How to measure fabric quantity for curtains can be tricky if you don’t know how. If you are a savvy shopper, and are wanting to get that designer look on a budget, then the chances are you’re going to have to do things that a designer would normally do on your own! A designer or decorator would very rarely opt for ready made curtains when designing a space. They would likely go for bespoke curtains in a beautiful fabric, tailor made to suit the window and space. Read more for the steps to follow for measuring tailor made curtains!
Step 1: Measure the window
Here, you’ll need two measurements. First, measure the inside opening width of the actual window. This will give you your rail size that you’ll need to buy (more on that below, though). Then, measure the height of the window opening from the floor.
Traditionally (and it depends from space to space), designers like to add on a minimum of 40cm to either side of the window opening to give the rail size. This 40cm ensures that minimal light gets through the side and properly covers the opening. So if, for example, my window opening is 2 metres, then my rail size would need to be a minimum of 2,8m long.
Tip: If you’re going for an extra luxurious feel, you can measure from wall to wall and have your rail span the length of your room!
The height of your window from the floor will give you the drop. Here, you can either add on 20cm above the top of the window, or you can measure just below the cornice. you need the minimum 20cm above the window height to avoid drilling the rail into the lintel (I’ve learned the hard way).
Step 2: Calculate how much fabric you need
Most curtains will require an average of 2 times fullness, depending on the style and look you want to achieve. Using anything less than 2 times fullness can make curtains look cheap, without any kind of designer input.
First, multiply the finished width of the curtain, say 150cm, by the required fullness.
Divide this by the cut width of your fabric (usually 137cm)
Round up to the nearest full number, this is how many widths you need.
Take the final drop measurement from the top of the rail to the floor , and add on 25 cm for hem allowance, as well as any pattern repeat. Then, ‘times’ by the amount of widths, this will give you how many meters you need.
I know, thats confusing – Ill give you my window example:
My rail width is 2,8m. My finished drop is 2,45m. The width of my curtain fabric is 2,8m
2,8 x 2 (fullness) = 5,6m. 5,6m divided by 2,8m = 2. 2 Widths are needed.
2,45m (add on pattern repeat here) x 2 widths = 4,9m (Round up to the nearest whole number) = 5m.
For these measurements I’ve worked on, I’ll need 5m of fabric for my curtains!
Tip: I always add on an extra 10% wastage to my meterage in case I’m a little short. Any extra fabric can be used to make
Step 3: Hang the curtains and enjoy
There are so many options to choose from when deciding on curtains. Because curtains should last you at least 10 years, you’ll probably want to choose a good quality fabric that wont date, or age in the sun. Look for a quality lining, or scotchguard curtains to provide them with UV protection from the suns rays. If money is an object, I always recommend going for a plain curtain so that you can tie in any inexpensive scatter cushions and prints that can be changed seasonally.