Simple homemade curtains

The school holidays have come to an end and we have been organising all the back-to-school bits and bobs. William is off to trade school, Angus is off to high school and Henry goes into year 5. All of the boys are off to different campuses, and to be honest I am not entirely sure how we will juggle it yet. For now, we are crossing our fingers and hoping it's not total chaos. It's the first time Henry will be at a school without his big brothers, and I feel a little nervous for him. I don't know why, this is the kid who walked himself into kindy, insisting he didn't need any help from me. 

The last couple of weeks have flown by. I have been chipping away at decluttering and sorting out the boys' wardrobes, along with various other spaces. Living in a very small home as a family of six requires constant refinement. "Stuff" can quickly accumulate which makes functioning efficiently almost impossible and incredibly frustrating. 

When the afternoons are hot, I have been sewing, reading or writing. I whipped up these simple homemade curtains for Elsie's room and have also caught up on some much needed mending. These curtains cost me $21 to make and were a fun project. As you can see Elsie is very happy with them! 

Many years ago some ladies from church passed on a couple of bags of scrap fabrics, and they have been blessing me ever since. To make these I rummaged through my fabric stash and cut each square 10"x10".  I chose that size because I had some specific scraps I wanted to use and 10" was the best use of them. The rod is simply a pretty branch cut to size, you can't see it well in this photo, but it has a white/grey bark and looks a little like birch. It adds whimsy to the space and reminds me of books like Brambly Hedge. Given we live in a yurt in the bush, it feels apt. 

Patchwork curtains

It's my understanding that traditionally patchwork was done to make the most of scraps of fabric left over after making dresses, linens and other household items. It's only in more recent times that we buy new fabric and cut it up to do a patchwork project. Whilst I love all the pretty coordinating fabrics you can buy, there is something that resonates deep inside me when doing a task similar to what our great, great grandmothers would have done. Using scrap fabric that has been carefully stored away for years, left over from projects done by women I will never know. There is a piece of one of my grandmother's vintage pillowcases in there, as well as two squares from the little cloth bag Elsie's May Gibbs quilt came in. When we use what we have, thrift, or source second-hand items, our home ends up containing dozens of other people's stories. Things find a new life in our homes, and our family becomes a part of that.

Front of the curtains

  • Measure window. If your window is small like mine you might like to go floor length or keep them cropped. Either way, you might like to plan your curtains to sit 10-15cm above the window, with the tabs sitting above that. My curtains sit about 20cm below the bottom of the window. I added about 1/3 of the window on for the width. 
  • Cut squares to the desired size (I used 10" x10")Layout and arrange until you are happy with the placement of pieces. I find it helpful to take a photo at this point in case I get interrupted and my rows get jumbled
  • Pin each row carefully
  • Straight stitch each row together with a 1cm seam allowance
  • Pin rows together, line up your seams and sew. Iron. Now you will have the front. 


My tabs are rectangles cut about 15cm wide and 20cm long and I cut ten of them. 
  • Fold tabs right side together, sew long edge with 1cm seam allowance
  • Turn right way out, iron ensuring the seam is in the middle on one side. Once attached this will ensure the seam is hidden inside the tab.

Back of the curtains

You can use anything for the backing you like. An old sheet, thick cotton drill, calico. The thicker your fabric the more light blockage you will have. However, I chose calico as it is cheap and gives a nice hang to the curtain. I figured if I wanted better light blockage I could always pop a basic roller blind behind them.  

  • Lay out backing fabric on a large flat surface, wrong side up
  • Lay patchwork curtain top over it, wrong side down
  • Working from the middle, smooth and occasionally pin fabric ensuring the same tension is on the top and bottom. 
  • Cut backing
  • Place ironed tabs between both pieces of fabric at the top and carefully pin. Now you want to pin the outer tabs 1cm in from the edge so that when you sew the curtains together they are free and will line up nicely when hung.  
  • Pin three sides, leaving the bottom open as you will need to turn it out. 
  • Sew, taking extra care to secure the tabs at the top. If your curtains are heavier, you might like to stitch the top twice to reinforce it. 
  • Turn the fabric out, fold the bottom hem in with a 1cm allowance and pin. Press carefully. 
  • Now you just need to topstitch around the whole lot, which will ensure it sits well and they are ready to hang! 
I hope those instructions make sense, I forgot to take photos of each step along the way! 

Much love


  1. Love the curtains. I can imagine lying there daydreaming and enjoying the prettiness. Great instructions too thanks. We have a small window up high above our bed. It has white blinds but I wanted something softer as well so I filed a small vintage white tablecloth over curtain wire. It has white embroidery on it with pulled thread work and I love it.

  2. I can't edit the above comment but the typo is folded. NZ Ingrid

  3. That's a good idea for a little window for above your bed, I love vintage embroidery and your curtain sounds so pretty. Thanks Ingrid! xx


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