Home » DIY Tutorials » DIY Sewing » Decorate My Home, Part 20 – Gathered Top Panel Curtains with Blackout Lining

Decorate My Home, Part 20 – Gathered Top Panel Curtains with Blackout Lining

Our little boy and girl share a room.

This won’t last forever…….but it’s especially nice while they’re small and we’re limited on space in this rented house.
Our little girl is in a toddler bed and our little guy is in a crib.
So at least one is contained so that there isn’t too much havoc going on at bedtime.
But because they’re sharing…….I’ve been trying to combine femininity with masculinity in their room.  
Which is sometimes hard.
But the room decor has all started with this cheery print that I used for this window panel.
(fabric found at Ikea a few months ago)
With a fun little gathered top panel.
 That’s just as cute bunched to one side of the curtain rod.
 It adds great texture to the top of the curtain panel.
Are you needing to cover a bare window??
(These measurements are made to cover our narrow window that is 35 x 70 inches.)
Start with a piece of fabric that is wide enough to cover your window, plus some added width so that you can gather the top section.  Also, be sure to add an extra 2 inches to the bottom for a seam allowance. (My large piece was originally 60 x 81 inches…….including the green at the top.)
I decided to have a large green panel at the top but you could keep your curtain all one color too.  But my top green panel is 13 inches tall.  I attached it right to the floral fabric, finished off the raw edges, and then ironed the seam flat, with the raw edges laying upwards.  (And then the whole entire piece is 60 x 81 inches, like mentioned above.)
Then I made marks with pins that I would later use as a guide to make my gathers in this top section.  I made my first row of pins about 1/2 an inch from the top…..then the next 6 rows about 2 inches apart until I reached the bottom of the green section.  (You could also use chalk to draw your horizontal lines, if it’s hard to eyeball your pins as you’re sewing.)
I made large basting stitches all the way across the green section (using the gathering technique here), connecting each row of pins, and making sure to not back-stitch at either end.  And the very bottom stitch was actually right below where the green and white fabric meet.  And by that, I mean just right next to that seam, but on the lower side (white fabric) of the seam.  (I did this to eliminate the seam from puckering weird later on.)  Then I pulled each top string and gathered up my fabric a bit……until the green section was about 40 inches wide.
I made sure each gather was even with the one next to it and made sure that the whole section was 40 inches across.  Then I tied knots in each end of each gather (tied the bottom string to the top string), to keep it from pulling or loosening up as I went on to the next step.
Then I folded under the entire side of both sides of the curtain, a 1/2 inch……..
…..then another half inch.  Then pinned it in place.  All the way down each side of the curtain.
Then I sewed each side in place.
Next I cut a piece of blackout lining that was slightly smaller than my curtain.  Mine was 38 1/2 inches by 74 inches.  (I found this stuff at Hancock Fabric, in the clearance section several months ago.  It almost feels like vinyl and doesn’t fray at all or need to be hemmed in any way.)
Then I layed my curtain right on top of the lining…..
………and lined up the very top edge, letting the curtain hang over about a 1/2 inch on each side.
I pinned the top in place and the sides.  Then I pinned several pins all throughout the the panel, to keep the lining from moving around as I sewed during my next step.
Then I attached the curtain to the lining and sewed right on top of each gathered seam.
Here are all 7 finished seams, that attached the lining nicely to the curtain .
Here’s a view from the back.
**And this is the only section that I attached the lining to the curtain.  From here, I just let it hang and didn’t bother sewing the sides or bottom.  Maybe it’s not quite the professional way to do it, but it looks great.
Then I cut a narrow strip of fabric that was 2 x 41 inches.  I folded over each end of the strip a 1/2 inch and ironed them flat.  Then I pinned the strip (with the folds facing outwards) to the top of the curtain, pinning the raw edges together.
Then I sewed right along the top, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Then I folded the strip up and ironed it flat.
Next, I turned over the curtain and folded the strip down a 1/2 inch……..
………..then another half inch, and pinned it in place, all along the top of the curtain.
Then I sewed along the top, making sure to catch the back fold under the needle.  Then sew along each side of the strip, closing off each end of the strip and curtain.
Then cut a piece of fabric that is 4 x 36 inches, sew it into a long tube with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, turn right side out, and press with the seam along the back.  (Click here for more help turning a tube right side out.)
Then cut the tube into 6 equal pieces, that are all 6 inches long.
Then fold each end over (towards the inside seam) a 1/2 inch……..
…….then attach it to the top of the curtain, down about a 1/2 inch from the top.  Pin it in place.
Then fold the back of it under a half inch as well and pin it about a 1/2 inch from the top also.
Do the same thing with the other 5 pieces.
Then sew each loop onto the top edge of the curtain, using two seams to make it nice and sturdy.

 Then hem the bottom of the curtain by folding under an inch, then another inch, then sewing it in place.
Iron all edges and seams flat.  And then steam the top gathers a bit, to finish it off nicely.
Then hang your curtain proudly.
What a fun little addition to our little toddler nursery.
And the blackout lining really helps block out a lot of the light.  (And this picture was taken mid-day with direct sunlight coming in,and the room is still pretty dark.  The camera is picking up more light than was actually showing through.)
Oh, and there’s also a liner that I placed at the top of the window to block out the extra light from above……in case you have the same type of window.
More on the toddler room soon…….
Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. liz bradley says:

    hi! i just bought some fabric and blackout fabric to make curtains today! someone told me i may need a specific needle to sew these? what did you use?


  2. Cami says:

    Okay I have a question. I recently made curtains for my sons room, which is the same type of window as this one, with the curved top. You said you have some kind of blackout liner sticker for the top? Where did you find that? Please please please help, I am so tired of waking up at 5:30. (We just moved and his old room didn't have the open window, and with his blackout curtains he would sleep in another 1 1/2-2 hours than he is right now!) Thanks! bcjturner at gmail dot com

  3. Pamela Hansen says:

    I have never sewed before and I got a new machiene for Christmas. I wanted to start out doing something cute and fun to amke my home more beautiful. When I found this curtain I knew it was it. I made two pannels for my daughter's room and they turned out great! Thanks for being so detailed and concise in your explinations. If a beginner like me could do it than anyone can! Thanks!

  4. Mary says:

    very cute! We get an IKEA soon!

  5. Carri says:

    Ashley – thank you SO much for your tutorial. I'd been trying to figure out how best to make some curtains for small windows with blackout lining that weren't so stiff. This was the perfect solution! Check out my 'copycat' project at

  6. Cecily says:

    This post inspired me to make my son some curtains. I love being able to fuel my creative desires, and your blog helps me do that so much! Thank you, thank you!

  7. Emily says:

    I love it! The gathered top makes it more interesting than your standard curtain. I wish I lived closer to an ikea.

  8. Heather - Dollar Store Crafts says:

    These are so pretty. I love the gathered top – such a nice touch that really makes the curtains. Thanks for the great idea!

  9. Kelly says:

    I don't know how you continuously come up with these great ideas and tutorials! You are simply amazing. Thanks for this one!

  10. Jenn @ Delicious Ambiguity says:

    Hi! Just wanted to let you know that I have given you The Versatile Blogger Award because I think that you have a great blog.

    Have a great day!
    My Delicious Ambiguity

  11. Chris says:

    I gave your blog an award! Come by and check it out!

  12. Serena says:

    So pretty curtain! I loved it

  13. Andrea and Casey says:

    Such a great tutorial! I love the curtains! I will be having a boy in 4 months and my 2 year old girl and him will be sharing a room too. I'm needing some great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Sela says:

    You make it look so easy! Thanks :) It makes me a little less intimidated to try. I've been wanting to make a curtain similar to this for my nursery for about three years now, I even have the fabric ;) Can't wait until summer is a little less crazy and I have some time to try it!

  15. Jamie says:

    Fantastic! I love these. I can't wait to see the rest of the room! We are moving in a few weeks and my 1 year old boy and 3 year old girl will be sharing a room so I need gender neutral ideas! It's like you read my mind haha! :)

  16. Ashley says:

    For the upper window, I just cut out a piece of foam poster board that was exactly the same size. (I placed a piece of butcher paper up there first and traced the size of the window and used that to trace on the foam board.) Then I glued a piece of the blackout lining onto both sides of the foam poster board and trimmed it to fit perfectly. Then I just placed it up in the window snuggly. (Make sure that you cut the foam board big enough to fit in there nice and snug.) Hope that helps.

  17. Gwen says:

    will you pretty please show how you did the upper window? We have 4 of them in various rooms of the house – 2 being bedrooms. It's a pain in the bum!

  18. AnnaRaz says:

    Love this blog! I have a similar well-lit room that my small girls share. After tons of research and not a lot of money to spend, I used a piece of dense black fabric and sewed velcro to the top of it and stuck it directly to the top of the window behind the blinds (using adhesive velcro on the window, you can't even see it). I also have a set of blinds and then cute hand-made curtains on top of that. With all three, there is very little light coming through the window. Peaceful nap times and early bed times all around!!! Just wanted to share this in case someone else wants to pull their hair out like I did. Cheers!

  19. Kimberly says:

    Very, very cute! And I had no idea there was fabric at Ikea!

  20. Gabriela Abril says:

    is really cute!! A very good job :-)

  21. Jac(lyn) says:

    I spent the first two years of my life in a bedroom I shared with my brother, who's two-and-a-half years older. (Today's his 29th birthday!) My mom decorated the room in primary colors, with hearts on my side and trucks on his. I'd prefer hearts on one side and stars on the other, personally, but lots of simple shapes could work.

  22. The Noalls says:

    …and I have to say, especially in the first picture of the curtain hanging at the window, the light around it makes it look like a heavenly visitor is about to come in! :)

  23. The Noalls says:

    That's very cute. I LOVE blackout lining and have it in both our and our little boy's bedrooms. By the way, the woman at JoAnn gave me a tip about it: she said to only ever attach THREE sides of it to another fabric, and leave one open, because the sun will eventually warp it a little bit and it will make the curtain or whatever it's sewn to pucker. Hope that's helpful!

  24. Mandy @ mintnclandycreate says:

    Wow! Love that curtain panel. Thanks for showing us the tutorial on the gathers too. Just might try this out!

  25. Jessica I says:

    I look forward to see what you will do with the rest of the room. I am in the same situation where my 3 yr old son and 5 month old daughter will be sharing a room due to lack of space. I have been having a hard time deciding on how to decorate the room. So to see what you do would be great!

  26. Nana's Fun Stuff says:

    Oh that turned out so cute!! Great tip for the blackout lining too. Love it!

  27. Megan Hoover says:

    I'm a fairly new follower of your blog and I am just so totally impressed with your photos, the care with which you document your process, the cleverness of your projects and your very impressive sewing skills!! Thank you for sharing your ideas!! LOVE them!!

  28. kraftenkrazy3 says:

    Hey talented lady! Love the tutorial, and everything else you do!!! I gave you an award! Come check it out.

    The Sew*er, The Caker, The CopyCat Maker

  29. Erin says:

    I love it so much! As always, thank you for sharing your projects.

  30. ificould says:

    Loving the gathered top.. featured this tutorial today.

  31. Jenni says:

    that curtain is awesome, not too girly, not too boy!

    we have a rather large house, kids have their own bedrooms, with a jack and jill bath in between, yet they still choose to sleep together. i know this won't last forever, but it is sweet. lola says she is too scared to sleep in her room, so she crawls in with her brother! he is her knight in shining armor right now.

  32. Kimberlee says:

    That came out great! I love it!

  33. Aimee says:

    What did you use for the lining at the top of the window? My daughter has a window like this and I've been struggling with it forever trying to figure out how cover it up.

  34. Courtney says:

    this turned out very cute! love it!

  35. Rebecca says:

    I love this tutorial! We are re-doing my room later this summer, and I so want to make these!

  36. Jess says:

    I absolutely adore this curtain. The design, fabric, everything!

  37. Jill@Barnes Yard says:

    So, so, so cute! I LOVE the fabric!

  38. Snapshotsofhappiness says:

    Very nice! I love the blackout lining idea! :)

  39. Lora says:

    i love that fabric! so cheery. makes me smile :)

  40. Cadiedid says:

    I love this! Thank you for another great tutorial! I might have to try this for my little one's rooms.

  41. Cerise says:

    Beautiful curtains! I LOVE the fabric! Can't wait to see what the rest of the room looks like!

  42. Amber Cullum says:

    Thanks for the blackout lining tip. I would like to make curtains for my son's room, but have done little research so I wasn't sure what the black out lining looked or felt like.

  43. Smith Family says:

    What a darling curtain! I always love the fabric at IKEA :)

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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