Tutorial to Make Country Style Ruffled Curtains

by Linda Erlam

A country-styled ruffled curtain can find a home in many decor styles. If you make it in lace, it fits into a Victorian home; make it in pastels for a girl’s room or in plaid for a country kitchen. It adapts to a shower curtain or to a sheer cross-draped ”Priscilla” curtain. Use your intermediate sewing skills to make your own ruffle or, if you are a beginner, use a premade ruffle to the same effect.

Use a Premade Ruffle

Cut your curtain panels. For a center-split curtain tied back to each side, calculate the cut width for each of the two panels. Multiply the width of the area to cover by 2 and divide the result in half for the cut width of each panel. For example, if your curtains must cover a 40-inch area, cut each of two panels 40 inches wide. Join panels together if necessary.

Calculate the cut panel length as the length of the finished curtains less the width of the ruffle, plus 1/2 inch for bottom seam allowance and 10 inches for the top rod casing and top ruffle. For example, if the curtains must be 50 inches long, and the ruffle is 5 inches wide, cut the panels 55 1/2 inches long.

Cut the ruffle as long as the width plus the cut length of the panel. With right sides together, sew the ruffle to the panel. Finish the sewn seam with a serger or zigzag if you wish.

Turn the non-ruffled length edge over 1 inch, twice, and press the fold. Sew close to the second fold to hold the side hem in place. Turn the top width edge over 1 inch and press the fold. Turn an additional 4 1/2 inches and press the fold. Pin in place with pins placed perpendicular to the fold. Sew along the bottom fold to create the top casing.

Sew across the curtain 2 inches from the top fold to create the top ruffle. This creates a channel 2 1/2 inches wide for the curtain rod. Adjust where you sew this second seam if you need to make the channel wider for a larger curtain rod. Making it wider will make the top ruffle narrower.

Make a Ruffle Trim

Cut the ruffle fabric width equal to twice the required finished width plus 1 inch. Cut the ruffle fabric length equal to the amount of finished ruffle required times 3. For example, if you want your finished ruffle to be 4 inches wide, and the distance across the bottom of the curtain and up the middle is 100 inches, cut the fabric 9 inches wide and 300 inches long. Join sections together as necessary.

Turn the right side of the short end edges over 1 inch toward the wrong side and press. Fold the ruffle fabric, right sides together, aligning the long length edges, and press the fold.

Pin the layers together along the raw edge and sew the two layers together 1/4 inch from the raw edge. Use a long stitch, 6 per inch or less. Sew another row 3/8 inch from the raw edge.

Tie all the ends of thread together at one end of the ruffle strip. Gently pull on the bottom-side threads at the other end, gathering the fabric as you go. (The bottom-side threads are the bobbin threads and they tend to be easier to pull for gathering than the top-side threads.) Continue pulling and gathering until the strip measures the correct length. Tie the long threads together and trim them off.

Finish the raw edge with a serger, or zigzag stitch.

Use the strip as you would a pregathered lace or trim strip.

Items you will need

  • Curtain fabric
  • Premade ruffle, if applicable
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Serger (optional)

Tip

  • Prewash and dry all the curtain components to prevent shrinkage after construction.

About the Author

Linda Erlam started writing educational manuals in 1979. She also writes a biweekly newspaper column, "Design Dilemmas," in the "Lakeshore News" and has been published in "Design and Drapery Pro" magazine. Erlam is a graduate of the Sheffield School of Interior Design and is a practicing interior decorator and drapery workroom operator.