Finding just the right curtains can be a real pain. And even if you do find the perfect pattern and weight, they have to be the right length and top. But never fear! You can easily change the style to suit you needs or even make your own curtains in an afternoon. When we were making over the dining room, I happened upon these blackout curtains on sale for $14 each. Even with the grommets purchase and thread, I kept 8 curtain panels under $180!Today I am sharing with you how to add grommets to curtain panels because it’s a pretty simple project.
If you get pre-purchased curtains, make sure to get a length longer than you need, since adding grommets will make your curtains sit on the rail higher than before. Common lengths for standard curtain or drapery panels are 63 inches, 84 inches, 95 inches, 108 inches and 120 inches.
But what if you are starting from scratch? Well, you will need some fabric measurements and these are the ones I used. The good news is especially with grommeted curtains, it is very forgiving if you measure too wide. My pre-purchased curtains were 54″ wide and one panel can cover my 34″ wide window but I like the extra bunching with more grommets so I have a panel on each side.
To measure curtains:
- Determine the width of the area you’ll want the curtain(s) to cover.
- Multiply that number by 1.5
- If you have a very wide window and curtains on either side and want them to meet in the middle, divide that number by 2. I wouldn’t do this with a standard window size because you want more folds/grommets to look right.
Now that you have the width of your fabric, let’s determine the length.
- I like to hang the curtain rod first where I want it. It makes measuring easier and I won’t forget. This also helps check the hems on the bottom.
- Determine the height you’ll want the curtains to cover -this will be about 1 inch above the curtain rod down to the floor.
- Add 10 inches, to account for the hems in the bottom and top.
If you are making curtains from fabric, I won’t go into sewing them today, but there are a few excellent tutorials here:
Quick tip: I recommend not hemming the bottom of the curtain panel until after doing the grommets.
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For adding grommets, you will need:
Grommets (they come in several colors and have an easy template!
Fabric marker or sharpie
Sharp Scissors (These scissors are my favorites by far)
A tape measure and a ruler
A basic sewing machine
Measuring and How to Space the Grommets
- Measure the width of your pre-purchased or already sewn curtain panel.
- Divide that number by the number of grommets you plan to add. This is the distance between the center of each grommet.
- Divide that number by 2. That is the distance from each side edge that the first grommet (center) will go.
- Use a grommet template and a grommet to determine how far from the top of the curtain panel that the center of the grommet should be.
6. Mark a dot at each interval in steps 2 and 3. This dot should line up with the center cross in the template pictured above.
7. Using the fabric marker or sharpie on the backside of the curtain, draw a circle using the template.
8. Cut the circle out with scissors.
9. Fit the grommet inside the circle. I found it easier to use the side with the ridge rather than the spikes. Tuck in or trim any loose fibers.
10. Press the spiked grommet into the second grommet.
Quick tip: This does take quite a bit of pressure. I found it easiest to place the grommet/curtain on a soft floor like a carpet or area rug and push the two sides together by kneeling and then leaning over top of it with my weight on my hands. You could use a towel but I wouldn’t recommend doing this on hardwood floors or a coffee table.
Most likely, you would still have to hem the bottom or trim it. This is where pre-hanging the curtain rod comes in handy in case any of the measurements changed. I hung and marked where I wanted my curtains to fall on the floor line. Then it was a simple straight hem across the bottom. Now hang and enjoy your new curtains that are exactly the ones you wanted!
Now I will be honest that these curtains took me a few days to do fully. However, I did 8 panels and the hemming was by far the longest part (I checked and rechecked a lot on the curtain rods). I also ironed them to get the waves I wanted in the grommet areas. Considering the money you can save by making your own curtains or DIYing those bargains you found, this deserves a pat on the back!
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