When Making Curtains Do You Double the Width of the Window?


Handmade curtains are a simple and beautiful way to inject personality into your room. While doubling the width of your window to find the width of your curtains is a good rule of thumb, the type of heading on your curtains as well as the way you hang them also influences how wide your curtain should be.

Measure Your Curtain Rod

  • Hanging curtains higher and wider than a window creates the illusion that your window is larger than it is. If you plan to do this in your home, measure the length of your curtain rod (not including decorative finials) rather than just the width of your window. This will allow the curtains to meet in the middle and reach the ends of the rod without looking too narrow or insubstantial.

At Least Double the Width

  • For a basic, un-pleated curtain (for example, a rod pocket, tab-top or flat heading), the combined width of the curtains should be 2 to 2 1/2 times the length of the curtain rod. The exact width you select can be based on the width of your fabric. For example, if the fabric is exactly the same width as the curtain rod, simply make both curtains as wide as the fabric. On the other hand, if the fabric is three-quarters the width of the rod, make the curtains 2 1/4 times the width of the rod, so you can use exactly three widths of fabric, and so on.

Exception: Non-Closing Curtains

  • If the curtains are merely decorative and you don't need to close them over the window, they only need to be approximately 1 1/2 times the width of the rod. It's usually safe to round down to the nearest width of fabric, but if your rod is hung much wider than your window, more fabric disguises your smaller window.

Exception: Sewing Pleated Curtains

  • Pleated curtains are another exception to the "multiply by 2" rule. Because you want the completed curtains to be the exact width of your window, use the following guideline to find the width of fabric to use before pleating: For a goblet pleat or pinch (French) pleat, multiply the width by 2 1/4; for a pencil pleat multiply by 2 1/2; and for a smocked heading, multiply by 1 1/2.

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