Diy curtains: How to sew Café curtains


In this post I want to share with you how to sew Café curtains with cased (rod pocket) heading – the simple but beautiful window treatment that can be done in just half an hour.

For this tutorial I will be making a pair of Café curtains with 1” gathered heading.

Café curtains are a wonderful window treatment to try in your kitchen, bathroom, utility room or family room – they provide privacy with minimum loss of light, their informal look makes the room seem warm and inviting.

Rod pocket with heading which looks like a small ruffle at the top of the rod pocket is the best choice if sheer or lightweight fabric is to be used and is mainly for curtains that do not draw but remain permanently closed in the window.

For my project I am using semi-sheer pale yellow and white gingham cotton fabric.

How much fabric do I need for curtains

Before you start calculating fabric yardage for your Café curtains you need to determine the finished size of the curtain panel(s).

  • Measure the width of the installed rod, pole or curtain wire, multiply this by the fullness ratio of 2 – this will be the finished width. If you are planning to have a pair of curtains, divide the finished width by 2 to create two separate panels.

Example: The width of my rod is 40” / 102 cm. The finished width of my curtain will be 40” x 2 = 80” or 40” (80” : 2) if I want make a pair of curtains for that window.

  • Measure from the top of your rod to the required length (usually ½” (12 mm) up from the window sill) to arrive to the finished length of your curtain panel(s).

Cutting the fabric:

Now you need to determine the cut size of your curtain panel(s).

  • Cut length: To the desired finished length add twice the depth of the header, plus the rod pocket depth, plus ½” to be turned under, plus 4” for the bottom hem – this will be the cut length of the curtain panel(s).

To determine the rod pocket depth, measure around the widest part of the rod, add ½” ease to this measurement and divide by 2.


Example: The desired length is 34” plus 2”(two times the depth of header), plus 1 ¼”(rod pocket circumference is 2” plus ½” ease, divide by 2, equal to 1 ¼”), plus ½” (to be turned under), plus 4” (bottom hem), then the cut length of each of my panel will be 41 ¾”.

  • Cut width: to the desired finished width, add 4” for double fold hems on each side – this will be the cut width of your curtain panel(s).

Example: The desired width of my curtain panels is 40” each, then the cut size of the curtain panels will be 40” + 4” = 44” / 112 cm.

If the cut width of your curtain is less or equal to the width of your fabric, then you will need only 1 length of fabric. However, if the cut width of your curtain is greater than the width if your fabric, then you need to join the lengths of fabric to make that size.

To calculate the number of lengths of fabric needed, divide the cut width of your curtain panel by the width of the fabric to be used. Round up to next whole number.

Example: the cut width of a curtain panel is 64” and the fabric to be used for the curtain is 44” wide, then we need 2 lengths of fabric to make the curtain (64” : 44” = 1.5 lengths, rounds up to 2 lengths).

When working with a patterned fabric you need to take the pattern repeat into consideration by adding the pattern repeat to the cut length of the curtain panel. The pattern repeat is usually indicated on the selvage of the fabric or can be measured on the fabric.

After you have determined the cut length of your curtain panel(s) and number of lengths required, you can figure the amount of yardage needed to make the curtain(s).

Example: The cut length of curtain is 41 ¾”, pattern repeat is 10” and we need 2 lengths to make the curtain, then we need to have 103 ½”  (41 ¾” plus 10” = 51 ¾” x 2 lengths).

If you need to join pieces of fabric together, trim both fabric selvages to avoid puckering when stitching lengths together. Join the fabric lengths, matching any patterning needed, finish the seams, then cut the fabric to the required panel size from the joined fabric lengths.

How to sew Café curtains

At lower edge, press under 2” twice to form a double-fold hem. Stitch using straight or blind-stitch.


Press under 1” twice on sides. Stitch to make double-fold hems.


Press under ½” (1.2 cm) on upper edge. Then press under an amount equal to the rod pocket depth plus heading depth.

Example: the rod pocket depth is 1 ¼” and the heading depth is 1”, then we need to press under 2 ¼”.

Stitch close to the first fold. Stitch again 1” from the curtain edge .


Give the curtain final press and hang it up.

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