Can successful lined curtains be made at home?

Can you really make lined curtains successfully?

If you've never made any drapes, you may be wondering if it's possible to make lined draperies. No-sew solutions without lining are pumped out of every diy website you've ever looked at.

The short answer is, "Yes, you can!"

But let's deal with one other question first.

Are lined curtains always necessary?

No. There are situations where you may not wish or need to use them.

You may have a window in a very light room where you just want some fabric at the window to soften it. By using a light cotton print without lining, you can let the daylight light up the fabric from behind to give a light and airy feel to the room.

Or you may want to use a sheer fabric such as voile or lace. These generally look better when they don't have any lining, because you then get the full effect of the light through them.

Why you should have lined curtains

The main reason for having lined draperies is to protect the fabric.

If your window gets direct sunlight, your fabric will deteriorate over the years. Even if you don't get direct sunlight you'll still notice a certain a degree of damage. 

What sort of damage?

Your fabrics will fade. And if they get direct sunlight, they'll fade quickly. In time the fabric structure will break down. This depends on the fabric components, whether it's made from natural or artificial fibres, or a combination of both. The fabric will eventually become 'ripe' - you'll be able to easily tear it.

Another reason is that lining helps the drapes hang better. Just having that bit of extra material makes quite a difference.

edge of curtain unlined

Here's a photo of a section of curtain with the lining about to be stitched to the side.

Linings are quite easy to make as nearly all the work is done by sewing machine. The lining is then laid on top of the reverse of the curtain and hand stitched into position.

Note the corner of the lining is turned back so when it's laid in position there's no danger of that corner edge showing.

lining sewn in position

Here you can see the lining now sewn into position, giving a neat finish.

What's the best lining to use?

The best you can afford. Good quality linings are normally made from cotton. The least expensive linings can have a proportion of polyester or some other man-made fibre.

Quality linings will look better for longer, and will last longer without deteriorating. They are also less prone to shrinkage.

So to repeat, go for the best you can afford.

What colour should I use?

The normal colour for linings is natural, which is sometimes described as beige, or ecru. You can get linings in many colours, and they have their uses.

But be careful if you have a number of windows on the same side of your house. Often some of the lining is visible from outside. If you use different coloured lining for your lined curtains, remember that from outside you'll see all those colours. It can look quite weird!

Are lined curtains difficult to make?

Obviously there's more work involved than making unlined curtains.

But it isn't difficult. In fact, it's quite straightforward. Once you've make one lined curtain, you'll realize there's not that much to it. And the results are so much better!

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