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How Much Fabric Do I Need For Curtains?

You’ve already fallen for a material and pattern. But now you’re wondering: how much fabric do I need for curtains? Before you reach for the fabric scissors, here’s a handy guide to get you started.

How do I get started when measuring for curtains?

How do I get started when measuring for curtains?

Before you even think about fabric, the first step is to get your pole or track fittings in position. As you’ll learn from this handy video guide, there’s an art to measuring up. Using a metal tape measure, fit your curtain track or pole 10-20cm above the window, and 15-30cm either side of it. When measuring the length of the pole, measure in-between the finials (ie. don’t include them).  

How much fabric do I need for the curtain drop?

How much fabric do I need for the curtain drop?

Curtain length is not cast in stone. Maybe you’re drawn to the vibe of stylish sill-length curtains. Or perhaps you prefer the ‘puddled’ look, with a flood of excess curtain fabric billowing over the floor below. There’s no wrong answer – but nothing should happen by accident. As such, it’s vital to unfurl the tape measure again before you order your curtain fabric, so you achieve your dream look and don’t waste money on material you won’t use. 

It's fairly common for full length curtains to sit just off the floor, which also allows for the curtains to hang nice and straight and generally keeps them off any potentially dirty floors1

After deciding what style you want your curtains to be, you must then decide on the curtain heading you want and whether you have a track or a pole, as this will determine where you start measuring from.

How to measure for pencil pleat curtains?

How to measure for pencil pleat curtains?

If you’re choosing to hang your pencil pleat curtains on a track, measure from the top of the track. This is so that your curtain will cover the track when drawn. If you’re choosing a pole, measure from the eye on the curtain ring to your finished drop. Your curtains will then hang beneath the pole.

If you require your curtains to hang from a different position on the track or pole then you will need to measure from that point to your finished drop. 

How to measure for eyelet curtains?

How to measure for eyelet curtains?

For eyelet curtains, measure from top of the pole to your finished drop and then add on 5cm. Eyelets are typically set 5cm down from the top of the fabric, so you need to allow for this. 

If we are making your eyelet curtains please ensure you have at least 5cm clearance above your curtain pole, if you don't please state so in the comments  box when ordering or get in touch with us.

How to measure for tab-top curtains?

How to measure for tab-top curtains?

For tab top or tie top curtains, simply measure from the top of the pole to your desired drop. Next, if you’re wondering how many widths of fabric you need for curtains – read on.

How many widths of fabric do I need for curtains?

How many widths of fabric do I need for curtains?

Curtains aren’t just flat sheets of fabric, and while this is sometimes a matter of personal taste, it’s usually determined by the curtain heading type that you’ll need (usually between 2 and 2½ times fullness to achieve an attractive look). 

Here's a list of the fullness you should use for each heading -

Pencil pleat / Gathered / Stand Up / Floppy top x 2 fulness (6" pencil pleat tape can be 2.5 for extra fullness)

Eyelet / Tab Top x 2 fullness

Double Pinch Pleat x 2.3 fullness

Triple Pinch Pleat x 2.5 fullness

Wave x 2.3 fullness

There’s a simple calculation to work out how much curtain fabric you need. First, multiply the track/pole width by your chosen fullness (eg. Pole width 150cm x 2.5 = 375). Next, divide that figure by the fabric width, which is typically 137cm (375 divided by 137 = 2.73). Then, round that up to the closest whole number to calculate how many widths you need (3). Finally, multiply the drop measurement by the width number to reveal how many metres of curtain fabric to order (175cm drop x 3 = 525cm – so I’d need to order 5.5metres of a plain fabric). 

If you’re choosing patterned fabric, you need to consider extra fabric you’ll need to match the pattern, depending on the size of the pattern repeat. You take the curtain drop and add the hem allowance for the choosen heading, then divide the pattern repeat into this total and round up.

Example - Curtain drop 220cm, hem 25cm (for pencil pleat). 220cm + 25cm = 245cm. Pattern repeat is 64cm. So you divide 245cm by 64cm = 3.8 repeats which you have to round up to 4. So each drop will need 4 x 64cm repeats = 256cm.

USE OUR CURTAIN & BLIND CALCULATOR ON EACH PRODUCT PAGE & IT WILL WORK IT OUT FOR YOU!

How flexible are you when I order curtain fabric?

How flexible are you when I order curtain fabric?

At Just Fabrics, we’ll never make you order more curtain fabric than you need, selling most of our gorgeous range by the half-metre and even offering a made to measure option for bespoke schemes. And rest assured, if you’re ever unsure how much fabric you need, our experts are always on-hand to talk you through, either on the phone or with our free Virtual Visit service that lets us assess your needs via video call. 

That said if you are making yourself it's always wise to add at least an extra pattern repeat to your total to give you some flexability and it allows you to start the pattern where you wish.

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