Paranoia + Procrasination = DIY Window Curtains

You know sometimes when you’re so scared to try something that you procrastinate in the hopes that someday you’ll wake up feeling confident and knowledgeable and ready to tackle that something with skill and dexterity? That’s kinda what happened with the fabric that we got for our nursery curtains. It quietly sat in the closet of our guest bedroom, waiting for me to overcome my fear of cutting the fabric wrong and having horribly crooked curtains and disappointing my mom who bought it and embarrassing our baby who would have to sleep in a room that was decorated by an obvious amateur.

I didn’t wake up one day feeling confident and knowledgeable, but I did wake up one day feeling that I couldn’t put it off any longer because I couldn’t paint anything and I was feeling pretty useless. So I took a deep breath and laid out the fabric on the floor in the kitchen and told myself to just CUT THE FABRIC and it would all turn out to be okay, hopefully, in the end.

Too much prose for a simple set of curtains? Perhaps. But I’ll show you how I cut it and how I “hemmed” it, in the hopes that this post will help at least one paranoid, procrastinating person out there.

I measured the full length of the wall in our nursery, which came to 93 inches. I then added 1 1/2 inch to the top and to the bottom = 96. I even asked my math teacher husband if I did the math correctly. I have a history of bungling seemingly simple measurements (the reason why our closet bookshelves are not YET done), so Nick has politely requested that I run all numbers by him.

After laying out the fabric on the kitchen floor, I measured the length on both sides and used a L-ruler to make the marks. The L-ruler gave me some security because I figured that the L would line up with the side of the fabric and thus my marks would be straight across the fabric.

Then I marked the whole length of the fabric, holding my breath all the while and hoping it would be straight. I guess it all worked out and all the cuts were okay, even though I did throw a mini-tantrum at the last cut when my markings were completely crooked and off. Luckily, since I would hem the top and the bottom anyway, my messed up markings didn’t matter.

Next up was to actually hem the fabric. I used iron-on hem, which I recommend if you have a sewing machine that has been in its box for the past four years. I did the sides of the fabric first, which gave me some more confidence since there is a clear border on the sides which I followed when folding over the fabric. Before hemming, I ironed the fold so there would be a crease for me to follow. Then I just put the hem strip and ironed over it for two seconds, let it cool, and peeled it off. Fold over the fabric and iron again, for 6 to 8 seconds, resist the urge to pull on the fabric to test if it sticks because it won’t stick until cool, and then you’re golden. It was pretty easy, but time consuming. Luckily we were watching Dexter while I was doing this, so I wasn’t too bored.

After the sides, it was time for the top and the bottom. I did the top first in the same manner, with a little more paranoia because there was no clear border to follow, but I just eyeballed it and it turned out fine. Then I hung the curtains up and pinned the bottoms until they pooled on the ground just a little bit (I hoped this would hide any imperfections in my hemming) and took them back to the ironing board.

Since the bottoms of the curtains had more fabric to fold up, I decided to do a double-folded hem. Does that term make any sense? I’ve already blathered on for too long on this post, so I will let the photos do the talking and you can see how I did the double-folded hem on the bottoms.

The curtains look great and I’m surprised that they look so good! SO RELIEVED. Even though it took forever, I feel motivated to do curtains in the other rooms in the house! I’m not too sure if making curtains is much cheaper than buying curtains – the costs seem to be similar in the end – but it’s nice to get the exact fabric that you want instead of settling on what is available out there.

It is so hard to photograph the curtains with the light shining out of the window – I tried my best with our little point and shoot. (If you have any tips, let me know!)

I plan to get a white roller shade with blackout shade on the window and perhaps add a fun orange ribbon on the roller shade.

The lesson here, at least for me, is to stop worrying about perfection and just do my best and it’ll be OK in the end. If not, it’s not exactly curing cancer, so I need to just chill. Right? Right.

Fabric: Covington Wilmington Multi.

Linking up to the Window Treatment Challenge at the CSI Project!

32 Responses

  1. GREAT job!!!! Bet its fun! DO THIS ALL U CAN before u have little ones fumbling around with the pins n such. my sewing machine is now gathering dust and in a dark cellar waiting for my little pumpkins to acknowledge danger. lol

  2. Thank you! I’m a procrastinator who is afraid to cut fabric for roman blinds. I might have a bit more courage try it now.

  3. You did it! Great job! I definitely get intimidated and put off a lot of projects.

  4. Love the fabric! Beautiful job! Come see The Raj!

  5. The curtains look great! Totally do the beribboned roller shades–I just did that in my daughter’s room last week and am totally in love with it.


  7. They turned out great – and I love the fabric!

  8. You did it!

    I totally understand the fear and procrastination. Doing it myself regarding a certain slipcover right now.

  9. Damn gurl those look good. taking notes now.

  10. […] I like how it brings out the blue in the curtains: […]

  11. you are an inspiration!!! the curtains are just beautiful. i want to start doing what you’ve been doing, all the DIYs. now that im settling down, quite a bit and so much actually! im just going to follow you more. keep on 🙂

  12. […] First up, my favorite find – a dresser for the nursery! […]

  13. So pretty! Love the fabric. Iron-on adhesive is a lifesaver. I am also guilty of procrastinating and then feeling useless. Doesn’t it feel good to get something done? 🙂

  14. They look great — I’d be lost without hem tape! Love your fabric choice too.

  15. Your curtains look amazing! I love the fabric you chose!

  16. […] just held off on that room while we focused on the guest bedroom, the Very Green Bathroom, and the nursery. Until we realized that we only had two rooms left to paint – our master bathroom and the […]

  17. Your curtains look really great! Nice job on the faux-sewing, and good choice on the fabric!

  18. Okay, I know I’m SO late to this post, but I think I might be that procrastinating, paranoid person you were talking to. I need to buckle down and cut my own curtain fabric! Why are simple panels so intimidating? (I’m still DYING over that fabric, BTW. SOOO pretty!)

  19. […] bought room-darkening vinyl roller shades to go with our curtains because babies sleep at all times of the day and I wanted the room to be able to get dark enough […]

  20. Just bounced over from Brooklyn Limestone because this fabric is fabulous. I think I may have the name of it because it looks like this fabric I pinned a while back. I actulaly like it better now that I’ve seen it as curtains. Covington Wilmington Multi? Anyhoo, if it’s not identical it’s close. =)

  21. I love the curtains and the fabric is Gorgeous!!! You did a great job!!! I am in the same dilemma with a quilt I’m making. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I plan to get all the squares done during the holidays;0)

  22. Saw your curtains via The CSI Project. LOVE the material and stop worrying about perfection…they are super cute! I hope you are completely enjoying them. You can see my DIY curtains at
    …using burlap, talk about imperfection.

  23. Great choice of fabric for a nursery!

  24. I am that person that procrastinating paranoid person that you are reaching out to in this post. Thank you! I am going to do this exact project, but don’t understand how you made the top to hang. Will you please explain? I am 30 weeks pregnant and nesting like a loca, so please do get back to me as soon as you have the chance. I would be so grateful! Congratulations and great job.

  25. […] I like how it brings out the blue in the curtains: […]

  26. […] of orange colors and settled on Amber Glow – it’s a soft orange and went well with the curtains. The other colors reminded us too much of the Longhorns and if you’ve ever been in Austin on […]

  27. […] First up, my favorite find – a dresser for the nursery! […]

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