A couple months ago, my boyfriend and I bought our first house. Woohoo! As soon as we started closing, we went inside the house and took measurements so I could make curtains. I got some basic tips from Diana Rupp's book SEW and bought my fabric. Now, this entire time, I kept thinking, "Rectangles. I can sew rectangles. I've sewn clothing for myself, and I'm so picky about how things fit my body!" Joke was on me. I don't know what my deal was, but I seemed to mess up every measurement, every cut, every stitch. Anyway, after several weeks of slaving away (seriously, this project was so much bigger than I'd expected), I finally finished my six sets of upholstery suede drapes.
A couple things I learned the hard way from this project (and advice from others):
1. The book SEW explained how to figure the number of rings you need. Really, it was exactly the method I had figured. But after several times of confusing the heck out of myself, I figured out a WAY better way. Fold your curtain in half. Make a small mark on the inside of the fold with chalk. Fold the left side into the center. Mark this as well. Fold the right side into the center. Mark likewise. Keep doing this until it looks like an appropriate amount of rings. WAY easier and more dummy-proof than calculating, especially when you're sewing the rings like I did.
2. Wider rings work so much better. Some of my curtains have one-inch rings. They were harder to sew on straight, and they didn't help keep the curtains' shape as well. My guest bedroom curtains have three-inch-wide rings, and they look so much better and were much more manageable.
3. This tip is the most important:
Cut your curtains like you would any other projects (that is, accounting for the hem) except ADD an additional inch or two to the bottom. Cut, sew, hem, finish, etc. the top edge and both sides. Leave the bottom raw. Hang the curtains and let them drape for a week or two. THEN go back and hem the bottom, making very sure to measure carefully, because many windows are actually not straight due to settling of the house. If you don't have time to let the curtains drape, at least take my advice and hem the bottom very last after carefully inspecting the actual length that needs to be hemmed. I very wrongfully assumed that, like all the other hems, I would just hem up the amount that I calculated. Turns out the stitching had shortened the sides more than I expected, so the corners of my curtains are extra-high.
Hope you have better luck than I did! And sorry the white balance is really off in these pictures...
Bedroom (just realizing how brown it is...geez) (did paneling, because I got too little blue- did the "little leaf stitch" in blue on the brown hem and in brown on the blue hem where the panels meet):