Thursday 30 May 2013

Outdoor Curtains Tutorial

I've had quite a few questions about how I made the sheer curtains for my front porch.  These were so simple to do, a novice sewer wouldn't have any problems with it at all. ~

You could certainly use sheer curtains that you want to re purpose or were found in a thrift shop.  I bought new fabric and it cost me $40.  It wasn't such a large investment that I would freak out if they only lasted one season, but these have been used for four summers now.

I started by making a simple hem at the top and bottom of the fabric, joined fabric down the middle for the long side of the porch and hemmed down the outer sides.  It becomes a big, hemmed square of fabric. ~

To make life really simple, I'm going to Velcro these curtains to the wood valance on the porch.

This is the soft side of Velcro.  The kind I bought has draw strings through it that you can pull to make gathers.  How clever is that!  It's available at fabric stores. A simple line of stitching attached the soft sided Velcro to the top of the curtain panel. ~

You won't have any puckers in yours until you start pulling the strings.  Fabric has memory and mine refused to lie flat and forget that it spent four years in gathers, no matter how much I told it letting go was emotionally healthy.

Here's what it looks like at this stage on the front. ~

Start pulling on the strings and form your gathers.  ~

Keep pulling and adjusting the gathers across the top until you have the degree of fullness you want. ~

This amount of gathering allows this much view. ~

Because the porch is in shadows, I'm not visible from the street while being able to see out quite clearly.

Tie off the ends of your strings and trim them.  I left extra string on one side of each panel in case I wanted to change the amount of gathering at some point.  ~

To attach the hard side of the Velcro to the wooden porch valance, I used a staple gun.  Actually, I used No More Nails first, even though it said not for use outdoors.  They weren't kidding about that.  It didn't work.  But, a staple gun was quick and simple and did the job just fine. ~

The hard (or nylon) side of the Velcro stays up permanently and is impervious to weather. Make sure the fabric store has sold you both the hard and soft sides of the Velcro.  It's sold separately. ~

I know I should have washed the aluminum before I took the shot but it's really hot here today and you'd be waiting a long time for this tutorial if everything has to be spic and span clean!

The one thing I will change when the time comes to make new curtains, is have each side separated into several panels so they are easy to tie back when it is windy.  Those sheers billowing across the porch make Maeve crazy trying to bat at them from the window! ~

For a $40 investment and about an hour of time I've created a lovely and private spot for sitting.  The sheers, soft Velcro and all, go right in the washer and dryer when they need a touch up.  Mine only need to be washed at the end of the season before packing them away.

By early evening, the porch becomes a magical retreat;  my secret reading nook! ~

I'm sharing with:  What's It WednesdayMake Bake Create PartyHome


  1. know I've been wanting to put sheers in my screened in room...sooo, I have a question. "What if you put weights in the hem at the bottom of the sheers? Do you think that would be enough to stop them from blowing or billowing? Or not?" Enquiring minds want to know!...xo Lovely tutorial by the way! wendy

    1. Great idea! That's what I'm gonna do!

    2. Great idea! That's what I'm gonna do!

    3. Great idea! That's what I'm gonna do!

  2. Oh, it is just heavenly. Love it.

  3. GREAT tutorial, Maureen. I have NEVER seen that Velcro with the gathering string built into it. I HAVE to look for it now. That was a BIG job but SO worth it! xo Diana

  4. Brilliant Maureen. Still beyond me-I am going to clip some drop cloths up to hide my ugly hot tub:}

  5. It's so beautiful I want to do it with my outdoor area pinning it for Summer :)

  6. I would like them for my sliding door What is the material? I think I will try

  7. Such a great idea. I've never seen that velcro either - ingenious.

  8. This is just GREAT to know. Thank you so much for sharing. I think even I could do this. I appreciate simple instructions, and yours look fail proof. Much appreciated.



  9. O, these are sooo wonderful, Maureen...It is far too windy here in West Texas to use these but I sure would love them.

  10. How pretty! Stop tempting me to sew!!! First though...I need a porch! I love that last pic with the shadows by the way.

  11. Your curtains are so pretty, and the wooden trim looks like a valance in your photos. Your porch is so pretty, Maureen!


  12. Wow, that stoep (what we call porches here)of yours looks absolutely stunning! i especially love the last picture, so pretty!

  13. Your porch is beautiful Maureen. Thanks for the how to on the curtains :)

  14. Oh how lovely!! Your porch is so cute!!

  15. Oh wow! This looks beautiful and so peaceful!

  16. Wow what a great idea! I need to do this! I am new from southern charm! I would love for you to check out my blog and hopefully follow me back. Nicole

  17. The curtains on your darling front porch look oh so dreamy! Thanks for sharing how you made them. It is so good to see that you have green all around you on your porch now after hearing about you walking in the deep snow only a few months ago.

  18. I thought of doing that on our deck but just around the railing because I don't have an overhang or roof to attach them to. Yours are really lovely and you did a splendid job! A dreamy reading spot! Thank you for sharing your tutorial at my HOME.