How to sew tie-top curtains

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  • Country Homes & Interiors shows you how to measure and make your own simple curtains. There's no need to fit heading tape or linings – just follow these easy step-by-step instructions

    These easy-to-make curtains are designed with tie tops for easy fitting to a curtain pole – simply tie in place.

    You will need

    • Main fabric (we used Urban, ref L8857-03, col Amethyst, £55 a metre, Larsen at Colefax and Fowler)
    • Contrast fabric for ties
    • Tacking thread
    • Matching thread

    1) For the length of your curtains,
    measure from your curtain pole down to the point at which you want the
    bottom of your curtains to hang and make a note of the measurement. For
    the width of each curtain, decide how full you want the curtain to be:
    usually around one to one-and-a-half times the length of the curtain
    pole. Again, make a note of the measurement.

    2) For each
    curtain, add 10cm to the width measurement for hems; and 17cm to the
    length for hems and seams. Cut out your two curtains to these
    measurements, joining pieces and pattern matching if necessary.

    Cut a 15cm facing in main fabric to fit the width of each cut curtain.
    For the ties, cut 30cm by 7cm strips in contrast fabric. The ties will
    be 2cm wide when finished and you will need to cut enough to fit across
    the top of each curtain when spaced around 10cm apart.

    Right sides facing and matching raw edges, fold the ties in half
    lengthways. Stitch along one short end and along the long edge taking a
    1.5cm seam, leaving the remaining short end open. Trim seam allowance,
    clip corners and turn through. Press the tie, also pressing under the
    raw edges. Slip stitch the opening closed and press. Fold each tie in
    half, this time across the width, and press again (see illustration).

    Illustration Michael A Hill

    5) Turn under 2cm then 3cm along each side edge each curtain. Pin and press. Slip stitch or top stitch the hems in place. Remove pins. Repeat to hem the side edges of the facing strips.

    Turn the top raw edge of the curtain under by 2cm and press. Lay the
    curtain out, wrong side up. Place a folded tie flush with each side edge
    of the curtain so that the folds of the ties lie 1cm below the top
    folded edge and the ends of the ties hang free above the curtain. Place
    the remaining ties, equally spaced between the two end ties (see
    illustration). Pin then tack in place. Remove all pins.

    On the facings turn under the top and bottom raw edges by 2cm and press.
    Wrong sides facing and matching the folded top and hemmed side edges,
    pin the facing in place on the back of the curtain. Tack all round,
    working through the ties as you stitch. Remove pins.

    8) Top
    stitch the facing 5mm from the edges all round, tucking in any
    protruding raw edges and securing the ties in place as you go. Remove
    tacking and press.

    9) Turn under 5cm then 10cm along the
    bottom edges of the curtains and pin in place. Using the ties, hang the
    curtains in place at your window. Check the hems and adjust if
    necessary. Remove from window and slip stitch the hems and side edges of
    the hems in place. Press and hang your curtains.

    Illustration Michael A Hill

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