How to Make Pocket Top Curtains

How to make pocket top curtains. I finally did it! I finished the curtains for our bedroom only 1 year after deciding to make curtains for the bedroom. haha Longest. Project. Ever.

You see, our bedroom in this rental has blinds. And, knowing this place is temporary, I'm cool with blinds only (no matter how much they reminded me of my college apartment). However, my husband is the lightest sleeper on earth. Some how, each morning, soft light comes through the blinds, pierces through his paper-thin eye lids like laser beams, scorching his retinas, and waking him up at the crack of dawn. The kids are so used to seeing him sleep with a pillow on his face that they "play daddy" by putting pillows on their faces. I, on the other hand, could sleep on the face of the sun. :)

But, I do really like the look of curtains and would like to see the hubs get a good night's sleep one of these days, so I finally made some. Originally I was going to do grommet-top curtains but decided later to keep them pocket top. I don't know... is grommet-top going out? I'm still on the fence about that, and might add the grommets, but for now, this is how to make pocket top curtains.

  • Fabric - Lots. This will vary depending on the height and width of your window, but in general, you will need lots. At least 3 yards for one panel.
  • Sewing machine - unless you're crazy and want to sew this by hand
  • Pins, thread, scissors, measuring tape - all the regular sewing stuff

I bought 2 fabrics to make these curtains. The first was the vibrant blue paisley. But after taking it home, I realized it wasn't really wide enough for the window. That's when I decided to look for a contrasting fabric for bands on either side. This, mind you, took months. Finding not 1, but 2 fabrics I liked for the curtains. Plus, I'm cheap so they both had to be less than $10/yard. Yay Joann's clearance + coupons!

Step 1
I made a little doodle on my kids' easel. There was already a curtain rod in the wall from the previous tenant, so I measured from the curtain rod to the floor. That was 99". Then I added 2" at the bottom for the hem, and 4" at the top for the pocket. Total length, 105". (If you have a really beefy rod, you might need a slightly larger pocket).

Step 2
Find a huge area and cut all your fabric to the length you just figured out. If you're having trouble cutting such large pieces of fabric straight, try using a laser level. I used it on my duvet cover project. Works great.

I cut my contrasting fabric like this. Larger band for the outside of the curtains and a thinner one for the inside of the panels (or the middle of the window). This fabric is doubled up. So there are two thin bands and two thick bands to make two finished curtain panels.

Step 3
If you're making contrasting bands like me, lay them on top of the center fabric, right sides together, lining up the outer edges. Then pin like crazy. If you don't have any contrasting fabric, ignore me :) and skip way ahead.

Step 4
Stitch seams.
I sewed my fabrics together with about a 1/2" seam allowance.

But then it did this on the back.

So I tightened up my tension. I just tightened a little and sewed a little and kept checking the back until my seem looked tight and normal again.

Tada! Yup, that's what that wheel is for.

I also zigzag stitched my seems after sewing them to help prevent fraying since I don't own a serger.

Step 5
Iron your seams.
I folded the flap on the back towards the paisley fabric and ironed it flat that way.

Really, take the time to iron. Look how much better it looks.

Step 6
Top stitch.
Now sew a straight stitch on the front of your curtain, just to the side of your seam. Make sure you're sewing on the side that you ironed the back flap to. This will make your seem lay flat, be stronger, and look fancy pants. :) And if you're counting, yes, you will have sewed each seam a total of 3 times when you're done.
Nice top stitch.

Step 7
Sew side hems.
Take the raw sides of your curtain panels, fold them in towards the back about 1/4" (or as small as you can get it), then fold them over again about 1/2". You're just hiding the raw edges. Then sew close to where you folded. Here's a little drawing to try and clear that up. You're folds won't be that big, I just wanted you to be able to see them in my stellar drawing there. ;) And, I didn't iron this until after I sewed.

Step 8
Sew your pocket and hem.
This is exactly like step 7, except at the top and bottoms. For the top pocket, fold your fabric over however large you want your pocket to be. So, I folded my raw end under, then folded again 4" down. Then sew really close to where you folded. Do the hem the same way at the bottom and you're done!
Notice the DIY Herringbone Metallic Artwork getting some air time in these pics :)
I love how much softer the bedroom looks now (and how much darker it is in the mornings). I looks like a lot of steps, but it's really not hard. So if you're just not finding the curtains you like for a price you're willing to pay, consider making your own. 


  1. They turned out great! I've scheduled a post on Craft Gossip for later this evening that links to your tutorial. When it goes live, you can see it here: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-rod-pocket-curtains/2013/07/24/

  2. LOVE the way these curtains turned out!!!

  3. Absolutely love your curtains. I just made my first valance curtain with a friend yesterday and now I'm hooked. Couldn't believe how easy it was. I believe I will make curtains similar to yours for my bedroom. Wonderful idea to use two different fabrics. Thank you for the easy to understand tutorial.