3. What a great tutorial. Thank you for posting the pics...especially the military folds!

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  4. Thanks for the tutorial...you gave me the confidence to do it! By the way, I love your entertainment center! Is that Ikea?

    Thanks again Ginger!

    Jill P.

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  5. Thanks for the clear tutorial. I just made some very similar curtains, using your tutorial and they turned out great!

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  6. Thanks so much for tutorial and moral support. I'd like to know how to include the lining please. Thank you! Vinci

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  7. I've been hesitating about making curtains because all the tutorials for eyelets involve some heavy duty looking pieces of metal and some really complicated explanations. Thank you for simple yet full explanation without the scary machinery.

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  8. thank you so much, i did it except for the back stitch, it was kinda hard but my drapes turned out to be nice, i used a thick fabric (50 x 104 inches) per panel. if i have to buy them i will cost me a lot of money and i spent about 35 bucks for the pair, again thank you so much

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  9. Yours is the best tutorial I have found! I have my fabric, my grommets and my sewing machine ready and waiting. I can hardly wait to see the finished results. By the way, the fabric you used is awesome! Thank you.
    Kim D.

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  10. I love the way you express your methods.....good humour, but at the same time, quite helpful. I appreciated getting an idea of general hem widths and grommet placement as I had never sewn this easy style of drapes before!! Thanks again....keep up the great work you do!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello Friends,

    This blog has some picture these are very beautiful. Here the teaching methods are I really like which is helpfull for all.After this tutorial one can make a Ceiling to Floor Grommet. Thanks a lot....
    Grommets Drapes

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is a great tutorial, thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad that you and everyone else are getting great use out of this tutorial! Thanks for all the kind words!

      Delete
  13. I just made curtains for our nursery and I've only sewn something once in my life. This tutorial was perfect! Well written and easy to follow. Thank you so much...I feel like a real DIY'er now. Thanks for the help!!!
    I love your blog :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome! Happy to know this tutorial has been so helpful. Thanks for the blog-love!

      Delete
  14. Thank you so much for the step-by-step instructions with photos. Initially, I was really intimidated about trying grommets. I feel much more comfortable starting my project, now that I have something visual to follow. Hope mine turn out as nice as yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Glad I was able to help you become more comfy with using grommets. Good Luck!

      Delete
  15. Thank you SO much for this tutorial. I just used your instructions to make new curtains for my dining room, and they look spectacular! My boyfriend was terrified (my words, not his ;)) because the fabric was $15/yd, and I'd never made curtains before - but, we both agree, they turned out perfectly, and really pull the room together. THANKS!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YAY! I love hearing about spectacular curtains because of my tutorial! Great job!

      Delete
  16. Thank you for your tutorial, very clear instructions. I would like to inquire as to why you do not add a stabilizer to your header, such as Buckram, to add that needed stiffness to avoid the header from drooping. Would it be due to the plastic grommets used? My research shows that metal grommets are capable of holding thicker fabrics, including the stabilizer, and will not pull free from the header over time as the drape is pulled. Metal is more costly than plastic,(of course) but they will also not soften if the drape is hung on a window that has direct sun. What is your experience the both types of grommets...will the plastic grommets seal all the lawyers including the stabilizer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Here are my answers to your questions: 1) I've never heard of Buckram before, but I understand what you're asking. I guess I like the drape in between the grommets so it didn't even cross my mind to stabilize the header. 2) I would probably go with metal grommets if I was trying to press 2-3 layers of heavy/thick fabric together. I don't think the plastic would hold up or be able to snap together. 3) My drapes went on a non-functioning basement window that doesn't get any direct light, so I didn't need to consider pulling on the fabric or sun affecting plastic grommets.

      In summary, if you're lining your drape, using header stabilizer, and your drape fabric is heavy: use metal grommets. If you're using thin to medium weight fabric: the plastic should work fine. Good Luck to you!

      Delete
  17. Great tutorial. I've been sewing most of my adult life and this is the first time working with grommets. Great pictures which helped me understand the process. Thank you for helping make my project easier. Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  18. What size are your grommets? My JoAnns doesn't have large/x-large..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1 9/16" grommets is all I could see on the package. Get the size that works best with the thickness of your curtain rod. Hope that helps!

      Delete
  19. Yours were the best directions I found on the internet. I was in a time crunch to finish the guest bathroom before the guests arrived so I purchased 2 inexpensive table cloths instead of fabric. Saved all that time I wasted learning to caulk bathtubs and toilets.
    Laurel

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  20. Stumbled across this looking for a cheaper way to make a grommet curtain for our laundry area in a pattern that I actually like (not being limited to what the store sells). Great post! Looking forward to trying this myself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you thank you thank you! Email me with questions if you need help and good luck!

      Delete
  21. Just finished up some curtains for my DD's nursery, this was my first sewing project since school. I've had this page bookmarked for about 6 months and had the material for about 2, I finally got the courage to get them started, and low and behold 3 hours later I had finished curtains! Thank you for this tutorial!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG! That's so awesome! I'm glad I could be of help and thrilled that they turned out so great for you!

      Delete
  22. Excellent tutorial re sewing and construction. If you don't mind though, I would like to add a few additional tips:

    a) Grommet curtains look best when they are least double the width of your curtain rod. ie: 30" rod, each finished size of panel should be 60" wide. As most fabrics are standard in width (36"/45"/60") you may have to join pieces together. A l/2" straight seam allowance is usually used for construction and often are pressed open and flat to reduce their bulk.
    b) Do not use buckram if using plastic grommets. If you feel you wish to use a stabilizer in the heading (anon's comment 8:21 pm) consider using a light weight (garment) interfacing instead. You can use the iron-on type which will give the heading some stability and prevent it from drooping.
    c) Leave at least a 1" 'finished heading' above the placement of your grommets.
    d) Use an even number of grommets in each panel.
    e) Though not written in stone, grommets are usually spaced about 4.5" apart beginning and ending about 2" within the 'finished side hems'.

    Hope these little extra tips help. -Brenda-

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, that should have read: ie: 30" rod, EACH finished size of panel should be 30" wide. Rod divided in half = 15" doubled = 30" panel x 2 panels = 60" to cover the window.

      Delete
    2. Brenda - thank you for these great tips and comments - all great points!

      Delete
  23. Thank you for a very clear and detailed tutorial. My curtains turned out wonderful.

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    Replies
    1. Kaie - I'm so happy to hear that. Glad my tutorial was so helpful to you and that your curtains turned out to be a success!

      Delete
  24. I'm so glad I've found your blog, this is a helpful tutorial an can't wait to try this myself and make myself proud of what I did:-)

    flame retardant curtain fabric

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  25. Who knew a grommet drape tutorial would be so helpful to so many people? Thanks for the lovely comment and I hope your project turns out just the way you hoped!

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  26. why do you need to fold the fabric over on the top to place the grommets? what will happen if you just put the grommets through just one layer of fabric? I'm using plastic grommets and home decor fabric.
    please email. dreadog7@gmai.com thanks!

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  27. Thank you very much for this tutorial! I made drapes for my daughter, and they turned out looking very professional. My only additional suggestion: trim the excess fabric from the interior of the mitered corners to reduce bulk.
    Anne, Ashland OR

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    Replies
    1. Aren't corners the trickiest? I'm always dinking around with them to get them just right. So nice to hear that my tutorial helped you make great drapes for your daughter!

      Delete
  28. A question coming from someone who is not crafty: how do you cut out the circle in the fabric? Isn't that difficult?

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  29. Just finished these curtains! Went great! Love how the corners turned out. I went ahead and added an 8 inch header on the top. Thanks for the great tips!

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    Replies
    1. Yay! So glad this tutorial is still helpful to people out there! Happy New Year to you!

      Delete
  30. I just made my 2nd pair of curtains using plastic grommets. The 1st pair I used an iron-on pellon to stiffen the top header. It was too thick for the plastic grommets and I had to get creative to salvage the curtains. The 2nd pair I used stitch-witchery which fuzed the header together. Worked great. The cut hole didn't frey and was much easier to work with, and the stitch witchery slightly stiffened the header. Your directions are very clear and useful.

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    Replies
    1. Loved the hint - thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  31. I just found your site...this tutorial is AWE.SOME. Thank you so much!! I'm a beginning sewer who just bought a house with 3 large sliding doors...can't wait to dress them up!

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    Replies
    1. Kris - hope the tutorial helps you dress up your sliding doors! Enjoy your new house!

      Delete
  32. I have very little sewing experience, but I just completed a beautiful set of full-length grommet curtain panels for my daughter's room - and she is thrilled! I would not have tackled it, had your tutorial not convinced me I could do it.
    One additional tip that almost tripped me up -- check for pattern match when buying material. On impulse, I bought a bit more fabric than I measured for to make a small throw pillow, but ended up needing the extra to match my large pattern between my 2 panels. (I caught it as I was ensuring the flowers were growing up and not down on both panels, based on your reminder note!)

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    Replies
    1. Great advice and thank you for posting such a sweet note. Glad my tutorial helped make your daughter's curtains a success!

      Delete
  33. Thank you for the tutorial (brought back a few memories about the box pleats in my tunic because I attended Catholic schools also).

    ReplyDelete
  34. BEST tutorial I have read so far! I am going to bookmark this so that I can reference it when I make curtains!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your kind remarks. I'm happy to know that this tutorial has been so helpful!

      Delete
  35. Beautiful! Great explanation, great pictures! Thank you! Hopefully my son's bedroom curtains will come out looking better than mine did! :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Best of l luck on your son's bedroom curtains! Thanks for reading my blog!

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  38. I have a front porch that I would like to spruce up with outdoor curtains and I had this idea to have a curtain with grommets at both the top of the curtain and grommets at the bottom of the curtain - this would avoid having the wind constantly blowing the curtains all over and by having the curtain secured at both ends with grommets I think would work well. I think this would look stylish and better than having blinds (I don't want blinds - curtains would like nicer) and keep the curtains in place. I can't find any curtains online that have grommets at the top and bottom of the curtain - I'm a guy so maybe someone would want to make some for me?????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this is a great idea! It's possible you could find an upholstery or custom drape place who would take the job on? Or find a friend locally who sews that would be willing to help you out in your project. Your best bet would be using a coupon for the fabric from a store like JoAnn to get a good price since you'll have to buy multiple yards. Good luck!

      Delete
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  49. I am making grommet curtains from a canvas drop cloth. It is pretty cheap fabric, and in great lengths and widths. I am dying the fabric to a rich brown. But thanks for the hemming and corner instructions. I wasn't sure how wide to make the top and bottom hems. This was very helpful.

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