This sweet little cafe curtain is a style that works in just about every room in the house. Here it’s shown above a kitchen sink but I’ve used this curtain, or variations of it, in entry halls, bathrooms, bedrooms, offices, living rooms and dining rooms.
Today I’m sharing a tutorial for this cafe curtain, made from one piece of fabric. Technically, I suppose it’s one piece of fabric per panel.
Besides your fabric, all you need is a little bit of math, an iron and a straight stitch.
At the end of this post you’ll find a “guidelines” section that will help you with questions regarding yardages and measurements for any size of cafe curtain.
After you’ve determined your fabric requirements it’s time to begin.
CREATING A SELF FLAP
The upper portion of this curtain is called a cuff or flap. I tend to use the term flap when it’s made from the same fabric and often use cuff when it’s a contrasting fabric. But honestly, I find myself using both of these terms interchangeably to refer to the folded over portion of this curtain. In fact, I just noticed I labeled all the photos using cuff and wrote the post using flap!
- The first step with this particular fabric is determining which side is the front or fabric face. I’ve used both the “shaggy” or stringy side as the front as well as the smooth side. For this tutorial the smooth side is the front of our curtain.
- Next, if your fabric has a direction, determine the top of your curtain.
- Turn under and iron a 1/2″ seam allowance/hem along the upper portion of your fabric.
- Determine the length of your flap. Here’s we’re making an 8″ flap and including an extra 1″ as a small back hem. (see below) So 9″ total.
- Fold fabric Right Sides Together 9″ and pin in place.
- Stitch flap – 2″ in on each side – from fold to ironed under hem. The complete 9″ length of your flap.
- While fabric is still folded right sides together, turn under a double 1″ side hem from cuff to bottom of curtain. The photo above shows the first fold of the double 1″ side hem.
- After ironing the side hems in place, turn cuff right side out.
- This photos shows the curtain with the flap turned right side out and hems ironed in place.
- Measure and pin flap in place at desired length. In this case 9″.
- Stitch along the 1/2″ folded seam/hem (where yellow pins are).
- Once stitched in place, fold cuff to right side of curtain and iron in place at desired length. 8″
- This photo shows how the curtain now looks from the upper back side. Notice the 1″ back hem. I think this gives the curtain a nice finished look. Occasionally I’ll use a larger, 2″ to 2.5″ back hem, if I feel it works better with the fabric.
CAFE CURTAIN HEM
In many cases the hem can be ironed and stitched in place prior to finishing the upper portion of the curtain. With this style, I find it’s better to wait and measure the hem after I’ve created the flap. This just seems to work better for me.
- I generally use a double 4″ hem. In this case I’m using a double 3.5″ hem. Example #1 as to why it’s better to wait and finished the hem last.
- Measure and mark your hem length. This curtain is being hemmed at 68″.
- Fold under and iron your double 3.5″ or 4″ hem.
- You can stitch your hem in place at this point if you like but I prefer the side hem to wrap around the curtain hem. I feel the curtain hangs better and has a more finished look.
Desired look of the finished curtain hem.
- To achieve this, simply open up the folded hems…
- fold and iron them in place where the doubled side hem is folded over the curtain hem.
- Stitch hems in place along curtain hem as well as side hems.
- You can use a blind hem stitch but for this type of fabric I top stitch the hems in place.
- Attach rings and you’re done!
CAFE CURTAIN GUIDELINES
As you know, rules can always be broken so consider these as guidelines.
- To achieve this looks you’ll need fabric that is twice the width of your window.
If your window is 50″ wide you’ll want 2 @ 50″ wide panels.
If your window is 36″ wide you’ll want 2 @ 36″ wide panels.
But…you can always use fabric slightly wider or narrower than suggested for a fuller or less full look.
EXAMPLE FOR YARDAGE REQUIRED: Finished length 60″ = 60″ + 8″ hem + 16″ for an 8″ flap + extra 2″ for back hem + 1/2″ hem = 86.5″ rounded up to 90″ x 2 panels = 180″ divided by 36″(yards) = 5 yds PLUS any extra needed to match your pattern repeat.
- Flap length can vary. Most flaps are between 6″ and 9″ long depending on the finished length of curtain. I have made them as long as 11″.
- Most often, I use 5 rings per 50″ curtain panel (54″ wide fabric). More rings = less droop. Fewer rings = more droop.
- You can use clip or sewn on rings to finish your curtain. I prefer sewn on rings but use both.
- Install curtain rod between 2/3 to 3/4 the height of your window. Curtains placed at the 1/2 way point on your window tend to visually chop the window in half. Anywhere between the 2/3 to 3/4 mark is more pleasing to the eye. Keep window panes in mind as you’re making this decision. Often, I’ll follow the lines of the window panes or use the scientific “whatever looks best” method when choosing where to place the rod.
- Cafe curtains can be installed inside mount (inside the window frame), outside the window or even on the cabinets as shown above.
- Cafe curtains can be hemmed at sill length (meaning sitting on the window sill) or just below the sill along the window trim (as shown above).
If you have any questions about this tutorial don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.