Learn How to Make Blackout Curtains the Right Way

How to Make Blackout Curtains

Adding blackout curtains to a room is a great way to block out light and help block noise and trap heat or cool air inside of a room. In addition, this process can help you save money on your energy bills.

Thanks to the total darkness they provide, they make a great addition to a nursery or bedroom and improve your sleep quality. Of course, you can purchase blackout curtains ready-made. But if you enjoy DIY sewing projects and you want to make blackout curtains, then you have come to the right place.

This article will show you how to make blackout curtains with an easy step-by-step sewing tutorial. This post also has some pro tips and a couple of alternatives to sewing blackout curtains so you can decide which method suits you best.

Getting Started

Before you can start making your blackout curtains, there are several things you need to consider.

Measure Your Curtain Window Space

The purpose of blackout curtains is to block out as much light as possible. To do this, you will need first to measure your windows and the surrounding window space to determine how much fabric you need. In this way, you will know what size the curtain panels need to be.

For the length, use a measuring tape to measure a straight line from the curtain rod down to the floor and add about 40 to 50 cm for the two hems. We like our blackout curtains to go all the way down to the floor to help make a room as dark as possible.

For the width, measure from one side of the window frame to the other and multiply the measurement by 1.5 or 2 to calculate the appropriate size for your curtains. The width should be based on your preference, but we like our curtains to be twice as wide as the actual window.

Gather Your Supplies

Before you can start making your blackout curtains, there are several things you need to consider.

Supplies you will need:

  • Fabric (approx. 6 yards)
  • Blackout lining (approx. 6 yards)
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Fabric chalk, pencil, or marker
  • Thread (match colour to fabric)
  • Wide reinforced ribbon (grosgrain ribbon works well)
  • Metre stick (or measuring tape)

DIY Blackout Curtains: Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow the step-by-step guide below on how to make blackout curtains to ensure you are doing everything correctly.

Step 1: Measure and Cut the Curtain Panel Fabric

Start by measuring and cutting the blackout curtain panels according to your window and room measurements. Then, add about 40 or 50 cm in height to allow for the hem on the top and bottom.

Next, use a yardstick to make straight lines on the fabric and mark them with chalk or a pencil as a guide. To help manage a large amount of fabric you are working with, we recommend folding the fabric in half so you can cut twice as much at one time.

Step 2: Measure and Cut the Blackout Lining Fabric

Measure and cut the blackout lining. The lining should be the same width as the curtain panel fabric and should follow your measurements for the room and space. However, you do not need to add extra material for the bottom and top hem.

Step 3: Layer the Fabric Panels

Now, it is time to align the curtain fabric with the blackout lining fabric. Place the right sides, or the sides you want to be exposed, facing each other so that when you turn them inside out, the correct side will be showing. This means the side with the colour or pattern on the blackout curtain fabric will face the liner’s soft side. Pin it in place to help keep the fabric aligned for sewing.

Step 4: Sew the Long Edges

Once the fabric is properly aligned, use your sewing machine to sew the entire length of your black out curtains on both of the long edges. Take your time so you can sew a straight edge and remove the pins as you go.

Step 5: Turn the Panel the Right Side Out

After sewing the length on your curtains, turn them inside out so that the fabric you want to see when you hang them is now exposed. The edges may not lie completely flat and may bubble since we flipped the hem inside out, but don’t worry about that for now.

Step 6: Fold and Pin the Top Edge

Next, fold and pin the top edge of your panel over the liner. When you fold the fabric over, tuck an additional two to four cm under to create a finished edge.

Step 7: Iron the Panel Edges

Iron all of the way around your blackout curtains to help smooth out any creases and help the hemmed or soon-to-be hemmed edges lie flat. This creates a more finished final appearance. Use the appropriate heat setting for the fabric you chose. If you are using a liner with a foam backing, you may want to skip this step as it can be fragile and melt very easily.

Step 8: Measure and Sew Top Edge of Ribbon Tabs

After you are done ironing, it’s time to add the ribbon and hem along the top edge. Next, cut enough ribbon tabs so that you can space each tab about 13 cm apart along the top edge. The tabs should be 10 cm long.

Place and pin the bottom edge of each ribbon tab about 3 cm from the top, allowing a fair amount of the tab to hang over the top edge of the fabric. Once the ribbon tabs are placed, sew the entire length of the top edge, making sure to sew over the ribbon while you sew.

You may choose to skip the ribbon and sew a wide hem creating a pocket for the curtain rod to stick through. However, we find that adding ribbon loops will create a better, more professional-looking pinch pleat.

Step 9: Fold and Sew the Bottom Edge of the Ribbon Tabs

Next, fold over the top of each ribbon tab to create a loop—tuck about 2 cm under to create a finished edge and pin each tab in place. Then, sew a second long hem across the entire panel top, making sure to go over the bottom pinned edge of the tabs.

Step 10: Hem the Bottom Edge of the Panel

The final step is to hem the bottom edge. Fold over the fabric and tuck under about 2 cm to create a finished, straight bottom line. Once pinned in place, sew the width of the curtain to finish the bottom hem. Now, all that is left is to hang your new blackout curtains in your window and enjoy.

Once you start using your blackout curtains, make sure you know how to wash them properly. This ensures that you remove any build-up of dirt, dust, and other contaminants that may harm your health.

Of course, after washing them, remember to iron them properly, so your curtains stay sleek and attractive once you hang them.

Pro tipTo ensure your new blackout curtains are the perfect length for your room and window, you can hang them on their intended rod and measure the precise length needed for the bottom hem before pinning the fabric.

Other Considerations

Here are other factors that you may want to look into when making blackout curtains.

What Fabric Is Used for Blackout Curtains?

When it comes to fabric, you have quite a few options for blackout curtains. First, specially made blackout fabric makes a great choice for the liner. Blackout fabric liner has a multi-layer design and comes with either a 2-pass or 3-pass label, which alerts you to its overall density and how well it blocks light.

A 2-pass fabric will work well for most blackout curtains. However, a 3-pass fabric is often better if you want to block noise or trap heat because it has a thin layer of foam or rubber backing. The liner is more important than the decorative fabric used on the front of the curtains when it comes down to it, so choose wisely.

Aside from a blackout liner, we recommend using a dense weave fabric, like microfiber or thick polyester to create the front of the curtain panel. However, if you have a 3-pass liner, you can probably pick any fabric you like to get the job done.

Is There a No-Sew Way to Make Curtains?

If you do not have a sewing machine, you can also make curtains without sewing. Hemming tape is heat-activated and will bond the fabric and lining together without needing to sew it. Instead of sewing the edges, substitute hemming tape along the seams and iron them together.

What Can I Use Instead of Blackout Curtains?

If you want to mimic the effect of blackout curtains without having to use curtain rods, you have a few inexpensive and easy options. You can cut out large pieces of dense paper, aluminium foil, or felt and stick them directly on your window panes. Of course, your measurements will have to be exact if you want to block all light from entering, and this method doesn’t allow you to open the curtains and let light in when you choose.

Can I Add a Lining Fabric to Existing Curtains?

You can also convert your existing curtains into blackout curtains if you add blackout lining. Adding a lining to existing curtains is a great way to save yourself some prep time and a great way to save money on fabric. For the most part, you should be able to alter the above instructions to fit this process.

Curtains Made Easy

Blackout curtains are a great way to make an extra room dark for sleep, to block out noise from a busy street, or better insulate the windows in your home. Now that you know how to make blackout curtains, will you be adding them to your home decor? If you decide to make a set, will you be sewing them, or would you prefer to use hemming tape? Either way, you should be all set on instructions. Now all you have to do is measure your windows, buy fabric and get your project started.

Thank you so much for reading our tutorial. Let us know how it goes and what you think in the comments below.

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