(Guest post by Jennifer of Black Fox Homestead)
Today I’m happy to share with you a simple tutorial for a very inexpensive*, very easy burlap cafe curtain that you can make even if your time and sewing skills are limited. In just a few hours you can make a pretty, rustic curtain like this one to hang in your window.
We’ll be making a panel that is 24″ long and equal to the width of burlap (approximately 48″); although the length can easily be adjusted to accommodate your needs. Just be sure to purchase extra fabric if need be. The fabric amount can also be doubled if you wish to make a pair.
For this project you will need:
~1 1/4 yards of burlap in a color of your choice
~Thread to match
~An iron and ironing board
~A sewing machine
~A tape measure or ruler
~A spring tension rod** and clip on curtain rings if you choose.
*1 1/4 yards of burlap came to less than $12, the rod and rings can be purchased at any home store for less than $30.
**A spring tension rod is a rod that is mounted inside the window. A spring mechanism inside the rod allows it to fit snugly when adjusted to the proper width.
Step 1: Prepare your fabric
Before any cutting I would recommend washing the burlap to give it a softer feel. Please note: burlap tends to shed. I put mine through two gentle wash cycles followed by a low heat cycle in the dryer. This helped to eliminate some of the lint but it still made me (and my dog) sneeze a bit so be mindful of this beforehand if you are sensitive to that sort of thing.
After washing, run an iron over the fabric to eliminate any wrinkles and provide for an accurate cut.
Now, you’ll notice that the bottom edge has probably started to ravel creating a very crooked, uneven line. We need a straight edge from which to measure so that the curtains will hang evenly. To do this, pull a thread a few inches from the bottom creating a snag across the width. Then, using this snag as a guide, cut across the width of the burlap leaving a nice, perfectly straight edge.
From that bottom edge measure up a distance of 32″ and cut. (To arrive at the cut length of 32″ we take our finished length: 24″ + 6″ for the hem + 2″ for the top header = 32″.) For best results, I recommend measuring 32″, pulling a thread, and cutting across the snag as mentioned above.
As you cut, you may notice some imperfections in the fabric. If they bother you, you can try to cut around them but my advice is to not stress out about it too much. These imperfections add to the overall charm and rustic effect.
Step 2: Bottom hem
Most professionally made draperies and curtains have a heavy double hem across the bottom which gives them a nice body and weight. So we’re going to give our curtains a 3″ double hem ~ it just adds a nice touch. Working from the wrong side of the fabric, measure and fold up 3″. Press. Then measure and fold up 3″ again. Press, pin, and stitch staying as close to the folded edge as possible.
Typically at this point one would sew a double hem down the sides. But since burlap is so heavy, I felt that would create too much bulk so I have decided that the woven selvage edge is sufficient for a side hem. We’re going for a rustic look anyway.
Step 3: Header
Now let’s move on and finish off the top, or what is called the header. Again, working from the wrong side of the fabric, press up 1/2″ from the unfinished edge with the tip of your iron.
Then press 1 1/2″ and secure with pins.
Sew just like you did the hem, staying as close to the folded edge as possible.
And you are finished!
To hang your curtain:
Clip on the desired number of rings at even intervals. Slide the rings (with curtain attached) onto the tension rod, and mount inside the window. It is preferred that the curtain hang just about 1/2″ above the sill, but there are no hard and fast rules.
A few pointers:
~In order to save time: do all of your pressing at once ~the hem and the header. Then to all of your sewing at once. The project will go much more quickly.
~If you don’t care for the look of rings, the curtain can be gathered onto the rod instead.
~Two panels can be used together, opening in the middle. Be aware of the fact that when burlap is gathered “full” it becomes stiff and tends to pouf out.
~Fewer rings spaced further apart will create a more “relaxed” look.
~I am available and more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to contact me through my website here.
~More tips, tricks, and drapery/curtain terms can be found here.
I hope you enjoy your burlap curtain!
My husband and I are “newbie homesteaders”, having just settled into a few acres in rural Oklahoma where we are working to establish a thriving homestead. I love gardening, cooking, canning, and making our little house a home. You can read more about us and our homesteading experience at the Black Fox Homestead Blog.
This post was shared at: Frugal Days Sustainable Ways
Can’t Get Enough Homesteading Goodness?
Join over 75,000 others who get the weekly Homestead Toolbox delivered fresh to their inbox. It’s packed full of recipes, ideas, and homesteading tips you can actually use (no fluff), plus a copy of my very popular mulch gardening how-to guide.