How to Create Patterns for Window Treatments

The advantage to making patterns for your curtains or shades is that you can easily create many panels that will be identical to each other. You can also easily replicate a treatment in many different fabrics as many times as you want, whether for identical windows in the same room, or for future window treatments. Patterns are worth the time and effort if you like to change the look of your windows frequently.

Most patterns for window treatments are big squares or rectangles, for making basic panels, or small rectangles, for creating tabs and tiebacks. However, if your project has any pleats or folds (such as pleated draperies), or parts with curved edges (such as ruffle curtains), you may want to make a pattern for them to keep them consistent and your creation on track.

You can make patterns using plain butcher’s paper (plain, thin, off-white paper that comes on a roll or in a package), or you can buy specially made pattern paper, which has a dot every inch, to help you measure inch by inch and keep lines straight. To begin making your pattern, follow these easy steps:

  1. Lay out your paper on your workspace, and using the left-hand edge as your guide, measure out the pattern dimensions you need.

    To create perfect corners, use your L-square.

    The little lines of dots that run across pattern paper at the inch markers can help you keep a straight line and to make nice 90-degree angles.

  2. For arched or curved patterns (for example, in the arched valance or ruffle curtains projects), draw your curves freehand.

    For an arch, start in the center and draw your arch from side to side, or fold your pattern paper in half and cut it to make each side even.

  3. When you’re ready to cut your paper pattern, use a sharp pair of scissors (not your dressmaker’s sheers, which are reserved for cutting fabric only) and cut exactly along the drawn line.

    You’re just working with paper. Feel free to mess up and try again, to tape additional paper on if you need it, and even to practice something like cutouts before you begin on fabric. In the end, experimenting on paper first can save you time and money.

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