Friday, 23 November 2012

Making Eyelet Curtains

Hi everyone,
I've been at it again, sewing curtains out of necessity.

This is the first time I've made eyelet curtains. I already had the side curtains for my living area in a heavy embossed creamy white - bought at a Spotlight sale. I could not find ready made semi sheer curtains to go with them in the color I wanted but I found the perfect material on the bargain table! hehe. Adventures in sewing followed.
Eyelet curtains are the ones with the big rings at the top.
A google and Pattern Review search followed but I could not find information by an ordinary sewist on how to do this type of curtain. Then I found this website  which gave me the basic idea. The rest was trial and error. Here is what I learnt.

Before Making
Take accurate measurements of your window to be covered. An expanding metal ruler is handy for this. Double check them and write them down and take the information with you when buying the fittings and materials.

Spotlight had a extensive range of everything you need for do it yourself window projects. Lincraft has a smaller range.  Bunnings also has curtain rods and fittings.

When buying material buy the length you need plus a generous allowance for the top hem, the bottom hem, shrinkage if prewashing plus half a metre for variations in grain and/or pattern repeats. Nothing is worse than ending up with curtains that are just that little bit too short.

Consider the width of your material. You need twice the width of the area/s to be covered or the curtains will look skimpy.

Thread. Use good quality thread. It will be exposed to sunlight and variations in temperature.

I used a medium  sized Universal needle 90/14, which I needed to discard it after the project. The eyelet tape is very hard on needles and pins. I used the same pins over and over on each seam and also discarded  them after the project.

The eyelet tape. You will need tape according to the width and number of curtains. Be sure you calculate for an even number of rings for each, they are designed to go in pairs and clip together if you like the pinch pleat look.

Separate eyelet rings. They come with the tape but if you want a different color you can buy them separately.

Handling amounts of material this large means they will get dragged on the floor or slide off the table at some point. Do a thorough vacuum, dust and wipe of all work surfaces.

I had ten metres of material which I cut into two lengths for better ease of handling. I serged the edges to prevent fraying, washed and dried them on cool cycle. I was working with a mystery polyester that frayed and shifted easily.

I found the crosswise grain of my material by pulling a thread before cutting. I did this at each edge.

To make the Eyelet Curtains
Get the top of your curtain material and lay it wrong side up.
Turn the side edges in once 5/8". Press. Stitch if you have a material that will not hold a crease. (They will be folded over again and stitched later.)
Press the top edge down 5/8" then over again 1/14 inch. I did this so that the top of my curtains would look similar to the top of my side curtains. If you want your tape right at the top do it like shown in the website linked earlier in this post.
Place your eyelet tape with the plastic tabs, that is the Wrong side Up. Snuggle it into the corner and just under to top fold. Stitch along the fold that is just over the top of the eyelet tape, using a zipper foot so as to get a smooth line when going past the rings.

Stitch along the bottom edge of the eyelet tape, being careful not t shift the material off grain. Fold the side seams over to cover the side edges and stitch.

Turn your curtain over, right side up. Take one of your separate eyelet rings and trace the inner circle with a pencil.

I was worried about fraying so I went around the circle lightly with a glue stick.

Cut just inside the circle.

Press the ring until it snaps in. This isn't hard. I did it with my hands. Repeat all the way along. Do not worry if your material is a little bit taught - it makes the rings go in easier. Trim off any material fibres on the inside, if necessary.

Hem your curtains, hang them up and admire!
Happy Sewing.

P.S. I've run out of picasa! I thought that when this happened I could just upload photos one by one from flikr, but it won't let me do that.
If I had known when I started I would have had one picture per post and then a link to an album or slide show like some other bloggers do. Ah hindsight! Soon though, I will have to  pay both picasa and flikr if I want to produce a trouble free easy to read blog.
Paying means two more corporations that have access to my bank details and two more expenses to keep track of. It's a hassle.
I love sharing photos and don't want a photo stingy blog. While I ponder what to do I'd really like any feedback anyone can give me on this matter.

Edited to add:  I did it!!!!! I resized a photo, saved as a document, then uploaded to here.  While I was researching this I found that photos of 800px by 800px do not count toward the google limit! Yay!

So thank you to Rune and Mary Nana, I've figured out my own way to have photos galore.

Further Edit, Jan 2016:  Photo resizing can be done in many application but the easiest is in Preview if you have a mac. Put your photo on desktop, open it with Preview, click on the little icon that looks like a suitcase then click on the icon that looks like a little square with two arrows. Type in 800 for either the height or the width, whatever is largest on your photo and 'ok'. When you close the photo it will automatically be saved at the new size. Easy!

Thanks, Val.


  1. Wow, I have No Idea these curtains could be made by the home sewist Valerie. Brilliant job, and they look lovely.

    1. Thanks Patricia, I didn't know either until I saw eyelet tape for sale while looking for curtain rods in Spotlight. They have stuff for all sorts of curtain styles.

  2. Very clever to go over the circle with a glue stick! They look great.

  3. I admire your patience because making curtains is like making cushions - lots of fabric that has to be very accurately cut and sewn and something useful at the end of it, but it doesn't have the fun of 'glamour' sewing!

    I used to upload my photos for my blog onto my desktop, then import them into my blog from my desktop. After that I just deleted them. That way I can have as many photos as I like on my blog, and don't need to have a host.

    1. Mary Nanna thanks I'll have to try that. I am a techno doofus and would not have thought of that in a million years. BTW Please do a post even if you aren't sewing. Your fans miss you.

  4. About the Picasa problem: I'm afraid you will have to start a new account (or pay ...). However, I used to be able to store photos on an external server and only upload the internet address from that one. You will then not use any space on Picasa. If you choose to continue with Picasa, reduce the size of the photos to what is actually used. For instance, I see that that of the photos is 1600 px × 1067 px. I use a maximum of 800px and save quite a lot of space. The amount of compression used in making jpg-files is also important. Highest quality is not necessary for the net.

    1. Thanks Rune. I was wondering how photo bloggers managed. I had been uploading higher resolution photos ever since I actually learnt to take time to compose and focus! I know you can resize by cropping. Is there another way as well?

    2. Nevermind Rune.. I just found out I won an application that can do it. Duh!

    3. I meant 'own'. My fingers type in the wrong order sometimes..

    4. You are not alone there :-) Glad to have been of help.
      Thank you for the nice comment!

  5. Wow! These are lovely- I am printing this out to keep for future home beautifications!

    1. Thank you. I knew it would be of use somehow somewhere in blog land.

  6. They look great- very professional. Excellent tips too. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Don. Somehow I never pictured you making drapes..

  7. I too had no idea one could put the eyelets in at home: my neighbour had to send hers away to be done professionally
    :-( and payed per eyelet...

    Well done, one more step towards settling in.

  8. Bowl me over! I'm in love with your curtains. Your window looks so airy and inviting.

    1. Which is exactly the effect I wanted. It's when being able to sew comes in handy.

  9. These look so "professional" - note that I do not say "shop bought", which sounds somewhat derogatory. Next time you are over, you might consider it a kindness to dress my still naked living room windows, no???
    BTW how do you add the links to sewing blogs to the right of your blog??
    BTW2 - I've just found out that Spotlight is in Auckland too! Guess where I'll be spending a lot of time in March when I should be visiting my niece?!!

    1. Hi Sheila! I know what you meant & thanks but the next time I'm over I'll talk you through making your own curtains. hehe.
      I hope Auckland has a well organized Spotlight - they vary widely from shop to shop. The range of materials can vary too but it's always a treasure hunt.

      To add sewing blogs: go to Design, then Layout, then Add a Gadget. It will bring you to a menu of thins you can do to customize your blog. Click on the + to the right of 'Blog List' and personalize it by add your own title etc. Then you can start adding your links (I'm assuming you've already highlighted and copied a favourite sewing blog URL) to add a link. click "Add to List' Paste the URL in the box that appears. Click 'ADD' and the link will appear highlighted. click "SAVE" then you can view your blog and see the beginnings of your very own blogroll.
      I hope this helps but if anything is unclear, google Blogger Help to go to their website which has a lot of blog related advice.

  10. nice and trendy curtains. Thanks for sharing the making process here.

  11. Hi,

    These are fantastic curtains, and has certainly inspired me to make my own.

    I am struggling to source the eyelet tape and rings. The only places I can find are in the US and UK. Would you be able to recommend anywhere that I might be able to buy them in store here please?

    Many thanks, Alex.

  12. I went to lincraft to buy the eyelet tape but they don't stock the cover rings! silly really. where did you purchase your tape and rings from please?

  13. Really awesome.. It seems easy to build those curtains..Just love the post.
    curtain cleaners