How To Make Outdoor Curtains

GeoBella Outdoor Curtains in Concordia Black
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DIY Outdoor Curtain Guide

Adding curtains elevates the look and feel of your outdoor space to something breezy, luxurious and out of the ordinary. Even for DIY newbies, a patio curtain project is relatively easy. With a little preparation and understanding the best fabric type for your needs, you can whip up an entire set in a single afternoon. Read our step-by-step tutorial and you’ll be lounging in your own private patio cabana before you know it.

Why Make Your Own Curtains Vs. Buy?

Making your own outdoor curtains offer endless flexibility: you choose the exact color, print and texture that sings to you. You can pair your fabrics with your existing outdoor furniture to create a design scheme that can include soothing neutrals or exciting pops of color. Create a bold backdrop with bright solids, or give your space a creative accent with neutral patterns. Not to mention, you can customize the perfect size for your space without being restricted to the standard curtain panel widths and lengths.

How To Make Outdoor Curtains

To begin, make sure you have a large, clean, flat area in which to work. Curtains require a large volume of fabric, so the more space you have, the more accurate your measuring, cutting and sewing will be.


  • Outdoor fabric
  • Outdoor (polyester) thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Measuring tape/ruler
  • Sharp fabric scissors
  • Tailor’s chalk, disappearing fabric pen, or soft-leaded pencil
  • Sewing pins
  • Grommet Kit
  • Clip rings
  • Lead curtain weights or heavy galvanized steel washers

*Ironing not recommended for GeoBella fabrics*

Now, onto our step-by-step guide that will show you how to make outdoor curtains for patios and porches!

Step 1: Calculate how much fabric you need

It’s relatively easy to calculate how much fabric you’ll need to make your curtains. All you need is a measuring tape and a few simple measurements:

  • Measure your curtain height: Measure from the topmost point of where you plan to hang the curtains (from a rod or wire) to the floor of your porch or patio.
    • Measure the top hem: Just how much you add to the top will depend on your preferred hanging method:
      •  Rod pocket – Make sure there is plenty of space for the curtains to move when you open and close them. A rod pocket that “just fits” will be too tight. You’ll want to allow for at least an extra inch. For most sturdy curtain rods, an extra 5 inches on the top is a good rule of thumb.
      • Grommets – If you are going to go the grommet route and hang your curtains with hooks or wires, you will still need extra fabric at the top to fold over. In this case, 3 inches should do the trick.
    • Measure the bottom hem: For the bottom hem, add an extra 9 inches. This will give a nice, deep hem that will help the curtains hang gracefully, and you’ll have room to add curtain weights if you want.
  •  Take your final height measurement: Length + Top Hem + Bottom Hem.
  • Measure your curtain width: Measure the space you want your curtains to cover when extended
    • For an elegant, draped look to your outdoor curtains, you will want to double this
      measurement so that folds are visible when the curtains are bunched up or hanging loosely.
    • For very full curtains, allow for 2 ½ times the width of the space you’re covering.
    • Add another inch for each panel to allow for side hems.
  • Take your final width measurement: Width x 2 (or 2.5) + 2 inches per panel.
    To calculate your overall fabric needs, you’ll need to multiply your length measurement by the number of panels required to cover your space.

Step 2: Measure and cut your panels

  • Lay your fabric on a flat surface, such as a large dining table or your floor.
  • Measure your lengths.
  • Take your time to avoid mistakes, unnecessary frustration and wasted fabric.

Step 3: (Optional) Pin and sew panels together

  • If you are creating wider panels, lay both lengths of fabric together with the right sides facing together. Mark a ½ inch seam allowance along the length and pin.
  • Sew along the line.

Step 4: Pin and sew side hems

  • Mark a 1 inch hem on each side of the panel.
  • Fold the hem in half to create a ½ inch hem.
  • Then, fold over again to enclose the raw edge.
  • Pin, then sew along the length with a ¼ inch seam allowance.

Step 5: Pin and sew top hem

How you sew the top hem will depend on whether you’re going for a long pocket to hold a curtain rod or grommets for hooks or wires.
For a “pocket” curtain:

  • Mark a line across the top of the panel the height of your chosen pocket, 5 inches from the top edge.
  • Mark a 1 inch hem along the top of your panel.
  • Fold ½ inch of the top edge of your panel.
  • Fold it over again to enclose the raw edge and pin.
  • Sew along the hem with a ¼ inch seam allowance.
  • Finally, fold the finished edge to meet your first mark and sew with a ¼ inch seam allowance.

For grommets:

  • Mark a line across the top of your curtain panel 3 inches from the top edge.
  • Fold hem in half to create a 1 ½ inch hem.
  • Fold again to enclose raw edge.
  • Pin and sew with a ¼ inch seam allowance.
  • This will give a sturdy base for you to insert grommets later.

Step 6: Pin and sew bottom hem

  • Mark a line 9 inches from the bottom of your panel.
  • Mark a 1 inch hem along the top of your panel.
  • Fold ½ inch of the bottom edge of your panel.
  • Then fold it over once more to enclose the raw edge.
  • Sew along the hem with a ¼ inch seam allowance.
  • Fold the finished edge in to meet your first mark.
  • Now you can pin and add your weights if you are using them.
  • Sew along the hem with ¼ inch seam allowance.
  • If you have used curtain weights, you’ll also need to sew along each side of the hem to trap them inside.

Step 7: (Optional) Add grommets

  • If you’re adding grommets, use a ruler and pencil to measure and mark your spacing between grommets along the top hem of your curtain.
  • Cut a small X with your fabric scissors at each spot to make placement easier.
  • Follow the instructions with your grommet kit to place a grommet at each of your marks.
  • Add your clip rings, and they’re ready to hang.

That’s all it takes to create fabulous outdoor curtains and turn your porch or patio into a luxurious private escape!

Choosing the Best Fabric for Outdoor Curtains

Much like choosing fabric for outdoor furniture, choosing the right fabric for outdoor curtains can be a game of weighing the pros and cons of each fabric type depending on your need. This can be determined by where your curtains will be hanging in relation to morning or afternoon sun, if they will be under a porch or a pergola, and so on. To help break this down, we’ll be bringing you “How to Choose Outdoor Curtain Fabric” next month. However, if you’re ready to start making your curtains right now, we highly recommend hopping over to our website and picking out your fabric. Looking for more DIY projects? Check out our guide on how to make a DIY outdoor pallet couch.

Find The Right Fabric With Phifer

Are you ready to get started on your DIY outdoor curtains right now? Try our Outdoor Fabric Visualizer! Using sample images and your chosen fabrics, the Visualizer will give you an inspiring preview of your finished project! When you’ve found the perfect color or design, shop our outdoor fabrics that ship right to your door. If you have any questions, get in touch with us! We’re always happy to offer extra guidance over the phone, email or live chat!

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