Easy DIY: How to Make a Custom Shower Curtain
Feb 18, 2011
I hate off-the-shelf shower curtains. I've never had one that I really liked. They tend to be too short, too flimsy, and either boring or garish. The price always seems too high considering the typical cheap-looking fabric. Not to mention the "over-theming" of the American bathroom!
So here's my solution. Our 8x8 guest bath has a typical shower stall with 9-foot ceilings. I wanted to hang a longer shower curtain higher than usual to make the proportions more pleasing. I figured to hang the curtain I would need to install buttonholes (easy, but a little boring) or grommets. Installing grommets requires an expensive grommet punch. You can find cheap grommet tools, but they don't work! I tried and returned one. I didn't want to buy the good one because I knew I would rarely use it.
Then I thought about alternative drapery hardware. I realized I could add some personality without doing a thing to my hemmed curtain by using clip-on drapery rings (like these, on clearance, $4 for 7!). So here's the very simple procedure for making a shower curtain that's just right, on a budget.
The rod peeking out from behind on the right holds a plastic liner and is positioned at the standard shower rod height. My custom rod is installed about 12 inches higher.
Cafe rings with clips are by Umbra.
A wide hem at the bottom adds weight to make the curtain hang better.
How to Make a Custom Shower Curtain
- Measure the width and height of the shower opening. For a full curtain, double the width. For a less full curtain, multiply by 1.5. For height, determine where the rod will be hung and aim for a curtain that's about 1 inch off the floor. Then add 8 inches for top and bottom hems.
- Convert the measurements to yardage. You need to know the width of your fabric to do this. Drapery fabrics often come in widths up to 96". If you're working with typical 54" home decor fabrics and your width is greater than about 52" (1" for each side hem), you'll need to seam pieces together. (This looks best when narrow pieces are sewn to each side rather than placing a seam down the middle.) Determine the number of yards needed for the length, then double that number if you need any additional width. Triple it if you need more than twice the width.
- Choose fabric. Don't cheap out! There are plenty of places to find gorgeous designer remnants for under $10 a yard. In the upholstery world, a remnant usually means under 10 yards. I got this Herman Miller upholstery fabric from Winter Beach Modern. They specialize in modern designer upholstery fabric, and their prices are steeply discounted. I wanted a crisp, folded look so a heavier fabric made sense. I also really like New Toto Fabric.
- Cut your fabric. If you need no additional width, skip to step 6. To create a wider curtain, cut one piece full width to the length measurement determined in step 1. Divide the additional width needed by 2. Cut two pieces to this width and the same length as the first piece. Consider matching the pattern. It's not required but it will look more professional if you do.
- Place a narrow piece along one edge of the large center piece, right sides together, and sew a sew with 5/8" seam allowance. Repeat on the other side.
- Hem the long sides. If this is a selvage edge, simply fold over 1 inch and stitch. If it is a raw edge, fold over 1/2", then fold another 1/2" and stitch.
- Hem the top, folding over 1", then another inch.
- Hem the bottom. Use a wider hem here for a professional look. Fold over 1 inch, then 5 more inches and stitch at this line 5 inches from the bottom.
- Press if desired. I wanted a folded look, so I pressed folds about every 6 inches into my curtain.
- Attach drapery rings. Use the style that clips to fabric, like these.
- The only tricky part with this method is that you must remove the shower rod to hang the curtain, since you're using drapery rings instead of open shower curtain hooks. Take it down (super-easy with a tension rod), remove the rubber end cap, and slide the rings onto the rod. Hang the rod back up and you're done!
As DIY projects go, this one is very easy and the results have major impact and originality. It's a nice way to bring a luxurious textile into a room that can sometimes be cold and lacking in texture.
Need help choosing colors or fabric for a room in your home? Or maybe you have a bunch of nagging design problems and you'd like to get them all answered in a short session. No job is too small for me! I can help online or in your home in the Traverse City area. Just email me! —Diane
TAGS: how to make a shower curtain custom deluxe sew sewing diy homemade handmade bathroom fabric ideas clip-on drapery rings bed bath beyond winter beach modern fabrics new toto stores
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