How to Lay Out Your Curtain Pattern on Fabric - dummies

How to Lay Out Your Curtain Pattern on Fabric

By Mark Montano, Carly Sommerstein

When making curtains, placing your pattern properly on the fabric is an important step in making your panel come out right. Keep the following information in mind when laying out your pattern on the fabric:

  • Pretreat and iron your fabric before cutting or placing your pattern are vital steps

  • Laying the pattern on-grain (parallel to the selvage edges) is essential.

  • Pinning your pattern in place helps when it’s time to cut.

When you’re working with a fabric with a nap (a soft or fuzzy, raised texture), such as velvet, velveteen, or corduroy, make sure that all your fabric is facing the correct way when you place your pattern on it. Run your hand along the fabric’s length to ensure the nap for each piece of fabric feels smooth from top to bottom. If it’s rough or your hand meets resistance, you have the nap the wrong way.

If your fabric has a small-scale, all-over print, you don’t have to worry too much about matching the design from panel to panel. They’ll “blend” together if your print is petite. However, if you’ve chosen a print with a one-way design, that is, a print that only looks right going one way (for instance, a red rose with a stem), you also need to make sure that all your panels run the same way, so that the rose is pointing up, not down. The same goes with using horizontal stripes or plaids.

When you’re working with medium- or large-scale motifs on printed fabric that need to match from panel to panel, take the pattern repeats into consideration. Here’s a simple way to match patterns:

  1. Place two widths of fabric so that their right sides touch, aligning the selvages.

    Fold back the selvage on the top piece of fabric and adjust the fabric so that the patterns are matching.

  2. Using an iron, press back the folded selvage along the fold line.

  3. Unfold the selvage so it’s flat again and pin the two pieces of fabric together along the pressed line, so that the pins cross over the line.

  4. Gently turn the two attached pieces of fabric over to confirm that the patterns are matching.

  5. Stitch the seam, removing pins as you go.

    Don’t sew over the pins!

  6. Cut away the selvage edges on both pieces of fabric so that you have a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

For medium or large prints, be sure that your pattern repeats are consistent. Place your pattern at the same point on the print each time. For example, if you place the pattern for one panel 1 inch above the top of the red rose, make sure you do the same for each subsequent panels.