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How to make your own shower curtain

Add a new shower curtain to liven up bathroom decor. It's economical and easy!

Simple shower curtains are easy to make and can be very economical if you use bargain materials. You'll want to continue using the inner plastic liner, but you can change the look in your bathroom by adding an outer curtain made of cloth.

If you have an oversized shower that is considered "hotel" sized, then it will be even more difficult to purchase attractive shower curtains commercially. These are typically 74 inches high and the rod measures to a height of about 80 inches, depending on the placement of the shower head.

Even if your tub or shower unit is a standard size, you can change up the decor on occasion by making more than one curtain. Shop for material to match your favorite holidays or as a trendy touch for special occasions. If you look around at the discount stores, you may find the perfect material for one dollar a yard. That means you can make a custom shower curtain for about six dollars. (more below)


For the purpose of this article, we will make a shower curtain based on the standard 5-foot shower/tub combination. The final curtain size will be 72 inches wide and 72 inches long.

To add drama and length, you could stagger your inner and outer liners. Use a spring-loaded rod for the outer liner and place it to the outside and higher than the original rod. You'll need extra rings or hooks for the cloth curtain. Purchase the most inexpensive rings for the plastic liner and use decorative hooks for the custom curtain. You will adjust the length accordingly based on your own height measurements.

The material you choose can be any easy-care fabric. You want to be able to throw it in the washing machine and dryer. You will be placing a seam down the middle of the curtain, so be careful as to what type of pattern you choose and purchase extra material to compensate. Some patterns can be hard to match up when making a flat-felled seam in the middle. Subtle stripes do not require a perfect match.

In addition to the material, you will need a marking pencil, measuring tape, a yardstick, a half-yard of fabric liner, and matching thread. The fabric liner will add stability to the curtain's top hem.

You will make vertical buttonholes for ring placement.

The top seam will be 3 inches deep in its final form plus two foldovers: ½ inch for the first and 1 inch for the second.

The bottom hem should be 4 inches deep, plus two foldovers: 1 inch for the first and 2 inches for the second.

This will give you a combined unsewn length of 83 ½ inches.

Side seams should be one inch deep with an additional inch for turnover (that includes a one-quarter hemming along the fray and selvage sides).

The middle flat-fell seam will require an additional one inch for one panel and an additional 1 ¼ inch on the other panel.

Based on 60" wide material, you'll split the difference for the middle seam, allowing for 3 inches extra on one panel, and 3 ¼ inches on the other (2 inches on outside edge; 1 and 1 ¼ respectively for middle seam).

Based on the 72-inch curtain, you will calculate panel size:

Panel one: 40 inches (36 final size plus 2 inches outside edge and 2 inches middle seam)
Panel two: 40.25 inches (36 final size plus 2 inches outside edge and 2 ¼ inches for flat-felled middle seam)

Wash the material and iron. Measure the total length and trim off excess.

Once you have laid out the material and marked it, double check your measurements. If you have space, lay out the material on a solid floor surface.

Begin with the outer sides. Turn in ¼ inch and press with an iron. Sew.
Turn in at the ¾ inch mark, iron, and sew.
That will give you the final one-inch side hem.

Sew the middle seam next. If you are unfamiliar with flat-fell seams, you can find instructions here.

Cut your fabric liner to fit inside the top hem. It will be 71 inches long and 2 ½ inches wide. You will need to piece it to get the required length. Calculate an extra one-half inch per section depending on the yardage.

Next, sew your top hem. Fold over ½ inch and iron. Fold over an additional 1 inch, iron, and stitch. Now, fold the material over to reach the 3-inch final hem size, iron, and insert fabric liner. Press it against the top edge of the curtain and stitch the seam closed.

The bottom seam is last in case you have any length issues or choose to raise or lower the curtain rod.

Lay out your new curtain and place the plastic liner on top. Mark the locations for the shower rings with the top point of the buttonhole one inch from the top of the hemmed material. Make your buttonholes.

Repeat the process for the bottom hem, minus the fabric liner. Pin the final fold, but do not stitch. Hang the curtain and make sure the length is correct and even. If not, you can still make corrections at this stage.

Now you can sew the final hem and put up your new curtain.

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