How to Make Cafe Curtains
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Last updated: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 | 19789 Views

First used in cafes across Europe, cafe curtains offer a good balance between draperies that may look to formal and make a room seem too dark and curtains, which oftentimes don’t provide enough privacy.

Hung from the center of a window, cafe curtains cover only the lower half of the window, which means they still let a lot of light into your room.

In terms of hardware, the most convenient way to hang a cafe curtain is to use a spring-loaded curtain rod that fits inside the window frame and is hardly visible, since it runs through a pocket sewn into the curtain.

Whether you want to dress up your kitchen or eating nook window or you need a bit of privacy in a sitting room or enclosed porch like this one, cafe curtains make an affordable window covering you can make yourself!

Alternatively, you can also use a rod attached by small brackets on either side of the window frame, although in this case the brackets and rod will be somewhat more visible, so you’ll want to pick something decorative. You can also make your cafe curtains with tab tops and scallops with fringe or lace at the bottom to give them a more decorative look.

While traditional cafe curtains are simply panels of fabric covering the lower portion of a window, you can create a more modern look and enhanced privacy by hanging the rod at the top of the window.

For added privacy, you can also hang full length curtain panels over the traditional half-length cafe curtains, which can be closed or left open as required. If desired, you can also complete your window treatment with a matching valance, cornice or topper at the top of your window opening, leaving just enough room to peak out the window.

As an alternative to sewing a pocket to run the rod through your cafe curtain, you can instead insert grommets along the top and use a long metal bead chain to attach it to the rod or use S-hooks. Or, you can sew fabric loops to hang your curtain by as described in our directions below.

While you can purchase cafe curtains from your local retailer or online window fashion dealer, if you are handy with a sewing machine it’s more fun to make your own with our simple instructions below.

So called for their original use in European cafes, cafe curtains are easy to make yourself with the fabric color and design of your choosing.Making Your Own Cafe Curtains

What you will need:

  • Curtain rod
  • Curtain fabric and matching thread
  • Ironing board and iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Measuring tape and scissors

Cafe curtain instructions:

  1. Height – Measure the height of your window opening from the bottom casing to the point you want your Cafe curtain to reach; typically this would be anywhere from one third to one half of the window height, but optionally you could even cover the entire opening for a contemporary look. Include the height of your window casing if you want to cover that as well. Also add six inches for the bottom hem and another four inches for the heading. Now you have the height measurement for your curtain panel.
  2. Width – Measure the width of your window opening. The fullness should be between two and three times the width of the window, depending on the weight of your fabric; for something sheer and lightweight, you want to make them fuller, whereas for heavier you would want them to have less fullness. Also add four inches for the side hems. Now you have the width measurement for your curtain panel.
  3. Cutting – Once you have selected your fabric and have enough to fit the measurements as described in steps one and two, you are ready to cut your curtain panel. You will also need to allow for two additional strips of fabric to make the heading and loops to hang your Cafe curtain. Cut the strip for your heading to be four inches high and the same width as your curtain panel. Cut the strip for your loops to be three inches high and the same width as your curtain panel.
  4. Loops – To make the loops, use the three inch strip you have cut and press one long edge under one-quarter inch. Then fold the edge you have pressed over the opposite edge and stitch along the entire length. Center the seam in the middle of your strip, press it well, and then cut it into six inch pieces.
  5. Side Hems – To sew your side hems, press under one inch on both sides of the curtain panel. Turn and press another one inch. Then, press and stitch along the length of the fabric to complete the side hem. Do this for both sides of your curtain panel.
  6. Heading – To make your curtain heading, follow the same process as in step five, using the four inch strip of fabric.
  7. Attach Heading and Loops – To make your curtain loops and heading, fold the six inch strips in half widthwise, keeping the seam on the underside. Position a loop at each of the top edge of your curtain panel. Determine how you want to space the loops between the two ends. Place the rough edges of the loops even with the rough edge of the curtain panel and pin the loops into place. With the right sides together, pin the heading on top of the panel and loops. Then, sew across the heading strip and loops with a one-half inch seam allowance. Flip the heading to back side of the panel and stitch down both sides and along the bottom edge.
  8. Bottom Hem – Turn up bottom hem three inches and press, keeping the hemline as straight as possible. Turn again the same width as the first turn and then stitch down to complete the bottom hem.

You are ready to hang your Cafe curtain in place! This is a simple project for anyone with basic sewing skills and one that can be completed quickly and will liven up your kitchen or breakfast nook window!


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