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Homemade Grommet Curtains

Homemade Grommet Curtains

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Grommet curtains are curtains with hollow metal rings that are pressed into the fabric and attached to a decorative rod with S-hooks. They have a neat designer look, yet are very easy to sew – and the rings are much easier to work with than they look! Grommet curtains are extremely versatile in style since the basic sewing technique is the same no matter which look you're aiming for, we'll go through the sewing steps and add the decorative tips for the end.

One tip before we start: Since using grommets means that you will be cutting holes in your curtain, always test the technique first! Use a sample of your fabric folded to the same thickness as the finished curtain and try it out. The instructions for attaching the grommets are found in the attaching tool kit that comes with them.

NOTE: Although the many preparatory steps make it seem as though this sewing project is extremely advanced, don't let that scare you. Each step in itself is quite simple, and works to ensure a beautiful finished product.

Decorator fabric (preferably light to medium weight)
Matching thread
Size 0 or 1/4" grommets and attaching tool kit
Decorative rod
Drapery weights

HINT: If you are not an advanced sewer, DO NOT choose a fabric with a pattern repeat. It will make your life much more complicated.

The first thing you have to do is figure out how much fabric you're going to need. This is easier than it appears at first glance:

Mount the rod so that the bottom of the hooks will be above the window frame. Measure from 1/2" above the bottom of the hooks to the point where you want the curtains to end. Add the total bottom hem depth, plus 3" for the top hem. The result will be the length of fabric that you need after it has been cut.

FOR EXAMPLE: Let's say that the finished length is 50"; the total bottom hem depth is 8"; and the total upper hem is 3". Your equation will look like this:
50+8+3 = 61 inches.

If you are using two panels for your curtain, multiply the cut length by two.

61x2 = 122" = 3 yards plus 4 inches.

This is the length of material you need to buy. Since material is not usually sold in measurements of less than 1/4 yard, you'll need to buy a little extra.

Before you make any cuts, preshrink your fabric. Find out ahead of time if it's machine-washable, because many decorator fabrics are not. If yours is, simply wash and dry it the way you will when you care for the finished product. If your fabric is dry-clean only, then steam-press it by ironing evenly along the grainlines. Let the fabric dry before you cut.

Now it's cutting time!
The first step is to straighten the cut edges of your fabric. Using a carpenter's square, mark straight cuts on the crosswise grain. Align one edge to a selvage and mark along the perpendicular side. Using the straightened edge as a guide, mark your other cutting lines. Double (maybe even triple?) check your measurements before you cut!! Cut away the selvages just beyond the area that is tightly woven.

You're ready to sew!

Place your material face down on a surface that is suitable for ironing. Fold the lower edge under to 8" and press. Unfold. Fold the cut edge back so that it is aligned with the foldline you just ironed, and press again. Refold the hem along the two pressed foldlines so that the raw edge is encased, to form a double-fold hem. Pin the hem so that the pins run perpendicular to the foldlines. With the wrong side of the fabric facing up, place the hem under the presser foot so that the bulk of the material is to the left of the machine.

Position the needle so that it will enter the fabric just inside the fold. Stitch the hem, making sure to backstitch a bit at the beginning and end, and removing pins as you come to them. Your bottom hem is sewn! Now for the sides. The side hems follow the same general process as the bottom hem. With the wrong side of the fabric facing you, fold the side hem to 3".

Iron and unfold.

Fold the cut edge so that it is aligned to the new foldline, and press again.

BEFORE you refold, place a drapery weight into the space between the layers of the side hem.

Now refold the hem along the two pressed foldlines you just ironed, and press again. Pin and sew as above, and repeat for second side.

Only one more hem to go!

The top hem is folded in the same way as the side hem – fold to 3", press, unfold, align cut edge to foldline, fold again and press.

Unfold the fabric at the corners and trim the excess from the inner layer, to within 3/8" of the fold. This will make it much easier when you attach the grommets, because the attaching tool will have to go through less fabric. Refold upper edge and pin the hem.

Stitch along the inner fold, removing pins as you come to them. Now you're ready to mark the placement for the grommets!

Grommets that are spaced close together will result in a curtain with a tighter, more controlled upper hem, and more even lower hem. Spacing them further apart will allow the curtain to drape down gently between the grommets, and the lower hem will be more uneven. You can experiment by hanging the panel with safety pins inserted at different intervals, until you achieve the look you want.

Start at the ends, marking the last grommet on each side at 3/4" from the edge. Mark the remaining grommets evenly, between 6 and 10 inches apart; they should be centered between the fold and the stitch-line of the top hem. Read the directions for attaching the grommets, and do a test run on a sample (don't forget to fold it to the same thickness as your curtain!).

Attach the grommets. Insert S-hooks through the grommets, and hang the curtain from the rod. Distribute the curtain fullness evenly and arrange as desired. Stand back and give yourself a hand!!

Here are some ideas for variations on your curtains: As an alternative to S-hooks, you can use decorative cording. String it through the grommets and around the rod, tying at the ends.

For a more modern look, you can skip the grommets altogether and use either clip-on or sew-on hooks. If you have a daybed for your child, coordinate the fabrics with your curtains. These are just a few variations - if you think of others, I'd love to hear about them! Enjoy making your home even more beautiful than it already is!

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