Sheers require special needles and sewing techniques.

How to Make Simple Sheer Polyester Curtain Panels for Teens

by Kathryn Hatashita-Lee

You can dress up your teen’s room with sheer polyester curtains to allow natural light and some privacy in her special place. When you sew with sheer fabrics, it requires careful pinning and a slim needle. Test your pressing, pinning and sewing on a fabric scrap to reduce mistakes on your teen’s curtain. Just four lines of stitching encases the four raw edges to create smooth, finished double hems. This lightweight material adapts as a flat panel curtain, gathered curtains or a window scarf easy to take with you to your next home.

Cutting the Panel

Measure the installed drapery pole from left to right, between the finials. Record this measurement with a pencil on a notepad. If your teen wants gathered curtains, multiply this measurement two times to get the desired fullness. For example, if the pole measures 48 inches across, multiply 48 inches by two for a panel 96 inches wide.

Measure the length or drop from the ring clips to the preferred lower edge. For example, measure from the clip to the bottom of the window apron. Record this length in inches. Add 2 inches to include lower and upper hems for the cutting length. Mark the cutting length on the notepad.

Place the prewashed and pressed fabric on a large, flat surface. Gently mark the panel’s dimensions on the fabric with a fabric marker and a straight edge, or insert a line of pins to mark the four edges of the panel. Set weights on the fabric to help minimize the fabric slipping.

Cut the panel with serrated scissors or a rotary cutter on a cutting mat. Set aside the scrap fabric.

Stitching Four Hems

Press a 1/2-inch fold from the left edge and then press another 1/2-inch fold. Pin with straight pins to keep the raw edge encased in this double hem. For the right edge, press a 1/2-inch fold, and press another 1/2-inch fold, and pin to form a double-side hem.

Insert a new, size 8 to 11 universal needle into your sewing machine. Thread your sewing machine with polyester thread. Adjust your machine to a regular, straight stitch, approximately 10 to 12 stitches to the inch. Test-sew on a fabric scrap to check for balanced stitches and adjust the tension and stitch length as needed.

Stitch the left side of the panel close to the inner folded edge. Remove each pin as the fabric feeds along the needle plate. Stitch the right side of the panel. Knot and trim the pairs of threads. When finished, you should have two vertical lines of stitches between the top and bottom edges of the panel.

Iron a 1/2-inch fold from the top edge of the panel, and then iron another 1/2-inch fold. Pin the double hem in place. Machine stitch this upper hem between the left and right edges, and remember to remove every pin as you sew.

Iron a 1/2-inch fold up from the bottom edge. Then press and pin another 1/2-inch fold to create the lower double hem. Stitch this hem and remove each pin. Knot and trim the threads.

Iron the curtain panel with a preheated iron. Attach ring clips at even intervals along the upper hem. Insert the drapery pole through the rings. Ask your teen to help you balance and raise the curtain panel to the brackets. Adjust the panel for a flat look or gather the panel evenly.

Items you will need

  • Decorative drapery pole
  • Curtain ring clips
  • Mounting hardware
  • Metal tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Notepad
  • Polyester fabric, prewashed and pressed
  • Washable fabric marker
  • Yardstick
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Cutting mat
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Straight pins
  • Universal sewing machine needles, sizes 8 to 11 (60 to 75)
  • Drapery weights, optional


  • Curtain fabrics usually have very wide widths, such as 108 inches, to help minimize the need to seam two widths to form a larger panel.
  • Insert a small drapery weight in the lower corners of the panel to reduce flare and improve the hang of the curtain panel.
  • This panel easily converts to a window scarf. Attach two or more hooks above the upper corners of the window. Fold the panel back and forth like a fan and then lift the folded panel to the hooks for support. Arrange the center of the panel to dip down, if preferred. Pin the scarf tails with safety pins or tie the scarf with ribbons to secure the scarf to the hooks.
  • A dowel set on two or more mounted hooks also supports your teen’s curtain panel. Fold the upper section of the finished panel around the pole and insert decorative pins in a horizontal line to form a rod pocket. A larger rod pocket raises up the panel's bottom edge. Be aware that the pin holes may remain on the panel after you remove the pins.


  • Keep the sewing supplies and iron away from small children.
  • Turn off the iron every time you leave the ironing board.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images