Instead of blinds, I use curtains. Making curtains is a fairly easy task, and a good project for beginners, because all you have to be able to do is cut and sew in a straight line. Even the straight line has some leniency, if you use a thread that blends well with your fabric.
The upside to making curtains is you can choose a print to match the decor of your home, so the possibilities are endless. It’s also much cheaper than having custom curtains made by an interior designer.
But making curtains can still be pretty expensive, usually more so than buying curtains premade from a store. It can take a lot of fabric for long curtains — usually between two and three yards per panel for ones that fall to the floor.
There are some ways to cut the cost a little. First, determine what kind of fabric you want. A sheer fabric will be much cheaper than a heavy-weight material. But heavy-weight curtains help block cold air from coming through your windows, which helps keep heating costs down during the winter.
If you just need a basic cotton or cotton blend, try looking at flat sheets. You can find a variety of designs and colors, and if they are the right length, you might not even need to hem them. For most windows, you should be able to get two panels per sheet.
The width of each panel should be about equal to the width of the window, so when you have two panels over a window, they have some ruffle to them. If your window width is 24 inches, each panel for that window should be 20-24 inches wide.
Then determine what length you want, and add more for the hems. I added two inches to the top hem, which will hold the curtain rod, and five inches to the bottom, which gives the curtain more weight so it hangs well.
Then it’s as easy as ironing and sewing. Most fabric comes in widths of 42-45 inches, which should be plenty for one panel. The edges along the length of fabric are called selvage; it’s woven so it doesn’t come unraveled, unlike the width of the fabric, which will come unraveled if it isn’t properly hemmed. This means that if you want, all you need to do is fold the selvage edge once to the back and sew it in place. Or, if the selvage edge doesn’t bother you, you don’t have to sew it at all. This is common practice with sheers.
I won’t go into details on how to sew, but remember, measure twice, cut once — you can’t (easily) add length once you’ve cut the fabric.
Deirdre Long also blogs about her adventures in crafting at www.sewonsewon.blogspot.com.