By Jessica Rhodes - home decorator and the owner of blog Park and Divisions
When renovating my bathroom, I knew having a full length shower curtain would make all the difference, and I knew I’d have to make it myself to get the perfect length. Custom curtains are so much fun because there are so many fabric options to choose from. I used Fabric.com to find a few options I loved, and ordered samples to try out in the space.
These were the samples I chose:
- Fabricut Caldwell Stripe Persimmon
- Ralph Lauren Home Amelot Ticking Linen Blue
- Schumacher Woodperry 100% Linen Brown
- Genevieve Gorder Flock Circa Linen Tigerlily
- Lacefield Designs Agave Linen Blend Basketweave Rosa
- Schumacher Bermuda Blossoms Linen Blend Snow
I ruled out the berry colored block print and the stripes immediately because the colors didn’t sing in the space. I loved the Schumacher floral stripe and large floral and the poppy red Genevieve Gorder print - I left them up in the bathroom for a few days to decide.
The two large-scale prints competed with the floor too much and became the main focal point of the space, which wasn’t what I was looking for from the shower curtain - there are lots of elements in the room that I wanted to stand out.
The Schumacher Woodperry Linen was the winner - the rich linen and subtle print enriched the wall color, complimented the large scale floor pattern, added layers and interest, but didn’t overpower the room.
To surround my shower, I needed three separate shower curtains - I did this instead of one really long shower curtain because there are three sections of the shower curtain rod divided by three connections to the ceiling.
I used the height and width of the shower curtain liners - 72”x72”, as a reference when deciding how long and wide I wanted my final shower curtains to be. The width of the liners - 72” - was perfect. They were able to shut comfortably and still had some volume. The length of the liners was about 8 inches short of floor length. So my final curtain size would need to be 72” wide by 80 “ long.
Then, I had to determine the number of yards I needed. Here is the drawing I made to figure that out.
First I looked at the width. The fabric came in a 52 inch width. I needed the finished curtain to be 72 inches wide, so I would need to connect two sections of fabric together to make that width. I allotted 2 inches for seams on each side of the 52 inch section - one inch for the side hem (folded over for a 1/2 inch hem) and one inch for where it would connect to the other piece of the panel.
That meant the other panel would need to be 24 inches wide, with 2 inches alotted for the seams - again, 1 inch where it would connect to the other piece of the panel and 1 inch for the side hem. So, I would have a 52 inch panel and a 24 inch panel and together, after hems and seams, it would be a 72 inch wide panel.
For the length, I had to figure out how many yards each width of the panel would need to be. I knew the panel needed to be 80 inches finished. I added 4 inches to the bottom for a nice, wide 2 inch hem once folded over. I usually put a 4 inch hem (8 inches of fabric alotted) for a curtain panel, but I didn’t want the extra weight here.
For the top, I alotted 2 inches, for a finished 1 inch hem. That would leave me room for the buttonholes to go in the top hem. So the total length needed to make an 80 inch curtain would be 86 inches. That comes to 2.4 yards.
I would need 3 full width 2.4 yard panels for the wide sections of each panel. I would need 2 more 2.4 yard sections to make the 3 narrow sections of each panel - if I split the full width of the fabric in half - and I’d have one narrow panel of 2.4 yards left over.
So 5 full widths of 2.4 yards comes to 12 yards of fabric total needed for this project.
Making a Full Length Shower Curtain
Cut the Length
To make the curtains, I started by rolling out the fabric and cutting the 5 lengths of 86 inches. I used a square to make sure my lines were straight before I cut - you can square it up to the selvage edge or to the stripe if your fabric has one.
Cut the Width
Then, it’s time to cut the widths off fabric. Three of the lengths are already at their required 52 inch widths. The other two lengths need to be cut to 24 inches each. Measure all along the fabric and cut the widths. You’ll end up with four 24 inch sections (you only need three).
Sew the Panel Sections Together
Now it’s time to sew each of the full 52 inch panel sections to the 24 width panel sections. Having a 1 inch seam allowance gives you a little room to play. I wanted my seam to be in the white section between the stripes so it would be less noticeable when I joined two widths together for one panel - like so:
Lay the panels right sides together, and figure out the spot on your fabric where it would be the least noticeable to have a seam.Pin the sections together near where the seam will be.
Sew the sections together — you should be able to see where you’re aiming for the seam to be through your fabric — that’s how I did it. If not, measure in and draw chalk lines where you need that seam to be so you have something to follow as you sew the seam.
Once the seam is sewn, open up the two sections and iron the two sides of the seam down flat on the wrong side of the panel. Then, sew down each side of the seam so it lays flat and doesn’t fray. The shower curtain liners will cover these seams.
Sew the Side Seams
Use a ruler or straight edge to fold the sides over 1 inch and press. Then, fold the hems under themselves for a 1/2 inch hem and press again. Stitch the hems closed.
Sew the Top and Bottom Seams
For the top hem, use a straight edge to fold the top over 2 inches and press. Then fold it under for a 1 inch hem and press again.
Fold the corners under as shown in the photo for a clean corner before sewing the hem shut.
For the bottom hem, use a straight edge to fold it over 4 inches and press. Fold under for a 2 inch hem and press again. Fold the corners under as with the top hem and press before sewing the hem shut.
I made my buttonholes 3/4 inches long because they were going on a thin hook. Make sure you make them big enough to fit over your hook.
If your finished curtain is the same width as your shower curtain liner, an easy way to figure out buttonhole placement is to line them up at the top and use the same placement as your liner grommets. I used math and small 3/4 inch paper markers to figure out my spacing because I wanted the spacing to be a little different than the liner grommets. Mark buttonhole placement and size with a pencil.
Your sewing machine should have a buttonhole foot and specific buttonhole settings.
Some also require you to thread the machine differently for buttonholes. Read your owners manual and practice on scrap fabric if you’re not comfortable creating buttonholes. Add buttonholes along the top of all panels.
And you’re done! Iron the fabric smooth and hang!