How to Make Prairie Curtains

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The style of prairie curtains is not often seen in stores, and if you're looking to dress your home with a primitive feel, this could be a roadblock in your decorating. Luckily, you can make prairie curtains from a few basic supplies using homespun and muslin fabrics, both of which have identical front and back sides for more simplified sewing. While prairie curtains are a little more complex in construction than standard curtains, you should be able to make a pair for your windows in less than a day.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Homespun fabric
  • Muslin
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Cotton cording
  • Measure the length of the window. Add 5 inches to the length to find how long your fabric should be. Measure the width of the window to find how wide your fabric should be. Cut out one piece of homespun fabric and one piece of muslin fabric to this size.

  • Lay your fabric on a flat surface with the homespun spread over the muslin and the edges aligned. Orient the fabric so the width of the fabric is running horizontally. Draw a diagonal line across the fabric from the top right corner to the bottom left corner. Cut along the line to form two identical triangles of each fabric.

  • Lift away the homespun fabric from the triangle on the right. Leave the triangle on the left alone. Flip the muslin of the right triangle over so the side that was facing up is now facing down. Rotate the muslin around so the width of the fabric runs along the top of the triangle horizontally, like a mirror image of the left triangle. Replace the lifted homespun fabric so it is resting on top of and aligned to the muslin on the right.

  • Look over the two mirror-image triangles and note that the right angles are set along the outside edge of the curtain and the shorter points are set along the inside edge. Measure 7 inches in from the inside edge of each curtain and draw a vertical line down the length of the fabrics. Cut along the vertical line.

  • Pin the homespun layers to their respective muslin layers and sew down all the sides except the width of the fabric. Turn each curtain right side out through the opening along the width. Press the fabric along the edges.

  • Fold down the raw top edge of the width by an inch on each curtain. Fold it down again by 3 inches. Pin the fold and sew in place to form a rod pocket. Spread out each curtain, muslin side up, like mirror images with the width running across the top.

  • Measure down vertically from the top of the outside edge of the fabric, and mark the edge at 10 and 11 inches down. Measure along the diagonal of the inside edge of the curtains starting at the bottom of the rod pocket hem, and mark the diagonal edge at 10 and 11 inches. Draw straight lines across the fabric to connect the two 10-inch points and the two 11-inch points. Sew along the marked lines to form a channel.

  • Spread out the curtains once more and measure the length of the channel. Cut two pieces of cording to this length plus 4 inches. Cut a small slit an inch in from the outside edge of the channel only into the muslin layer. Snake one piece of cording through each curtain until it reaches the inside edge of the channel. Stitch over the cording an inch in from the inside edge to lock the cording in place.

  • Hang your curtains with the homespun fabric facing into the room. Pull the cording where it hangs out of the channel along the outside edge to draw up the curtain. When the curtains are pulled to where you like them, tie a knot in the cording large enough so that it can't fit through the cut opening.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hand stitch a slight hem along the edges of the cord openings to give it a cleaner look.

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References

  • "Simply Window Treatments"; Linda J. Selden; 1998
  • "Windows With Ease"; Allison Brown Cerier; 2003
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