This post on making diy thermal curtains was originally published in January 2014 and updated in May 2017.
Almost two years ago, I made a set of insulated curtains for a window off of our kitchen. They were one of my first sewing projects, and they were fine. A bit small if you ask me, but I worked hard on them and used them proudly.
One of the things that I can’t stand about store-bought insulated curtains, is the assumption that if you want energy savings, you like really ugly and solid, boring colored fabric. And, also, you love to show the whole world that the back of your curtains are white, and lame. It is like wearing your “bloated days” underwear on the outside of your clothes. No thank you!
After learning a little bit more about sewing (just a bit…I’m still so (sew?) new to it), I set my sights on making some better diy thermal curtains for the kitchen window. I wanted them to be light blocking and insulated, as that part of the house gets the brutal part of the sun during the summer, and is above an uninsulated garage (brrrrr in the winter).
While at the fabric store, I sent Troy two pictures of fabric I liked, and he picked a grey geometric pattern. The blackout fabric was incredibly expensive, so I had to come up with a different plan. Instead, I used big scraps of thin quilt batting that I had leftover from previous quilts. It was really easy to work with, and I’m thrilled with the results.
DIY Insulated Blackout Curtains
-4 cuts of fabric that are equal in size
-2 cuts of thin quilt batting that is equal in size to the fabric
1) Iron your fabric, really, really well.
2) Cut four pieces of fabric that are equal in size. Lay one piece of fabric (right side up) over some quilt batting, being very generous so that there is excess batting on all sides of the fabric.
3) Pin the fabric on the batting, being super excessive with the pins. You want the fabric locked in tight and not moving around on you!
4) Pick a thread that is the exact shade of your fabric. In 5-8 spots around the middle of the fabric, sew a few stitches – making sure to back stitch to secure the fabric to the batting. Cut the excess threads.
5) Remove the pins from the fabric and batting (this will piss you off, because you just spent so much time putting them on, but trust me, m’kay?), and then lay another piece of fabric face down on top of the fabric and batting. The pretty (or “right”) sides of the fabric should be together. Pin heavily.
6) Sew a basic stitch around three sides of the curtain, leaving parts of one of the shorter sides unsewn, stopping the stitches about four inches from the end. In laymen’s terms, you’ll sew all the way around this whole thing, except for 4 inches leading up to one of the ends.
7) Remove the fabric from the sewing machine, and lay it on a flat surface. Cut the extra fabric off from around the side. On the side that is still unsewn, peel back the fabric, and cut the excess quilt batting off.
8) Turn the fabric rightside in. Then, iron all the edges, pressing carefully to get a crisp seam.
Side note: my friend bought me that iron for our wedding. We were roommates before Troy and I got married, and later were neighbors. She said she bought the iron so that I would stop using hers. Likely, since I used it a lot.
9) Using a hot iron and a spray bottle full of water, fold down one edge of the unsewn side, and iron a seam.
Secure with pins.
10) Sew the unfinished hemmed edges together.
You’re done! Don’t worry, I made another one too; I don’t have two different types of curtains. 🙂
Congrats! Now, you have diy thermal curtains to keep your house warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. And the best part is, you don’t have to show the world your bloomers. Unless you want to. Totally your call.