Simple sewing project for french door curtain panels

Easy French Door Curtains to Make

This seemingly ordinary project (Did you really just yawn?) may be the perfect beginner sewing project for you to cut your DIY teeth on. It’s easy and relatively fast to make. It involves two skills, ironing, and straight stitching. I know that you can do this girl! Depending on the fabric you choose, you can have some fun and get creative too. 

Choose a simple and subtle fabric style, as I did above, or amp it up with bold pattern or color. French door curtains can give your home decor a touch of color, hide a messy area in your home or provide privacy behind closed doors with blackout shade qualities. The hardest part about this project is actually picking your fabric.

Here are all the supplies you need to create this project.

Materials Needed

Fabric
Thread
Scissors
Cutting Board
Sewing Machine
Iron
Window Hardware Set
Cordless Drill and Drill Bit (Sized for your Hardware)
Phillips-head Screwdriver
A Measuring Tape
Level

Design Considerations

There are a number of options to choose from, depending on the french door(s) you have.

Flat Curtain Panels

Just as the name implies, this is a flat piece of fabric, suspended between two curtain rods. It is smooth and without pleats or gathers. Large patterns, vertical stripes or graphics that you want to be clearly visible, such as words work best with this type of curtain..

Gathered Curtain Panels

This is a piece of fabric with fullness hung between two rods and gathered at the header and footer. Solid colored fabrics and smaller patterns work well with this style of curtain.

Single Layer Curtain Panels

This type of panel has just one layer of fabric. You’ll need to decide if you prefer sheer or opaque fabric. If you want to sew a single layer panel (which is definitely the easiest), look for a fabric that is attractive on the reverse side as well as the front if it will be visible on both sides of the door. Choose your fabric accordingly.

Lined Curtain Panels

You may also consider lining your curtain panels if you can see the fabric on both sides of the door. If your fabric only looks good on one side, or if you need blackout qualities this may be a great choice. Do you want two different fabric designs to complement the facing rooms or is it a closet and it doesn’t matter?

If you want the curtain panel lined, be sure to choose two fabrics that are fairly lightweight. The combination of two medium weight fabrics can get bulky, pucker and may not gather well.

I know…so many decisions! Next, let’s measure the french doors and find out how much fabric you need to buy.

Determine the Amount of Fabric You Need

To determine how much fabric you need to purchase, choose the style of curtain panels you would like to make. Measuring directions are below.

Flat Curtain Panel

First of all, measure the width and height of the window. If you are making a flat panel curtain you need to allow more fabric for the seam allowance and the rod pocket for the hardware. Add 3 inches total to the width for the fabric (1.5 inches on both sides) and 3 inches total to the height (1.5 inches on top and bottom). If you are super cautious, add more. I can relate. See drawing below for additional help.

Gathered Curtain Panel

For a fuller and softer gathered style curtain panel, first, measure the width and height of your window. Like the flat panel above, you need to include additional fabric for seam allowances and the rod pockets on the top and bottom of your panel. Add 3 inches total to the height (1.5 inches each for the top and bottom). The gathers will require more fabric in the width of the panel, but will give you beautiful fullness. I would recommend you double the width of your window measurement, but this is your personal decision of how full you want it to be. See drawing above for more measurement assistance.

Sewing the Curtain Panels

After you have purchased your fabric, be sure to wash and dry (or hang dry) your fabric to allow for any shrinkage. Next, press your fabric, this makes it so much crisper and easier to sew. You are ready to begin!

Step by Step Sewing Directions for French Door Curtains

1 On both the left and right sides of the fabric, fold fabric twice towards the center, tucking raw edges away under. Press with iron. When finished with both sides, double check the panel is wide enough to still cover your window. If necessary adjust the folds and press again. (If you are doing gathers, no need to check you will have plenty of width in your fabric)

Next, on both the top and bottom of your panel, turn raw edges over first with one short fold into the center. Press. Then, fold one more time, this time a longer fold that will form a pocket deep enough for your curtain rods to slide into. Press again.

2 Stitch both the left and right vertical sides of the curtain panel. Next, stitch top and the bottom leaving a pocket for the hardware rod to slide into both. Press again if necessary, you are ready to hang your door curtain up.

3 Gather your curtain, window hardware, screws, handheld drill, and level. Grab a spouse or friend to help you too, it makes it easier.

4 Slide the drapery rods into the pockets.

5 Gather the drapes to fit on the drapery rod.

6 Finally, install the curtain hardware on the door. To install the drapery panels, follow the directions on the hardware package. Drill the hole first, so you do not split the wood. Screw in the brackets for the top and bottom drapery rods. Hang the panel, sliding the rods into the brackets.

Above is an example of a lined curtain panel. To sew a lined version, all the steps would be the same as a single fabric panel (above), except instead of pressing in the side seams, you sew the two fabrics together on the two sides, with right sides together. After sewing the left and right sides, turn right sides of fabric out and press flat. The top and bottom raw edges remain open.

You are now ready to create your rod pockets. On both the top and bottom of your panel, turn raw edges over towards the back of the panel, first with one short fold into the center. Press. Then, fold one more time, this time a little longer fold that will form a pocket deep enough for your curtain rods to slide into. Press again. Stitch the top and bottom pockets. Press panels again and hang.

I hope you enjoy making this project. Please upload and share a picture of your finished curtain(s). I would love to see what you guys are making!

xo,
Cindy

For More Information

SHOP for info & resources to buy
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