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How to make a panel curtain for French doors

Make a pretty pair of French door curtains with bargain material and a few straight-line seams

If you are having trouble finding the right window treatment for your French doors, the answer is a simplified version of the hourglass panel curtain. You can make the panels yourself and if you shop the discount material shelves, you will spend only a few dollars.

French doors can be a challenge, but if you decide to use material, they look best covered in a sheer or lightweight material. Depending on the length, you can purchase sheets or rectangular tablecloths. For the best price, though, look through the bargain shelves. You will need a lighter weight material so the tops and bottoms will gather tightly.

Use the rod pocket design for your panels. This will give you a small "ruffle" on both ends. If you choose to leave off the ruffle, adjust your measurements accordingly.

Hourglass curtains are great, but work best if you trim out a long curve on each side of the panel. With this modified method, you will sew two panels per door. Then you can sew straight hems and still create an hourglass effect with each panel.

Purchase French door rods or panel rods at your local home improvement center. They are very inexpensive and are expandable. They are designed to keep the material taut from top to bottom. Position each rod at least 2 inches above and 2 inches below the glass panes and at least 2 inches on each side. This will give you more privacy when they are closed.

To determine final sewn pocket size, measure from the top side of the top rod to the underside of the bottom rod. For ruffles, add at least 4 inches of material to each end. Leave extra material until you have finished your top seam, which will include the ruffle.

Panel width should be equal to twice the size of a finished panel. In other words, if your French door glass, including trim, is 22 inches wide, then each panel would be 22 inches in final sewn size, plus 1 1/2 inches for each side seam. Remember, you are setting up 2 panels for the 22 inches.

Wash and dry the material first, then iron. Lightweight material tends to fray easily, so you will want to double stitch the side seams and add 1/2-inch hemming ribbon to the tops and bottoms. You will also need matching thread and extra wide hemming ribbon to make the tie-backs - enough to make four ties for each door.

Sew the side seams first. Mark at ½ and ½ and ½. Turn under at the first ½ and press. Then turn under at the second ½-mark and iron. Sew the seam closed.

You want to sew your top seam first. Then, you will mark your bottom seams and test for accuracy.

Sew the ½-inch hem tape to the top edge, fold over and press with an iron. Fold again for a 1-inch width, iron, pin, and sew closed.

Now you will create the casing by turning the material in at 2 ¼ inches. Iron, pin it, and sew, leaving a ¼-inch edge. You will now make one more mark - 1 inch from the top - all the way across the material. Stitch this down. You have now created your pole pocket; the ruffle will form when you position the panel on the rod.

Hang the curtain to make your bottom measurement, making your calculations based on pulling the panel taut and adjusting accordingly from the underside of the bottom rod.

For the tie-backs, sew the extra wide hemming tape closed, reverse it, and press down. Turn the ends inward and hand-stitch closed. Fold them in half and attach them with a light stitch on one side of each panel at the midway point.

You can now tie back the panels to let in light and to create the double hourglass effect. The tie-backs are unobtrusive. Replace them for special occasions with larger colored ribbons to fit in with the season for an instant decorative accent.


Click here for Easy to Make Tab Top Drapes

Click here to make a Custom Shower Curtain


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