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Welcome to the first day of Winter 2012-2013 – the shortest day of the year! I don’t know about your corner of the world, but here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve already entered our gloomy gray days. The leaves have fallen from the trees (except for our famous Oregon evergreens) and the gardens are barren and wet. Today’s cute cafe curtains are a wonderful way to cheer up your window treatments during the winter months. As half curtains that hang on a tension rod, they cover the bottom of the window, shielding those sometimes less-than-lovely vistas while still letting the pretty white winter light shine through above. The main vertical panels are made from split fat quarters. We used the cheery Flirt collection by Sandy Gervais for Moda Fabrics

Curtain panels are a perfect beginner project. They’re fast, super simple, and give the new sewer a great sense of satisfaction when she/he hangs them up and instantly transforms a window from plain and boring to pretty and bright. 

The supplies listed below are for TWO finished curtain panels measuring 41″ wide x 25″ long each. These were created for a 40½” wide x 49″ high window, using the rule of thumb for a softly gathered width of two to two-and-a-half times the window width; we used two times. The ribbon ties make the height somewhat adjustable. However, if your window(s) are very different in size, check out our tutorial: How to Measure for Curtains.

The drawing below shows the finished measurements of one of our sample curtain panels:

Flirt by Sandy Gervais for Moda came out in November 2012, and is still widely available from many of your favorite online and in-store Moda retailers. We found a great selection at Sew4Home Marketplace vendor, Fat Quarter Shop. It is available in quilting cotton in all standard pre-cuts sets plus a pretty quilt panel that measures 23″ x 44″.

Our thanks to Moda Fabrics for sponsoring this month’s series. We have over three weeks of projects and how-to tutorials to get you through the holidays and thinking about those 2013 sewing resolutions.

For more information about pre-cuts, check out the Pre-Cuts Lesson tutorial from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop for the inside scoop on the most popular pre-cut bundles. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Jem Gold 660)

Fabric and Other Supplies

For our two panels, we used FIVE fat quarters for the main vertical panels and yardage for the lining and bottom accent bands. If you choose not to use fat quarters, you’ll need approximate ½ yard cuts from FIVE coordinating fabrics as well as the yardage shown below to create your curtains.

Getting Started

  1. Cut each of the five 18″ x 22″ fat quarters in half lengthwise to create ten 22″ high x 9″ wide rectangles.
  2. From the accent border fabric, fussy cut TWO 9″ high x 41″ wide strips.
  3. From the lining fabric, cut TWO 22″ high x 41″ wide panels. 
  4. Cut the ribbon into TWELVE 18″ lengths.
  5. Apply a line of Fray Check, or similar, to each end of each piece of ribbon, and allow to dry or iron dry with low heat. This will help prevent the ribbon from fraying and raveling.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Our curtains are designed to have the same panel-pattern working from the outside edge in. When the curtains are hung side-by-side, the two center panels are matching. You can follow this same design or create your own panel-pattern. 

Sewn front panel

  1. Find the first two panels. Place them right sides together, aligning one 22″ edge. Pin in place.
  2. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the two panels together. 
  3. Continue in the manner until all five panels are sewn together. Repeat to seam together the pieces for the second curtain panel. 
  4. Press all the seams open. 

Ribbon ties

  1. Collect the twelve ribbon lengths, six for each panel. 
  2. Fold each length in half to find its center point. 
  3. Pin the folded edge of the ribbon flush with the top raw edge of the sewn panel; place one ribbon at each seam and the last ribbons ½” in from each side edge. Hand or machine baste in place.

Attach accent band and lining

  1. Fold one accent band in half lengthwise (so it is now 4½” x 41″), wrong sides together. Press
  2. Open the accent band back up and lay it flat on your work surface right side facing up. You will be able to see the pressed crease down the middle. This acts as a simple guide; the folded edge will become the bottom edge of the finished panel. 
  3. Repeat to crease the second accent band. 
  4. Place one accent band right sides together with the bottom of one sewn panel. Pin in place along the entire bottom edge.
  5. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together. Press the seam allowance together and toward the accent band.
  6. Find one 22″ x 41″ lining panel. 
  7. Place bottom edge of the lining panel right sides together with the remaining raw edge of the accent band. Pin in place.
  8. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together. Press the seam allowance together and toward the accent band.
  9. Your sewn panel is now stitched in place on one side of the accent band, the lining on the other side, and – as mentioned above – the crease line has become the bottom edge.
  10. Repeat for the second panel.
  11. Fold the lining and the sewn panel right sides together, sandwiching the ribbon ties in between the two layers. All the raw edges should be flush and that accent band crease line should still be the bottom edge. If needed, you can pin the ribbon tie tails to the curtain panel to help insure they stay out of the way of your final seam.
  12. Pin the layers together along both sides and across the top, leaving a 3-4″ opening along one side for turning. 
  13. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the top. Remember to pivot at the corners and to lock your seam at either side of the 3-4″ side opening. 
  14. Clip the corners and turn right side out through the opening. Use a long, blunt end tool to gently poke out the corners so they are nice and sharp. 
  15. Press the panel flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pull the ribbon ties up and away from the panel. 
  16. Edgestitch along the top and down both sides, stopping at the accent band. 
  17. Repeat for the second panel. 

    NOTE: Our design does not have edgestitching along the sides or bottom of the accent band. If you feel you really want edgestitching, we recommend re-threading your machine with thread in the top and bobbin to best match the band. 
  18. To attach the ribbons to your tension rod, hold the two ribbons flat together as one. Bring them up behind the rod and down over the top. Make a simple knot and tug gently to secure. The ribbon tails should lay flat against the curtain panel with just a small space between the two tails. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

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