Faux Café Curtains
Curtains are a fantastic starter project for anyone learning how to sew and a fun, easy, and satisfying project for someone who already knows how to sew.
Living in street-level apartment by myself years back, I realized that I had a sunlight vs. privacy dilemma. With full-length curtains, I could have privacy and with cafe or no curtains I could have sunlight, but I couldn’t have both.
My windows were low enough and close enough to the street that even in the daylight it was pretty easy to see into my apartment from the street. My mother has always had cafe curtains in her kitchen, which I love because they let so much light in, but because her apartment is on the second floor they also afford her privacy. As I thought about it, I realized that making full length curtains with sheer fabric on the top half, and opaque fabric on the bottom half, solved my problem really well. The sheer fabric obscured the view into my apartment enough during the day and at night to give me privacy but also let a ton of sunlight in if I chose to keep them closed. Now, living in a house that’s a couple floors above street level, I still love them because my neighbors’ houses are pretty close to mine and if I forget to open my curtains, my plants are still happy with all the sunlight.
Making Faux Cafe Curtains
- Find sheer and opaque fabrics you like for your new curtains
- Measure the height of your window and add 6 inches (this will be your total height)
- Measure the width of your window and multiply by 1.5 (this will be your total width)
- Cut 1 piece of sheer and 1 piece of opaque fabric that measures 1/2 the total height by the full total width
- Overlock the edges of the cut pieces
- Pin and sew the opaque piece to the sheer piece width wise (across the total width)
- Hem the sides of the curtain (the total height on either side) by folding and pressing a 1/2 inch over (on the wrong side of the fabric) twice and then sewing
- Hem the top of the curtain (the sheer half) by folding and pressing 2 inches over and sewing (this is the loop for the curtain rod)
- Hem the bottom of the curtain (the opaque half) by folding and pressing 3 inches over and sewing (this is the bottom hem of the curtain)
Tips and Troubleshooting
- Check with the person at the fabric store to be sure the sheer fabric you chose is easy to work with, sometimes they can be squirrelly
- I like to make the split between sheer and opaque where the split is on my double paned windows - this may not be the exact center so account for this in you measurements
- If you want curtains that are flat panes of fabric (and don’t have any ripples), you can measure just inside your window frame and add two inches for a half inch double fold seam on either side
- If your fabric has a pattern, be sure that the pattern is the right way up when you sew it to the sheer (i.e. not upside down)
- You may want to feed curtain weight into the bottom hem to help your curtains hang well (you can find this at a sewing store - it’s a weighted rope)
I hope you enjoy making curtains.