How to Sew Lined Drapery Panels

Finding just the right curtains can be tough and having them custom-made is expensive — but with basic sewing skills, you can make these beautiful, lined and pleated drapes in any fabric and get the custom look for less.

Traditional Blue and White Bedroom

Photo by: Marian Parsons

Marian Parsons

Materials Needed:

  • approximately 5-6 yards of 54" wide decorator fabric for an average 26-30" wide window
  • 5-6 yards 54" wide drapery lining
  • coordinating all-purpose cotton thread
  • tape measure
  • clear quilting ruler
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • yardstick
  • sewing machine
  • pins
  • iron and ironing board
  • 3 yards 4" wide header tape
  • 8 drapery weights
  • 16 clip curtain rings
  • curtain rod

Measure Curtain and Lining Panels

Use a tape measure to determine length from floor to desired height of curtain rod. Subtract 1" to account for rings and add 16" for header and hem allowance. Transfer this measurement to fabric (Image 1). Use a quilting ruler or square and yardstick to draw a straight line across fabric panel. Mark line with pencil; then cut across marked line (Image 2). Repeat with second curtain panel, being careful to match up design, so it's level across both panels. Repeat this process with lining fabric, subtracting 10" from total fabric length. Tip: For wider windows, it may be necessary to add to the sides of each panel with additional fabric. Cut the additional fabric at this time and seam two pieces together to make one larger panel.

Fold and Press Hem

Place fabric on ironing board wrong-side-up. Fold bottom edge of fabric panel over 8 inches and press (Image 1). Open pressed fold and fold bottom four inches of fabric into fold and press (Image 2). This creates a 4" double hem.

Insert Weights and Sew Hem

Open pressed double hem and place drapery weights about 18" apart along bottom edge of fabric, leaving about 3" on each end to allow space for fabric to be folded over. Tack each weight in place by hand with an all-purpose needle and coordinating thread (Image 1). Fold double hem, enclosing weights and pin (Image 2). Sew hem on a sewing machine (Image 3).

Hem Lining

Place lining fabric wrong-side-up on ironing board. Fold over 2" and press (Image 1). Fold over another two inches and press to create a 2" double folded hem. Pin and sew (Image 2).

Connect Fabric and Lining

Spread fabric over floor, right side facing down. Place lining on top, right side facing up. Wrong sides should be together at this point. Line up bottom of lining about 1" higher than bottom of fabric panel (Image 1). Smooth both fabrics out, removing all wrinkles and folds. Pin fabric to lining in a few places to hold them together.

Folded Fabric for Seam

Create Header

Use ruler to measure down 8" from top of fabric and make a mark on lining fabric at this point (Image 1). Cut off any lining fabric above that 8" mark. This is removing unnecessary lining that would make header bulky. Run header tape along width of fabric panel and cut to size. Fold fabric over header tape, which is 4" wide, then over once more to create a double folded 4" header, like hem at bottom. Pin in place and press (Image 2). Do not sew at this step. Tip: When working with large panels of fabric, put hand weights, water bottles or soup cans on corners and center to prevent lining and fabric from shifting.

Sew Sides

At each corner of fabric panel, cut out fabric from double-folded hem to remove some bulk (Image 1). Fold corner over (Image 2), then fold side edge in 1 inch. Fold over another inch to create a double-folded edge that hides raw edges; pin into place and press (Image 3). Sew sides and remove pins. Repeat steps 2-7 on second curtain panel.

Sew Header

Spread fabric panel on work surface face down. Determine which side of panel will be on inside of the window once hung. Measure 3" in from that determined side on header. Place a pin vertically at that mark (Image 1). Measure over 4" and place another pin. Repeat this process for entire width of drapery panel, alternating 3" and 4" (Image 2). The 4" spans will be pleats and 3" spans will be spaces. Sew 4" length of header vertically at each pin to secure header (Image 3). Remove pins and trim threads. Repeat with second panel, starting at opposite side, so panels are mirror images of each other.

Pleat and Hang Panels

Fold two pleats inside each 4" span on header (Image 1). Pleats should point outward. Tack each pleat at top with an all-purpose needle and thread (Image 2). A thimble may be required for thicker fabrics. Once all pleats are tacked, clip curtain rings inside of each pleat and in each folded edge (Image 3). Rings may also be sewn into pleats (Image 4). Repeat with second panel. Press drapery panels, if necessary. Slide drapes onto rod and hold over window. Mark desired placement of hardware. Install hardware and hang curtain rod (Image 5). Draperies should "skim" the floor.

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