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Curtain Panel Calculator

Table of contents

What is a curtain panel?Types of curtain panelsHow to measure the fabric for your curtain panelsHow wide to make curtain panelsHow to calculate the curtain fabric neededMethod used by our curtain panel calculator to calculate the raw fabric for sewing your curtain panelsHow to measure your curtain panels for your windowHow to sew curtain panels for your windowFAQs

If you have decided to sew some new panel curtains and find yourself at a loss regarding the correct measurements you should aim for, our curtain panel calculator is just what you need to make your job easier. We take all the hard work out of your project.

Our curtain panel calculator will help you figure out the correct measurements you will need for the raw material you will use to sew your curtains.

In this article, we will explain:

  • What is a curtain panel?
  • How to measure curtain panels.
  • The proper way to sew curtain panels.
  • How to choose the width of your curtain panel.
  • How to calculate the curtain fabric needed to cover all of your windows.
  • Tips to consider when hanging your curtain rod.
  • How to sew curtains for best effect.

What is a curtain panel?

A curtain panel refers to a section of fabric that you can use alone to create a window treatment style.

All panels are curtains, but not all curtains are panels.

Types of curtain panels

There are many different types of panel curtains. Some examples are:

  • Grommetted curtains: The round holes at the top characterize them. The holes allow us to pass the rods through for hanging.

  • Pleated panel: A pleated panel is a type of window curtain that has its finished look created through the pleats sewn into the top of the curtains. We use several different kinds of pleats to do this. These include pinch, goblet, tuxedo, pencil, etc.

  • Rod-pocket panel: These curtains have a piece of fabric sewn onto the top at the back to allow you to insert a rod. They often have an extra line stitched at the top to create ruffles when the curtain hangs on a rod.

  • Tab top panel: Tab top panels are curtains with strips of fabric sewn into the top to form loops. The rod passes through these loops to hang the curtains.

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How to measure the fabric for your curtain panels

If you wish to sew your curtains and are not sure how to measure your curtain when sewing, here is what you do to find the length:

  1. Measure from the bottom of your rod to the desired length. You may measure to the bottom of your window sill, apron, or the floor.
  2. Check/measure the circumference of the window rod.

Here is how you choose the curtain width:

  1. Measure the window frame from the outer edge on one side to the outer edge on the other.
  2. Enter the information into our curtain panel calculator, and it will generate the measurements you need.

How wide to make curtain panels

If this is your first foray into the art of curtain creation, you have no doubt questioned how wide to make your curtain panels. While there are some standard measurements, how wide you choose to make your curtains is more about personal taste than rules.

It is more often than not affected by the desired fullness ratio and the number of panels you wish to use per window. So when looking at how wide to make curtain panels, measure the width of your window, then multiply this by the fullness ratio. If you wish to use multiple panels, divide this measurement by the number of panels. Remember to add four extra inches to each additional panel for the side seams.

How to calculate the curtain fabric needed

Before you attempt to buy the fabric for your curtains, you need to calculate the total amount you will need to cover all your windows. This step is imperative if you have a style you would like to maintain throughout your home.

Here is how to calculate the curtain fabric needed to cover all your windows:

Fabric comes in different widths. It would be best to choose a cloth close to but not less than the width of the raw material needed for the panel. This width is best because we will want to avoid too much wastage.

To calculate the amount of fabric needed for the length of the curtains, use the size of material required for one and multiply it by the number of panels of that length. If there are other curtains of different lengths, repeat this process for those, then add the total amount of fabric needed for each size.

Method used by our curtain panel calculator to calculate the raw fabric for sewing your curtain panels

To calculate the width of all your curtains, we multiply the width of your window by the intended fullness (that is 2, 2.5, or 3), then add 2 inches to cater for the side seams.

Rod-pocket curtain
To calculate the length of fabric needed for your rod pocket curtain, our curtain panel calculator accepts the expected length of your curtain and adds 8 1/2" plus half of the circumference of the rod to allow for the bottom and top seams and the slight ruffle at the top. Four inches goes toward the bottom hem, 2 inches for the ruffles at the top, and 2 1/2 inches caters for the extra space.

Grummet or Eyelet panel curtain and the pleated panel curtain
For these types of curtains, the curtain panel calculator adds 6" for the bottom hem and 4 inches for the top.

Cuffed top Panel
To make a tab top panel curtain, use the standard measurement for curtains. Our calculator adds 1 1/2" to the length to account for the seams. In reality, because you add loops three inches long, the base fabric for this curtain will have 4.5 additional inches, which you will use for the top and bottom seams. The bottom hem will use 4 inches, while the topstitching will use 1/2".

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How to measure your curtain panels for your window

If you already have curtain panels or intend to purchase them, you also need to know how to choose the curtain width to ensure the amount you are buying is sufficient for your home.

  1. First, measure the width of your window as outlined above.
  2. Multiply the width of your window by the fullness ratio.
  3. Next, measure the width of your curtain.
  4. Divide the answer gained in number 2 by the width of your curtain.

How to sew curtain panels for your window

Once you have cut the fabric for your curtain according to the measuring guide given above, you can start sewing. If this is your first time and you do not know how to sew curtains, it is essential to note that it would be best always to sew the side seam first to avoid closing the rod's opening.

With the right side against your cutting table, fold the side of the fabric upward by 1/2 inch, then fold again another 1/2 inch to create the side seam. Use your sewing pins to hold the hem in place and continue folding until the entire raw edge on that side is folded and pinned. With the right side still against the table, repeat this action on the next side until that is also folded and pinned.

Once you have completed sewing both side seams, return the fabric to your cutting table and remove the pins.

How to sew the top and bottom seams for curtains

Rod pocket curtain:

For this type of curtain, you will:

  1. Fold the bottom seam 2 inches up, then another 2 inches for the bottom hem. Holding the fabric flat, stitch the bottom seam.
  2. Check the measurement you found for the rod. Let's pretend this is 4 inches. Divide this by 2. So the space allocation for the top is the 4 1/2" allowance we gave at the beginning plus the two inches for the circumference of the rod.
  3. Fold the top 5 1/2 inches down and stitch a line 1 inch down to create a 1-inch ruffle.
  4. Turn the fabric over. Fold the top seam up 1/2 inch. Stitch this flat.

Grommeted curtains:

  1. Fold the bottom hem two inches up, then another 4 inches.
  2. Stitch this flat.
  3. For the bottom seam, fold the fabric inwards 2".
  4. Fold it again downward 4".
  5. Stitch this flat.
  6. Add eyelets 2 inches from the outer edge on either side. Continue adding eyelets every 4 or 6 inches.

NB: The total number of eyelets per panel must be an even number.

Pleated panel curtains:

  1. To sew these curtains, we use the first five steps as the grommeted curtains.
  2. Add the pleats at intervals of 4 to 6 inches to suit the width of your panel.

Cuffed top panel:

  1. Create your cuff by folding the material you prepared for this in half, with the wrong side upward, lengthwise.
  2. Holding it in this position, stitch the fabric straight down lengthwise.
  3. Turn the material over.
  4. With the seam at the center to hide the stitching, iron the fabric flat. Measure and cut the cuffs into 6 1/2" pieces.
  5. Fold the bottom hem of the base material two inches up, then another 2 inches.
  6. Use sewing pins to hold the material together in this position. Stitch the seam.
  7. Turn the curtain around. Fold the cuffs you prepared above in half and with the raw edge lined up with the base fabric, pin the cuffs to the base.
  8. Using a 4-inch strip, place the fabric over the area you just pinned with the right side facing the base fabric and cuffs.
  9. Stitch a straight line 1/2" from the edge
  10. Pull the extra fabric up and fold it over, so the wrong side is now facing the wrong side of the base fabric. Fold the edge of the fabric 1/2" up and stitch it flat against the base fabric.

What is a curtain rod?

A curtain rod is a device used to hang curtains. It can be made of several different materials and typically runs from the outer edge of a door or window to another.

What is the proper way to hang curtain rods?

To hang curtain rods for best effect:

  • Use a rod 8 to 16 inches wider than the window to have room for the curtain to be pulled back and let in the maximum amount of light.
  • Where you wish to use a rod longer than 6 feet, use extra hooks to support the middle to prevent bending.
  • Place the curtain rod no less than 4 feet above the window. Higher placements make the room appear taller.

How do I determine the number of curtain panels needed?

To know the number of panels you will need, you should:

  1. Measure your curtain rod from one bracket to another.
  2. Determine the fullness ratio you wish to have. The fullness is 2, 2.5, or 3.
  3. Multiply the measurement found in 1 by the number representing the desired fullness given in 2.
  4. Divide this number by the width of the panel you already have.
  5. The answer is the number of panels you will need for this window or door.

How wide should curtains be to fit the window?

A curtain should be at least twice the window's width measured from the outer edge of one frame to the next to be considered a good fit for the window.

However, you may also use measurements that are 2.5 or 3 times the width of the window to create more volume for our curtains.

If the width of your panel does not meet these requirements, you may use multiple curtains for each window.

Total amount of fabric needed

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