Hourglass Curtains

Image of a finished hourglass curtainA flowing sheer curtain covering the glass on a door can be a nuisance as it tends to get caught when the door is used.

Adding a second rod at the lower edge solves this problem but when it is tied in the centre with a bow of ribbon you can create a focal point from an ordinary door.

To achieve the best results allow 2 – 2.5 times the width of the rod and cut the top and bottom of the fabric on a curve.

If using a lace fabric with shaped or scalloped selvedges, adjust the fullness ratio to accommodate the width of the fabric.

They are also ideal for covering French or patio doors and windows. However, if the door or window is very wide, I would suggest making more than 1 curtain across the width.

Image refers to colour code key for the diagrams


  • Sheer, net or lightweight fabric.
  • 2 net rods or wires.
  • Matching thread.
  • Ribbon, approximately 2" (5 cms) wide and long enough to tie in a bow around the waist of the curtain, approximately 1 metre.

Measuring and Estimating Fabric Quantities:

  1. Attach the rods approximately 1" (2.5 cms) above and below the glass.
  2. Measure the vertical length between the rods. Call this CL (centre length).
  3. Mark the glass half way between the rods.
  4. Image refers to measuring for a hourglass curtainDetermine the width of the "waist" and mark the glass.
  5. To calculate the outer length of the curtain measure the curve from the end of the top rod to the end of the bottom rod curving the tape in to the end of the marked "waist". Call this OL (outside length).
  6. To calculate the cut length, to the outside length (OL) add 8” (20 cms) for hem allowances.
  7. To calculate the number of widths required, measure the length of the rod or wire and multiply by the fullness ratio. Divide this figure by the width of the fabric to be used and round up to the next whole number.
  8. To calculate the amount of fabric required, multiply the cut length by the number of widths.

Making the Hourglass Curtain:

  1. Cut the fabric to OL plus 8" (20 cms) for hem allowances, this includes a 1" (2.5 cms) frill at the top and the bottom edges. If more than one width is required, join widths together with a French seam. Position a full width in the centre with equal part widths added at each side.
  2. Image refers to making an hourglass curtainTo neaten the sides, if necessary, turn under a double 0.5" (12 mm) hem and stitch.
  3. Fold the curtain in half width ways right sides together.
  4. Measure a distance equal to OL minus CL divided by 2, down from the top along the folded edge and mark.
  5. Draw a curve from this mark to the outer top corner.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the lower edge. The distance between the marks should equal CL plus 8” (20 cms).
  7. Cut along the curves at the top and the lower edges.
  8. To sew the casings turn under 1" (2.5 cms) and then another 2" (5 cms) at the top and the lower curves and pin.
  9. Work a first row of stitches 1" (2.5 cms) in from the fold and another row of stitches 2" (5 cms) from the fold, following the curve. Do this at both the top and the lower edges. Press.
  10. Thread the net rods between the rows of stitches and adjust the pleats evenly.
  11. Tie a ribbon bow around the centre of the curtain to form the "waist".

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