Monday, January 21, 2013

Bed Sheet Fold Top Curtains

In an attempt to save money where it is practical and reuse things that are otherwise just sitting in storage somewhere on our property, I've made my first set of curtains out of bed sheets. The bed sheet curtains are truly a green project:  they were cycled out of the Airport Hotel from which my mom retired, they were cut and made into table cloths for a friend's wedding, and now a few of them have been given a new life as our first set of living room curtains.

Shortly after I made these curtains, I used a search engine to find out what is the common name for this style.  I found images under the names "foldover curtains" and even "floppy top" curtains.  Then I came across an image of curtains that sell for $40-60 a pair that look so similar to the ones I made for free.  Here are the damask "floppy top" curtains from

I love this style.  Here's how I accomplished it on a tight budget:

1 - Pre-hemmed (and cut for picnic tables) Queen-sized bed sheets Already owned
1 - Sewing machine with pedal, bobbin, spool of thread, machine needle, scissors Already owned
2 - Curtain brackets, wall anchors, screws, and rod kit $16 x 2 = $32 (From Ross)
1 - Pen, drill, 3/32 and 1/4 drill bit Already owned
The amount I paid is based on pricing in Hawai'i. 

I paid $32 for two 90"-120" rods.  The curtains themselves were free.  
We plan to convert these single rods to double rods in the future using conduit straps and electrical conduit once we purchase a projector and need to make blackout curtains.

Current living room budget breakdown:
Just $205 left to spend on a coffee table, end table, pillows, and decor.  Here's to hoping we make it!


Installing a curtain rod kit:
Using a carpenter's square, I taped around the 6" mark of one end to act as a consistent guide for bracket holes.  I lined up the carpenter's square parallel to the window trim and guided it up until it touched the ceiling.  It shifted to the left as I took this picture while holding the bottom.

I then used a pen to mark where 6" would be.  I repeated this process on each side of the window trim, simply flipping the carpenter's square to face the opposite direction for the marks on the right hand side of the windows.  For the center bracket, I used the width of the carpenter's square and estimated the mid-point before I made a mark for later reference.

These are the bracket holes that allow the brackets to be screwed into the dry wall or wall stud.  I stood on my little stool again, held a bracket over my pen mark and traced the smallest holes or parts of the holes onto the wall.  I attempted to wield a camera, pen, and bracket to document this, but it was an utter fail.  :)

I then loosened the screws of the bracket rod holders so the curtains could project as far from the wall as possible.  I drilled holes into my marks in the wall with the 3/32 drill bit, just in case I hit a stud.  In the first set of two drill holes, I didn't, so I assumed it was safe for me to use the 1/4 drill bit throughout; I didn't run into any major problems here.  Phew!  I used a rubber mallet to tap in the provided wall anchors into the 1/4 holes and screwed the brackets into the wall anchors.  Again, I found it difficult to hold the camera while holding a bracket and drill against the wall, so I apologize for a lack of process photos here.
I assembled the rods so that the widest rods were at the ends, with the screw hole for the finial facing the left and right respectively.  The thinner rod I slid in between the wider rods, then I stood on my little stool again and struggled to place the rod into the bracket rod holders because my arms were now tired from trying to reach so high.  Haha, I am 5 feet tall and the rods are nearly 3 feet above me.

I screwed in the finials and called it a good day in gradual renovation world.
 Sewing Bedsheet Fold Top Curtains:
My mom and I sewed everything using this Kenmore sewing machine from the 80's.   It seems appropriate that this space from the 80's would be changed with the help of something that is its contemporary.
I had to change my curtain placement plan because the curtains post-friend's wedding were half as wide as I expected them to be.  Still, the steps for transforming them are the same.  First, my mom and I ripped the seams  for one end of the bedsheet.  We sewed the left and right seams, following the current hem and folded the top over 2 1/2" to allow room for the curtain rods.

Basically, we created a rod pocket, as pictured above, by ripping those seams, fixing the hem and folding the top over to create a loop or hole through which a rod could be pulled through.
Then, I cut a piece of another bedsheet (one that was cut even smaller to cover the metal picnic benches at our friend's wedding) to create the foldover curtain tops.  I simply hemmed all sides and attached it to the front of the "rod pocket bedsheet" to create the flap.  It seemed like the simplest way to use these bedsheets to create this curtain style without taking away from their length.

The finished project looks like this: a rod pocket curtain with a foldover flap attached.

This is the first curtain I have ever made, for this space or otherwise.  I love the crisp white, the whimsical and slightly feminine foldover curtain top, and the simple, yet romantic feeling I get when I look 3 feet above my head.  :)
I can't tell you how amazing it is to know that these curtains are completely ours, made by the hands of my mom and I, and given new life yet again.  Are you planning to make bed sheet curtains or do you have something that has lived different lives and served different purposes?


  1. Thanx sooo much!!! I had company coming and needed new life in the guest bedroom. These curtains are truly easy to make. Mine are out of white on white tablecloths from my son's wedding. They are not as airy, but give a crisp neat look to the room.

    1. Oh, I am so glad this was helpful to you! :)


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