• - Fabric
  • - Lining
  • - Thread
  • - Heading Tape
  • - Weights
  • - Curtain Hooks
  • Tools
  • - Sewing Machine
  • - Needles
  • - Pins
  • - Clamps
  • - Scissors
  • - Set Square
  • - Straight Edge
  • - Invisible Marker
  • - Tape Measure
  • Step 1: Measure the Window
    Printable Worksheet
    Printable Worksheet

    Fix your curtain pole or track in position.

    • Measure Pole length - the length of the track or pole excluding finials or end caps.
    • Decide on where you want the curtain to finish - eg whether to the sill, to the floor or over long etc.
    • Measure the Hook Drop
      - The distance from the curtain ring eye where the curtain hook attaches to the pole down to where the curtain length will finish.
    • Measure Hook to Top - The distance from the curtain ring eye up to where you want the top of the curtain to finish. * Note


    This video shows you
    • How to measure hook drop.
    • How to measure hook to top.


    Most people instinctively think you should cover the pole or track with the curtain, however choosing a high hook to top measurement can cause the curtain to hit the pole/track when stacking back pushing the curtain forward, rather than under the pole/track, when the curtains are pulled back.

    Some people like their curtains to cover a track when they are closed, this will cause them to push forward when pulled back.

    Extra Help & Comments

    Sew Helpful
    Post your questions and comments here, we will reply so everyone can see the answer.
    Please can you tell me where I can purchase a tape measure where part of the foot can fit through the curtain ring eye as shown in your image. Thank you.
    Sew Helpful
    The tape was bought from a builders merchant in the UK. it is an -- Advent 5m dual printed -- tape  a quick google shows you many places to buy it.
    susan m Kavanagh
    on a pair of smalllpair of home madelined curtains would an 8 incch return be to much. or is it a matter of choice?

    Sew Helpful
    A return is where the end of the curtain folds back to the wall. It is not mentioned in this simple tutorial for pencil pleat curtains. 8 inches is quite a distance to return back to the wall. Are you thinking of overlap which is mentioned in the next step?

    Amateur Zeva
    When using nylon heading tape, how do I keep the tied strings that are knotted from opening up or from becoming loose?
    Sew Helpful
    If they are tied they shouldnt come loose? The videos demonstrate fully how to insert the heading tape, pull the pleats in and tie it off.
    Is it necessary to launder the fabric before making the curtains?
    Sew Helpful
    Different fabrics behave in different ways. Washing your fabric is fraught with the danger of it shrinking, fading and changing its feel.

    With the fabrics we use we never wash them and would not expect the curtain or blind to be washed after it is made. The only thing we do is press the fabric and lining before measuring and cutting. That way you avoid the curtain or blind shrinking later when you press it. Always take care when pressing the fabric and test a small piece first.
    Is it necessary to shrink curtain fabric by laundering prior to making up.
    Sew Helpful
    We never wash fabric as we have had too many costly mistakes in the past with it fading, shrinking etc. 

    If you are making a curtain that needs to be washed and are confident your fabric and lining is washable, we would wash and press the fabric before making the curtains to reduce the chance of them shrinking when they are washed. It may be worth cutting a test sample of the lining and fabric to wash and press first.
    I'm planning some sill length curtains but my hook drop varies by 1cm. Do I go with the shortest or longest length or something in between? Many thanks for your excellent tutorials. This will be the second pair I make using your tutorial.
    Sew Helpful
    This is a common problem and is really a question of taste and what you prefer. Do you want your curtain to touch the sill or not. Ask 3 different people and you will probably get back the 3 answers you have given. Indeed we have learnt over the years to ask the client what they prefer.

    We like the longest option where the curtain is slightly touching at one end and to the sill at the other.
    I am looking to make curtains for a bay window (four separate panes, two on the side and two in the middle). Will there be any fundamendal changes in the steps I should follow?
    (I have read that there are lots of different types of bay curtains, from one large one, to three smallers curtains. I just want a normal set - two bits of fabic that hang at the sides when open and meet in the middle when closed)
    Sew Helpful
    No change to the instructions to make a pair. You just need to measure the  length of the track /pole the curtains will travel along around the bay and that will be your pole length.
    anita amaefule
    please I want to start making curtains for sale but has no idea about curtains.can u help me
    Sew Helpful
    Anita there is a full free written tutorial on how to make a basic curtain here. There are also videos available to show you how they are made professionally.

    We will add tutorials on more advanced curtains at a later date. 
    Rose H
    What is the recommended height from the top of the window reveal for the pole? I intend using 6" pencil pleat tape.
    Sew Helpful
    We don't use fixed rules, we judge by eye what we think looks right.
    Your instructions are for measuring up for curtains hung from poles. How do I
    I deal with the measurements when using a track ?
    Sew Helpful
    The measurement from a track is the same. You measure the length of the track - that will be pole length.

    Measure the hook drop from the the eyelet on the track.

    Then you decide your hook to top distance.

    Pencil Pleat Heading on track
    Hiya, I am about to embark on my first curtain making project. How do I know which row I want to put my curtain hooks on? There is a choice of three rows on the tape, but I don't know which is the correct one. Is there a method to ascertain this? Thanks
    Sew Helpful
    Watch the video in the next step (STEP 2) about hook drop and hook to top. That will give you information to help you choose which row to put your hook on.
    your tutorial is very helpful, but I think you should include in the section calculating the width of each curtain, which you say is half the pole length plus 5cms for turnings, that this will give NO fullness across the window. It is usual to have some gathers. Your calculation will give no gathers at all.
    Sew Helpful
    The finished curtain width ( half the pole width plus 5cm) is the width of the made up pleated curtain NOT the width of the curtain panel to be pleated which will be much wider to give it the fullness you talk about. If you click on the term finished curtain width in the tutorial it comes up with its definition and warns about confusing the two.
    When adding curtain tape I stich the top first, then the bottom of the tape but usually find at the end the curtain has twisted and I end up with more tape than curtain and when I try to press it out the curtain is puckered. Help please.
    How do I see the videos?
    I'm making full length curtains for a friend, they are to be fully lined and the fabric was £20.00 per metre. How much and what should be hand sewn.
    Many Thanks.
    Sew Helpful
    Steps 3 and 4 of the tutorial show you how to calculate the fabric and lining quantities. Where to hand stitch and where to machine stitch is covered at each stage in the tutorial instructions.
    Liz m
    Can I use a six inch heading tape with curtain to go on a pole ?
    Sew Helpful
    Hello there,
    What a fantastic site this is. I've so enjoyed making cushions and curtains following your stellar instructions, and am delighted with the results. Just wondering when/whether you're going to post a tutorial on Pencil Pleat Interlined Curtains. I think I've seen somewhere in the comments that you plan to do so. But could not see any dates attached to the said comment, so have no timeframe of when (if) you'll put them up.
    Many thanks.
    Sew Helpful
    We are working on interlined curtain tutorials, probably ready by end of june 17
    That's brilliant. Really looking forward to them. Thank you.
    So good to see so many new tutorials. Is there going to be a tutorial on specifically Pencil Pleat Interlined Curtains added to the set, too?
    Many thanks.
    Sew Helpful
    Yes we will make one, may be a few months though.
    Julie Batson
    When making a single, full length pencil pleated curtain for a door, should I be doubling the width of the curtain pole (excluding finials) for fabric?
    Many thanks
    Your instructions and tutorials look excellent, but I cant seem to see any recommendations when it comes to choosing header tape. Do you think the 6" tape gives a better finish with heavier fabrics and is it any more difficult to work with than the more traditional 3"?
    Sew Helpful
    It's no harder to work with, it is just a choice for what look you are going for. 
    I want to use pale coloured blackout lining fabric. Is there anything you would recommend or particularly avoid (UK)?

    Sew Helpful
    We buy wholesale, there is an item about linings including blackout linings in the website blog.

    Your Question or Comment

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    Your Questions & Comments


    If I have ceiling mounted curtain tracks with the curtains hanging below, will I need to add 'hook to top' allowance to the curtain length?


    Your hook to top will be from where the hook attaches to the glider up to where you want the top of the curtain to finish. If you want the curtain to run under the track make the top of the curtain about .25cm below the bottom of the track so it doesn't rub.

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