How to Calculate Curtain Measurements

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Whether you are ordering custom curtains from a designer or purchasing fabric to make your own, the project will stand or fall depending on the precision of your measurements. Glancing at a window, you may feel confused about where to begin measuring and which of the many pieces to include in your measurements, and you may be struggling to recall all of your high school math. In truth, taking these measurements is quite simple once you know where to start and where to stop.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Decide what type of curtains you will hang. Traditional panel curtains or drapes require measurements based on the window exterior. You need to measure the interior of the window for Roman blinds and café curtains.

  • Stretch a measuring tape from the far outside edge of the right window frame or molding to the far outside edge of the left window frame or molding. Add 1 inch to this measurement for a ½-inch seam allowance or 2 inches for a 1-inch seam allowance. This is the width measurement for curtains that hang over the window.

  • Measure from the curtain rod hooks to the area on the wall where the curtains should end. Add the seam allowance and an additional 2 inches for pocket or tab curtains. This is the length measurement for curtains that hang over the window.

  • Place the end of the measuring tape so that it is butted against the left interior of the window frame. Stretch it straight across until you can pinch it against the right side of the interior and add the seam allowance to this number. This is the width measurement for dressings that hang within the window opening.

  • Measure the distance between the point where you want your dressing to begin inside the window frame and where you want it to end. Add the standard 1- or 2-inch seam allowance plus an additional inch for rod pocket designs such as café curtains. This is the length measurement for dressings that hang within the window.

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
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