How to Measure For Custom Panel Curtains

Are you interested in making your own curtains, but don’t even know where to start?  I’ve put together a simple guide to help you pick out the style and measure the amount of fabric needed for each panel.

Picking Your Curtain Style:

Start out by deciding what look you would like for your space.  The most common curtain with be your floor length curtains.

  1. Floor Length Curtains – Usually fall about 1/4″ to 1/2″ from the floor.  This a good length for curtains that will be opened and closed regularly.
  2. Breaking Curtains – Think of a man’s trousers hitting his shoes.  It gives a small crease where t will hit the floor.  Usually about 1″ longer than the distance you measured from the rod top to the floor.  This style works well for curtain panels that will NOT be opened and closed much.  This is an example of form, not function.
  3. Puddled Curtains – This will be your most elegant option, often used for a formal dining room.  The fabric creates a puddle on the ground.  Measure about four to eight inches more than the distance from the curtain rod top to the floor.  The more puddle, the more dramatic.

Calculating the Amount of Fabric:

Let’s do a math example to figure out the whole picture.  Oh yah, get your nerdy on…and then get creative!

My window measures 84″ from the top of my curtain rod to the floor.  I decide to make the floor length curtains, because my space will require a lot of opening and closing of the curtain.

Floor Length Curtain Calculation

Window Measurement = 84″
Subtract the Distance = -1/2″
Add your Bottom Hem = +4″
Add your top and bottom seam allowance = +1″
Add your top opening for curtain rod = +3″

Total Length of fabric needed = 91 1/2″

Tip:  I usually get a little more than I need for any project.  Remember to multiply this number by the number of panels needed.  And don’t forget your curtain liner.

Have any questions…leave a comment.

1 Comment

  • Olivia Nelson
    December 29, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    I like your idea on how floor length curtains are best for constant use. I would imagine that if you are looking for a more practical curtain it would be a good idea to use these curtains. I’m looking for curtains for my front room so I’ll have to consider different floor length ones for their functionality.


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