Step 6: Make up the Fabric panels

PLAIN and PATTERNED FABRIC are treated differently at this stage

Check your fabric for faults and that the correct length has been supplied NOW before making any cuts.


With plain fabric we do the same as with the lining. Press your fabric* before measuring and cutting so any shrinkage will be before the curtain is made up. As once the curtain is made it will probably be quite creased and if you have not already ironed the panels they will shrink if you press/steam them later having not done this first.


  • Cut the widths of plain fabric the length of the FABRIC CUT DROP calculated in step 3
  • As with the lining if you are working with an odd number of widths each curtain will contain a half width. Cut down one of the widths to split it into 2 equal halves.
  • Check the bottom of the panels are straight, if not trim.
This video shows you
  • How to measure and mark your cut drops.
  • How to cut your cut drops.
  • How to split a width in half.
  • How to make sure you use the correct sides the right way up later.

If each curtain is more than one width wide, we now need to join the required widths to make each curtain fabric panel.


  • Lay fabric panels to be joined right side together (make sure the panels are the same way up) align bottoms and edges.
  • If you are working with an odd number of widths each curtain will contain a half width. The half widths should be on the outer edges of the curtain. Join the selvedge to selvedge.
  • Join the panels with a plain seam.
  • Press the seams open
  • Check the bottom of the panels are straight, if not trim.
This video shows you
  • How to make sure you are joining correct sides and the right way up.
  • How to sew a plain seam.
  • How to press a plain seam.


Press your fabric* before measuring and cutting so any shrinkage will be before the curtain is made up. As once the curtain is made it will probably be quite creased and if you have not already ironed the panels they will shrink.

This tutorial is based on a normal pattern repeat fabric, if your fabric has a half drop pattern repeat please read HERE and adjust the instructions accordingly.


It is very easy to make a costly mistake cutting your drops wrong with patterned fabric, That is why we recommend the following method marking out everything before cutting. This also gives you the opportunity to check the fabric for faults and thatk you have enough length.


The calculation of the quantity of patterned fabric included an extra pattern repeat to enable you to position the pattern where you want it. Decide where the pattern will finish on the bottom of the curtain. (we choose the position at the bottom of the curtain because this is what your eye picks up)

  • From the bottom of the fabric roll move up the fabric to the point on the pattern where you want the bottom of the curtain to be and mark with pin 1.
  • Measure back towards the end of the fabric the hem allowance and mark with pin 2. If not you do not have enough fabric for the hem you will need to move the bottom point of your curtain further up the pattern.
  • Note the position of pin 2 in the pattern and measure up the adjusted cut drop in number of pattern repeats and mark with pin 3.
  • Pin 3 marks the position of the first cut
  • Check the distance between pin 2 and pin 3 is the adjusted cut drop calculated in STEP3.


The length of the first cut drop will probably be slightly different to the other cut drops, as this first section of fabric included an extra pattern repeat to postion the pattern in the correct place. To mark out the remaining drops.

  • Measure up the number of PATTERN REPEATS (ADJUSTED CUT DROP) calculated in STEP3 and mark the fabric at the correct point in the pattern ready for cutting. (The fabric should be cut at the same position in the pattern each time)
  • Check the length of the drop to be cut is the same as the ADJUSTED CUT DROP. Example
  • Repeat until you have all the drops of fabric required.


  • Some printed fabrics (particularly light weight linens) may need a bit of manipulation at this point to make sure that the pattern across the width of the curtain is all in line otherwise your panels will not line up when it comes to joining them together. Once you have rechecked all your measurements and your pattern is straight across the width of the fabric you can draw a line across.
  • Cut the drops at the marks

If the curtain fabric panels contain more than one width each we now need to join the widths to make the curtain fabric panels

This video shows you how to cut your patterned fabric. It includes in detail
  • How to calculate the Adjusted Cut Drop
  • How to position the pattern.
  • How to check the Adjusted Cut Drop.
  • How to mark out your drops.
  • How to cut your drops without a long T-bar.


Your fabric panels* should begin and end in the same place in the pattern if you have cut them accurately according to the true pattern repeat. This will make joining them a lot easier.

*The first panel will probably be longer due to positioning the pattern but will be cut at the bottom at the same point in the pattern as the other panels.


  • If each curtain has a half width, cut down one of the widths to split it into 2 equal halves. The half widths should be on the outer edges of the curtain.
  • Lay fabric panels right side together (make sure both panels are the same way up) align bottoms and edges. Join the selvedge to selvedge.
  • At the joining edge lift back the top layer of fabric until you get a continuation of the pattern where the two fabrics meet. Finger press along this fold.
  • Fold the top layer back down and cross pin a regular intervals.
  • Mark along the pressed line and sew the panels together with a straight machine stitch. (Your sewing machine should be able to cope with the pins but it could become blunt quicker.)
  • Remove pins.
  • Press the seams open
  • Check the bottom of the panels are straight, if not trim. (You should not need to trim anything off as your panels should all be level and if you do trim then you will affect where the bottom of your curtain will be.)
This video talks you through each step with extra hints and tips for easy pattern matching. It includes in detail
  • Where to start the matching.
  • How to align the pattern.
  • How to pin.
  • How to mark the fold.
  • How to stitch the panels together.

PLAIN and PATTERNED FABRIC are now treated the same.

Questions & Comments


Hello, firstly I would like to thank you for these fantastic tutorials! The best information I could find so far.

I wonder can I make a lining with 1.7 widths? Or it always have to be done with 1 width and a half?

As an example my curtain width is 137 cm. Fulness ration 1.9. Fabric width is 150 cm.

Thank you.


Hi Ksenia

Thank you for your question. We are in the process of rewriting the instructions for our tutorials to take into account exactly what you are talking about and clarify fullness ratios.

I would definitely cut down the fabric panel to the required width - this means working out pleats and spaces in advance (don’t forget to include the 5 cm side turns on the flat width of the joined curtain panels).

I don’t bother to cut down the lining panel until I lay it on the face fabric and then I trim it down.

Good luck with your project. Cindy Taylor


Hi! The pattern isn't printed quite straight on the fabric. Luckily only 1 width per curtain so no joining. Should I cut at an angle across the bottom so the pattern looks straight then cut down one side to straighten it up?


This is such a common question that we really must write an article about it. It happens regularly with printed cottons and can be a real nuisance when the pattern is regular but less of an issue with a random pattern.

You must always cut at a true right angle to the selvedge edge regardless of a wonky print.

Good luck with your project. Cindy

Qu2 Yes, I would cut down the panel to your desired size. Work out your pleats and spacings in advance (don’t forget to add in ease and 5 cm side folds) then cut your panel down to the required width on the outside edges.


In fact, as the curtain pole is only 97cm and the fabric width is 140cm should I be trimming the width of the fabric panels anyway so they're not too full? I think if I use the full width the fullness ratio works out to about 2.9 on what is obviously a small window


Mary Hollands

Do you ever cut off the selvedge and overlock? I am working with plain chenille and I am worried it will drop in the middle and if I do cut off the selvedge I would overlock it to prevent fraying. I would then join the seams


You could overlock a selvedge but it is not something we have ever done. We have trimmed some selvedges and snipped into others to ease them.


HI, I've made 13 blinds using your fab instructions...but I'm stuck with this one! I don't really understand ACD. I've got a Vanessa Arbuthnott fabric UP the Garden Path...PR of 31.5cm. I've got a fabric cut drop of 311 and work out the ACD to be 315cm. i still can't find a way of getting the 6 widths I need without wasting LOTS of fabric. At the moment I seem to be cutting the top & bottom of each drop in order to get to my 6 please!


I'm not quite sure why you are wasting lots of fabric. If you need 6 fabric cut drops of  311cm and your Adjusted cut drop is 315cm (10 pattern repeats). That means you will be trimming 4cm off each adjusted cut drop after joining etc. ( x6 widths) giving you 24cm wastage from nearly 19m of fabric. That is not a lot of wastage in our experience. 

Have you actually measured the pattern repeat on the fabric and that it is the 31.5cm (this can cause big problems if it is not  as the manufacturer says, quite often it is different! Always measure the pattern repeat on the actual fabric.)

Remember with Adjusted cut drops you always cut AT THE SAME POSITION in the fabric. The adjusted cut drop is a number of whole pattern repeats. (We obviously have to turn that into a length to calculate and order the fabric) 


The same thing is happening to me but the difference is a lot more than 4cm.

I am using a John Lewis "Fascino" fabric (fussy very small woven patterned fabric) with a PR or 38cm. I have a fabric cut drop of 237cm and have worked out the ACD as 266cm, which will be well over 1m wastage in all. (I am doing floor length curtains with a 20cm hem allowance and a 12.5cm buckram).

It could possibly be down to the whole number being rounded up to 7 from 6.23 (once the cut drop 237 is divided by 38) but I cannot round down to 6 repeats as it would mean a measurement less than 237cm.

I'm thinking I may have to reduce the hem allowance, but I'm not sure. Do you have any other suggestions?


Working with pattern fabric often causes wastage, you will very rarely have an adjusted cut drop the same as the fabric cut drop. The bigger the pattern repeat the more potential wastage you may have.

Sounds like you are cutting 4 FCD drops  of 237cm with 29cm wastage on each. That's not an excessive amount of wastage in our experience. Over the years we have learned not to skimp on fabric making small hems etc as you compromise the finshed curtains after spending all the time making them and buying all the other fabric just to save 1m.

If you really want to save that 1m your only options are a smaller hem or to attach lining to the top of the fabric to be folded under the buckram (we did this once on a Kate forman fabric with a large pattern repeat @ over £60pm that was going 4cm into the next pattern repeat - that did save the customer over £200.)

Note attaching lining to the fabric works best with fabric of a similar weight to the lining.

In your case with a 9cm shortfall using 6 pattern repeats we would accept the wastage and make the curtains with the proper FCD using the correct ACD of 7 pattern repeats. If you do decide to try and save the fabric make sure you measure the pattern repeat on the fabric and it is the 38cm stated (they do vary). If it isn't you could end up with even bigger problems.


Firstly I absolutely love your website and tutorials. You're my first port of call when I need reassuring and I happily spend hours on your site. I'm just starting out making curtains and blinds and love it and find your site invaluable.

My question is:- I've ironed open the seams on the reverse of the main fabric and it seems the fabric has shrunk. The fabric's composition is 84% polyester and 16% cotton. I was careful with the ironing, and didn't use steam, but the iron was obviously still too hot! I didn't notice it had shrunk until I've attempted to hem at the bottom. There's also a slight ripple down the joined seams which I guess is understandable. Do you have any suggestions or advice on how to possibly correct this please? Many thanks in advance. Kind regards


Once you have done that there is nothing you can do, you can't unshrink the fabric. That is why we always iron the fabric (if we can) before cutting and measuring.

3 options now

1. Just accept it and see what the curtain looks like when pleated up. 
2. Bin the curtains and start again with new fabric. (what we would do in the workshop) 

3. If you are binning the curtains try this - Iron the rest of the fabric to see if it all shrinks to the same size and removes the puckering (ripple), then check you  have enough fabric left for the hems after shrinkage. (you can reduce hem size if necessary)


When I pattern match my fabric I've got approx 3inches of seam allowance between the stitching and the selvedges. Would you recommend trimming and finishing or leaving?


Trim it a bit (leave about an inch each side)


In step 6 you say iron the material before cutting, I have a roll 20 meters long to make three pairs of curtains, doI have to iron all of it as I would normally cut all the lengths at the start to be sure I have enough material to do the complete project. Also I am worried about dragging the material over a small ironing board as this would seem to me to be likely to distort the material. Thank you


We check the roll before cutting and ironing for faults and the right amount etc marking the cut lengths with pins, We then cut and iron (frequently up to 40m ). We iron and roll on a big table though not on an ironing board.


Thank you for these tutorials - very helpful indeed. I have given myself a problem with the curtains I'm making by not making them long enough to include the 5 " buckram heading I need (I changed my mind about the type of curtains I was making - not very wise!). However, I do have about an inch extra length (after finished curtain length) so I am thinking of extending the curtains by sewing and extra panel across the top which will then be hidden in the buckram fold and not visible from the front. Do you think this could work or should I just give up? Many thanks for your advice.


Yes that should work, You could even join lining to the top if it is only going to be on the back. We have done this before with expensive fabrics and large pattern repeats to save the customer a lot of fabric costs.


Hello, I've just cut the fabric for a pair of curtains and have attempted to pattern match, however the pattern along the bottom edge does not match up and have the fabric staggered by 5 cm, so no longer a continued straight edge. I started with a straight edge taken using the right angle from the cutting board/table, even thought this ran through some of the pattern. Was this incorrect?


Sometimes fabric is not printed straight across, or you need to manipulate the fabric if it has movement See - CUT THE MARKED DROPS (PATTERNED FABRIC) STEP 6. 

Also see our BLOG item   "The Pattern on the Fabric isn't square!!!!" which does show a technique pulling the corner of the fabric that can sometimes help.

However you have cut the fabric now and I assume the bottom is staggered after you have joined the panels. You have a couple of options.

1. Presuming you know where you want the pattern to be on the bottom of the curtain. Put a pin across the width at this point, mark 10cm down for the first fold of the hem, then enclose the stagggered bottom in the second fold of the hem.

2. Trim the bottom of your cut drops square, then do as above again (the second fold will be shorter than the first) OR measure down from the point of the bottom of your curtain on the pattern and make a double HEM with the remaining fabric, Eg if 16cm left make a double 8cm hem.

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