You know how challenging it is to find a good solution that doesn’t cost a fortune if you have French Doors. I’ll instruct you on how to make some beautiful and functional Simple French Door Curtains without spending a fortune.
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If you’re tired of the same old mini-blinds and sheers that only attach at the top and bottom of the window, you’re in luck.
Covering the windows in my french doors with a sheer or the door curtain panels that gather in the center would never work for me because I like to look out of them.
These French Door Curtains are easy to make for anyone who can sew a straight line.
Curtains are a great way to add a touch of elegance to a room, but they can also be quite costly, which is why you might find that making your own French door curtains is the best option.
As a newlywed couple on a tight budget, I sewed curtains out of the flat sheets that came with our bedding. Over the years, when money was tight, I would sew my own curtains to save us a few dollars.
Over the years, I have updated a few windows with low-priced curtain panels and valances. On other occasions, I sewed easy valances to conceal tab top drapes.
For my kitchen, I recently sewed lined curtains after being unable to find what I wanted in stores due to the size of my windows. In fact, I’ve made some very basic Drop Cloth Curtains for my outdoor space.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many ready-made curtain options for french doors, and those that do exist tend to be quite expensive. Without a lot of extra hardware on the door, I’m not willing to spend the money on custom-ordered curtains that open completely.
French door panels are already hard to come by, but the narrow sidelights only make the situation worse. So I did it myself, following some very simple instructions I had seen twenty years ago.
I’m thrilled to share my knowledge of making french door curtains with you.
A small commission (at no extra cost to you) may be earned by me if you make a purchase after clicking on a link in this post.
French Door Curtain Supplies
- If you don’t already have one, you should invest in a sewing machine (and this one is ideal for making basic curtains).
- This 4 foot long straight edge ensures accurate and precise cuts every time.
- Cutters for Fabrics
- Ten and a half yards of curtain material (or four ready-made curtain panels) for a double door with sidelights.
- Sticky pins for sewing
- Magnetic Rods for Curtains, 2 Pack, 9″
- Magnetic curtain rods, measuring 22 inches in length (cafe rods, if you have wood doors).
- Optional Fusible Interfacing
- Together, the 6′′ Sewing Gauge and the Seam Ripper (sold here) can help you fix any rips or tears in your seams.
How to make French Door Curtains
Your custom made French door drapes can be made to be either single or double sided. Double-sided is the way to go if you want to be able to open them or if you need them to filter light. They’ll look even better hanging with that added weight.
It can get pricey if you’re making double-sided drapes because most drapery fabrics are 54 inches wide. The price per yard would be around $16. You’ll end up spending a lot of money even if you just use a basic backing.
Pre-made curtain panels are an excellent option for creating a one-of-a-kind look. I purchased two sets of ready-made curtain panels (four panels in total) because they are 54 inches wide. It cost $29.99 per set or $60 for a total of 54″ wide by 84″ high.
Fabrics come in a wide range of styles, colors, and price points, all of which can be found on the internet. However, I prefer to see and touch my fabric before buying it, so I do most of my shopping locally.
Before you stress over whether or not your front and back patterns match, think about how much natural light your french doors get. It didn’t take me long to hang the curtain panels I bought because of how perfectly the pattern lined up. As an alternative, you could use a solid color as the background.
How do French Door Curtains Operate?
My double-sided curtain panels for the French doors look great both open and closed. How I used to open and close them, as well as how I do so now, are described in greater detail below.
You can see the first set of patio door curtains I ever made and how they worked down below. Find out how I’m currently opening them later in the post.
I whipped these up by following a magazine tutorial. One of the examples given in the article was to roll up the curtains and secure them with a ribbon over the rod.
My version of the illustration features a loop of sewed trim that was inspired by theirs. The loop dangled off to the side when they were fastened (it is visible on the left side of the image below).
Although they looked fantastic rolled up, we found that folding them over the rod a few times also did the trick.
When it comes to french door rods, the vast majority are the screw-in variety. If you have steel French doors like I do, however, you may be able to use a magnetic option.
Magnetic curtain rods were the perfect solution because I didn’t want to drill holes in the steel doors. Now that there are more color and texture options, I think I’ll go with the black ones the next time.
Since I no longer had my magazine clipping, when I was ready to make a new set of french door curtains I simply repeated the same basic instructions I remembered from the article.
Instructions for sewing French Door Curtains
Step 1: Determine window dimensions.
Following are the dimensions of my reference door, a French door with sidelights that is a standard height.
Depending on the width of your French Door windows relative to mine, you may need to make adjustments to these directions.
Two sidelights measuring 65-3/4 inches high and 9 inches wide
Four (4) Panels, 72″ High x 11-1/2″ Wide
Depending on the design, you should be able to cut these four pieces from a single curtain panel or width of fabric.
Two Doors Measuring 22″ Deep and 65-3/4″ High
Reduce four (4) panels to 72″ in height and 24-1/2″ in width
Before you start cutting your fabric, be sure you’ve carefully read the instructions and inspected the images.
How to Measure for French Door Curtains
Each window’s height is now 6-1/4 inches and the width is now 2-1/2 inches. If you want an accurate measurement, you need to include the exterior window casing in addition to the glass.
With the added fabric, you can cover both the rod pocket and the gap at the top of the window frame. As a bonus, this allows the curtain to fall just below the sill.
Before you hem and sew the top rod pocket, the length can be altered to your preference. Each completed panel on my standard-height French door measures about 67 inches in height.
Add a total of 4′′ to the length of the panel if you plan on sewing it so that it can be attached to rods at the top and bottom of the window.
Step 2: Pin folded fabric or pre-made curtain panels together.
Take it panel by panel and follow these steps as you go.
- You can use pins to align the pattern on patterned fabrics.
- Use the ruler and pencil to mark the fabric for each panel according to the measurements given above.
- Do not cut your panels without first pinning all of the edges.
Step 3: Cut curtain panels to size.
- Carefully follow the below lines with a pair of fabric shears and cut along your drawn line.
If you need to cut a lot of curtain panels, just follow these instructions. First, we’ll interface the hem, and then we’ll sew them together.
Step 4: Apply interfacing to curtain hem area.
In order to make the finished panels hang straight, interfacing can be used to stiffen the bottom edge. You can choose to skip this step if you so desire. No changes are made to any of the other directions.
- Get some Fusible Interfacing and cut it to a length equal to the width of the panel you’re working on, minus 1-1/4 inches. Interfacing measuring 2 inches by 23 and a quarter inches would be used for the door’s larger window.
- Attach it to the panel by ironing it on one side only, along the bottom edge. Put it dead center, like so:
Don’t be misled by the below image’s poor demonstration. Simply taking the photo served to illustrate that the interfacing is narrower than the fabric panel and therefore needs to be ironed to the bottom edge.
- Fold the fabric down 2 inches after the interfacing has been fused to it, then measure in 3/8 inch from the edge and cut the “corner” at an angle. After the seams have been sewn, the excess fabric in the corners can be trimmed away in this way.
Step 5: Sewing your curtain panels.
- Two of the long sides should have a standard 5/8-inch seam, while the short side with the interfacing should have a 2-inch seam.
- Don’t forget to skip stitching the opposite short end (the one without interfacing).
- Flip the panel over and pry out the corners with the handle of a wooden spoon or another blunt, pointed object.
- Straighten the seams with your fingers and an iron to make neat, even edges.
- Top stitch the freshly pressed edges with your sewing machine, starting 5/8″ from the long edges and 2″ up from the bottom edge (with the interfacing).
The optional interfacing has been inserted between the hem and the bottom two inches. The stitches at the bottom hem are barely visible to the left of the needle in the image below.
Step 6: Sewing the curtain panel rod pockets.
- The raw top edge should be turned down by 5/8 inches before being ironed. The opening of the rod pocket begins here.
- Putting the Gauge to Use in Your Sewing Projects create a pocket for the rod by cutting away an additional 1-1/2′′ (more or less, depending on the rod you select). Tackle every inch or so with a pin.
- You can make a pocket for a curtain rod by folding up the top edge 1/4″ and topstitching it in place.
- To complete the process, repeat this step with the remaining curtain panels.
Step 7: Hanging your new DIY French Door Curtains.
After finishing the stitching, insert the magnetic curtain rod into the pocket and secure it to the top of each window in your french doors. Insert the rod into the pocket and hang from the curtain rod hooks, or use attached rods.
You can use a standard curtain rod that screws into your door, but I find that the magnetic rods work best with my steel doors. Use sheet metal screws if your french doors are metal.
And that’s it; you’re finished! Depending on your proficiency with a sewing machine, you can whip one of these up in a couple of afternoons. How much money will you save by making these instead of buying them?
When they’re closed, they look like this. Thanks to the sun peeking in, I know I perfectly aligned the pattern from front to back.
How to Open French Door Curtains
All you have to do to unveil your new French door drapes is fold the hem over the rod and then fold it over again. When I need the curtains to be even less obstructive, I’ll sometimes fold them in thirds.
The image below is a closeup of my open curtain panels for my french doors. In the summer, I only open the center pair of curtains, but in the winter, I throw all of them wide open.
For a while now, I’ve been experimenting with different ways to fold the curtains to create a layered roman shade appearance, and I’ve come to really enjoy the results.
Are you up for the challenge of sewing your own french door curtains? Believe in yourself; I have faith in your abilities. Even though I like the way mine look more when they’re open than any I’ve seen online, you can also buy them at Walmart if you don’t want to sew them or don’t have the time.
Tip: When mounting panels outside, hold each panel up with one hand and tie it around the rod just below the highest point. After installing them, use clips or hooks to keep them firmly fastened to your french door frames.
You’ll need a rod long enough to hold the weight of both curtains and open them up, and a curtain rod mount that can hold the weight of both curtains and prevent them from falling when the door is opened. Curtain hooks or clips will allow you to secure the drapes to your french door frames.
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You can get gorgeous curtains for your French doors without going into debt, as I hope to have demonstrated in this guide.
Have fun with your needle and thread!