How to Make Blackout Curtains

Kate Miller-Wilson
blackout curtains

Blackout curtains are useful for blocking bright sunlight, but it can be difficult to find attractive options that really match your decor. If you want light-blocking curtains that look beautiful and unique, it's best to make them yourself. This is an easy project for anyone who has a little sewing experience. You don't even need a pattern!

How to Sew Your Own Blackout Curtains

Making blackout curtains is a simple project that will take about an hour for each curtain panel. The process is similar to making unlined curtains, but you'll be adding the blackout liner fabric. You don't need to be an expert seamstress, but it helps to have used a sewing machine in the past.

Things You'll Need

You'll need some special blackout liner fabric, which you can buy at your local fabric store or online. A good choice is Roc-Lon Drapery Lining Fabric, which retails for about five dollars per yard on Amazon.com. It comes in white or ivory and has several five-star reviews. Consumers love that it is easy to work with and is very effective at blocking light.

In addition, you'll need the following tools and supplies:

  • Curtain fabric, with yardage dependent on your project
  • Sewing machine and matching thread
  • Pins, measuring tape, and scissors
  • Iron

What to Do

  1. Begin by determining the dimensions for your curtains. You'll need to add about six inches to the desired length to account for the rod pocket and hem. For the width, measure the window and determine how full you want the curtains to be. Because the blackout liner adds bulk, it's usually best to limit the width to double the dimension of the window. For a sleeker look, multiply the window width by one and a half. Add one more inch to each panel for the side hems.
  2. Once you know your curtain dimensions, cut out the panels. For each panel, you'll need to cut a piece of your curtain fabric and a piece of your lining fabric. Both pieces will be the same size. Don't forget to include the seam allowances from step one. For instance, if you want the finished panel to be 56 inches wide and 84 inches long, you'll cut both pieces 57 inches wide and 90 inches long.
  3. Stack the two pieces with their right sides together and pin all the way around three sides, leaving one of the short sides open. Sew all the way around the three sides you pinned, allowing 1/2 inch for your seams. Remove the pins as you sew.
  4. Turn the curtain right side out, similar to a gigantic pillowcase. Carefully press the entire panel. Use your sewing machine to topstitch both of the long sides, sewing 1/4 inch from the edge.
  5. Next, you'll make the rod pocket. Measure your curtain rod circumference and divide it by two. Then add half an inch for ease and for your seam allowance. A standard rod pocket is about two and a half inches. Once you've decided on the dimension, measure the top finished edge and fold it over to the back of the curtain. Pin it in place and sew it securely 1/4 inch from the edge.
  6. Hang your curtain to test its length. While it's still hanging, pin the raw edge at the bottom to mark the hem. Take the panel down and create a rolled hem to finish the raw bottom edge. Press the hem carefully when you're done.

Helpful Tips

This is an easy project, but it still helps to keep a few tips in mind:

  • Be precise in your measuring and cutting. For this project to work, the curtain fabric and the liner fabric need to be cut to exactly the same size.
  • Consider using a sewing machine foot that allows you to feed the fabric from the top as well as the bottom. This helps keep everything lined up properly. If you don't have this type of foot, often called a "walking foot," pin your fabric every two inches along the edge.
  • If you notice the fabric puckering as you work, stop sewing and remove the fabric from the machine. Readjust the panels, taking out stitches if necessary, and then resume sewing.
  • For panels that "puddle" at the floor, add between one and three inches to the length of your curtains. You can decide how much excess fabric you want when you're creating the hem at the end of your project.

Sewing Blackout Liners for Existing Curtains

If you already have curtains you love, you can turn them into blackout curtains by sewing liners for them. The process is fairly simple.

  1. Purchase enough blackout liner fabric to match the dimensions of the existing curtains. Cut the fabric to the same size as your curtains, since you'll want the liner to be just a bit smaller than the outer curtain.
  2. Hem each long side of the liner fabric with a standard 1/2-inch rolled hem.
  3. Remove your existing curtain from the window, and pin the top edge of the liner fabric to the back side of the existing curtain along the rod pocket. The right side of the liner fabric should be facing the wrong side of the existing curtain, and the edge of the liner panel should match up with the rolled edge of the rod pocket.
  4. Sew a seam to attach the liner fabric to the existing panel, using thread that matches the curtain fabric rather than the liner. Press the liner down against the back of the curtain using your iron. The raw edge of the liner should be hidden.
  5. Hang the curtain and check the length of the liner panel. Take it back down and hem the liner according to your desired length. Press the hem neatly.

Unlimited Options for Decorating

Whether you add a blackout liner to curtains you already have or you create custom blackout curtains from scratch, you'll enjoy the flexibility this type of project brings to your home decorating. Instead of being limited by the options available for purchase, you can block the sunlight in your room and still get the decorating look you have in mind. All it takes is a little time, a sewing machine, and some fabric.

How to Make Blackout Curtains