Cafe Curtains

A double layered cafe curtainCafe curtains are an economical way of screening the lower part of a window to give privacy. They can be used in any room of the home but are ideal in the kitchen.

Rods, decorative poles or curtain wires can be used to hang cafe curtains and they are positioned inside the window recess, either halfway down the window or at the height of a glazing bar.

For a layered look, matching cafe curtains can be made with 1 positioned at the top of the window, to represent a valance, and 1 positioned halfway down the window. They can be made to overlap, giving total privacy or the top one can be made shorter to leave a gap in the centre to allow light into the room.

The instructions below are for an unlined style of cafe curtain which can be made in lace, sheer or lightweight fabric with a fullness ratio of between 1.5 and 2.5 depending on your own preference.


The rod, pole or wire is slotted through a casing to gather the curtain. It is positioned 1" (2.5 cms) down from the top fold forming a frill along the top edge.


Image refers to colour code key for the diagrams


  • Fabric.
  • Matching thread.
  • Rod, pole or curtain wire to fit inside the window recess.

Measuring and Estimating Fabric Quantities:

  1. Position the rod, pole or curtain wire at the required height and fix.
  2. Measure the width, inside the window recess. Multiply this by the fullness ratio and divide by the width of the fabric to be used. Round up to the next whole number. This is the number of widths of fabric needed.
  3. To calculate the cut length, measure from the top of the rod, pole or wire to the required length [usually 0.5" (12 mm) up from the window sill]. To this measurement add 6" (15 cms) for hem allowances. If patterned fabric is used, extra will be needed for pattern matching.
  4. Multiply the number of widths by the cut length to calculate the amount of fabric required.

Making a Cafe Curtain with a Cased Heading:

  1. Cut the fabric to the required size. If more than 1 width is required, join widths together with a French seam and matching the pattern where necessary. Position a full width in the centre with equal part widths at the outside edges of the curtain.
  2. Turn in a double 0.5" (12 mm) hem down both side edges and pin.
  3. Turn up a double 1" (2.5 cms) hem along the bottom edge and pin.
  4. Mitre the bottom corners and stitch the side and bottom hems.
  5. Turn down 1" (2.5 cms) along the top edge and press the fold with your fingers.
  6. Turn down another 2" (5 cms) along the top edge and pin.
  7. Stitch the top hem in place close to the bottom fold.
  8. Image refers to steps 8 and 9 of making a cafe curtainWork another row of stitches across the width, 1" (2.5 cms) down from the top fold and press. The position of this line of stitches can be adjusted to accommodate the diameter of the rod, pole or wire.
  9. Thread the rod, pole or wire through the casing between the 2 rows of stitches, gathering the curtain as you go.
  10. Adjust the gathers evenly and hang the curtain.

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