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How To - Camper Curtains
This How-To is presented to show how easy it is to copy a curtain. These are simple, rod pocket curtains, not drapes, not designer panels (though they could be!), and not pinch pleated or anything fancy like that. They're simple rectangle panels with room for a curtain rod at the top. Our challenge was this - my brother-in-law bought a camper. He washed the curtains that came with it and most of them disintegrated in the washing machine. I opened my mouth and said, "Oh, I can make more for you!" Well, as luck would have it, he took me up on it. And so, he purchased fabric and thread, and I set to figuring out how to make these work. I've made many curtains before and the process was essentially the same, except when you make curtains from scratch rather than copying an existing panel, you have a lot more measuring to do. Follow along and give this a try some time. Any questions? Feel free to email us and ask

First things first - Let's look at the old curtain that you're copying. In this case, it's a small camper curtain, so it's not too unwieldy. We're going to need four of these when all is said and done.

Notice the stained nature of the fabric; now you can see why they needed to be replaced. Take care to eyeball and even measure seams, especially those that have been turned under for a curtain rod to be inserted. Perfection is not the key, but coming really close is important.

Again, check and recheck seam lines and exactly what you are reproducing. Do the sides need to be turned under a lot or a little? What is the length of the completed curtain? Can I draw this without having to measure? (Yes!)

We have a canvas-like fabric to work with. You can use any fabric you like.

What tools do you need? For this simple project, a ruler (this one is 2" wide), a pencil or marking pen, and scissors. Not pictured is a box of glass head/bead head pins which you will want to have handy too.

Place the old curtain on the new fabric's wrong side. For simplicity, lay the old curtain right side matching wrong side of new fabric. I pinned the corners into place so it didn't shift while I was working with it.

Using the width of the ruler as your guide, mark 2" all the way around the old curtain to create a seam allowance. On the top seam, mark 2" and then use the ruler to mark 2" again, making a total of 4" for the top seam allowance. (You will use the first 2" mark on the top later.)

For this project, we used a pencil for a couple of reasons - it shows well on this fabric as a marking guide and it doesn't need to wash out as it will be inside the folded seam. If this had been a darker fabric, we might have used a white pencil that washes out with water.

Thread your sewing machine with complementary upper and lower colors.

Make sure your serger is ready with complementary thread. If you do not have a serger, replace all serger instructions with zig-zag on your regular machine. Serge all four edges of the fabric to provide a finished edge.

For side and bottom seams (hem), turn under serged edge, turn again (about a 1/4"-1/2" hem), and pin in place. Repeat this process after the next step - Pin/Sew/Pin/Sew/etc.

Sew with a straight seam in this order - right side seam from top to bottom and then left side seam from top to bottom. This will allow both side seams to be turned up in the hem.

Turn up the hem approximately 2" and turn this inside, creating a 1" hem (recall that we used a 2" wide ruler to create the seam line).

Turn top down approximately 2" and turn under approximately 1/4" for a finished seam at the bottom of the top piece. Pin in place.

Stitch 1/4" to 1/2" from the top fold from one side of the curtain to the other.

To create a pocket for the rod to go through to hang the curtain, stitch very close to the edge of the turned up hem on the top.

Repeat the steps necessary to complete however many panels you need and then hang these curtains. As noted, these small panels are for a camper with tiny windows, but the principles are the same for any curtain you are creating from an existing panel. Remember to be consistent in measuring, but don't be so exact that you get to the point that you are worried about measurements being perfect; no one is perfect! Be consistent in sewing methods. Use the right thread and the right tools. Use your imagination! Have fun. Email with questions ;-)

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