Cindy Taylor

Cindy is the owner of Dolman & Taylor specialist curtain and blind makers. She has over 15 years of experience, curtain making, blind making, working with fabrics and making soft furnishings. In the videos she clearly explains and demonstrates the methods and techniques used in her workroom .
How to make a curtain - by Sew-Helpful. Full Tutorial, FREE online instructions and advice from a curtain making workroom. Make your own beautiful soft furnishings, it's easier when a professional shows you how.

Lined Pencil Pleat Curtains

Learn how to make Pencil Pleat curtains the way they are made in a professional workroom.

This tutorial includes

  • Full Written Instructions
  • 16 Videos
  • Diagrams
  • Tips
  • Definitions
  • Example Calculations
  • Tools Required
  • Materials Required
  • Extra Help

We also cover how to deal with a patterned fabric as well as plain fabric when making the curtain. These instructions have been developed by Cindy Taylor an experienced curtain maker. There are tips included and with the benefit of her experience you will avoid common mistakes that can be made and get a professional finish.

You will not be using the "Bag Method" to make the curtains, which you will probably find in most online tutorials. You are taught the way a professional curtain maker would make your curtains. It's NO more difficult than the "Bag Method", but your curtains will have a better finish and will be weighted at the bottom so they hang well.

The other advantage of making them this way is that it lays the foundations for learning how to make more advanced interlined curtains and hand pleated curtains.

Tutorial Steps

Our tutorial is made up of the following steps.

Each step is described in detail with demonstration videos also available.


        VIDEO INSTRUCTOR - Cindy Taylor

Owner of Dolman & Taylor specialist curtain and blind makers.

Questions & Comments


Good morning,

I wanted to ask whether you would advise ironing the curtains once made or not?

I always iron my fabric before make up so that I can steam them once hung. It will depend on your fabric make up but, if you have already pressed them before make up ( when shrinkage will occur) then you should be able to steam them once hung. Make sure you check with the manufacturers care instructions first though.
Kind regards

I am making pencil pleat curtains. Is there a general guide or rule to follow when choosing the depth of a curtain tape or heading? I am making curtains to a sill, with an overall drop of 174cm (still quite long). I am unsure what depth tape to go for. Thank you.


There is no rule at all, it just boils down to personal preference. I tend to use 3 cord variety (depths vary slightly by brand but approx 7.5cm)


I’ve been asked to make some floor length, unlined, pencil pleat linen curtains, I’ve never made unlined before but have made plenty of other curtains and blinds, how much will the hem and joins show through the fabric? Should I be trying to persuade my friend to have them lined?


It will depend on the fabric.Not much more we can really say.


Thanks to your videos I have made quite a few blinds and curtains. The one problem I keep having though is that the two top edges on standard pencil pleat curtains are not closing neatly. They are leaving a gap when meeting in the middle. It looks very messy. Which step am I getting wrong?


Looking at your picture try these things

  1. Ensure the pleats are evenly spaced to the edge of the curtain
  2. Slacken off the cord so you have an extra 5cm in each curtain to overlap.
  3. Position your hooks on the leading edges a few pleats back so the curtains can overlap.
Claire Carruthers

I made curtains for our whole house a few years ago following your brilliant instructions and videos. Although I have made curtains before none of them hung as beautifully as these and I think it was a small amount of money (compared to buying curtains!) very well spent!

We have now moved and unfortunately I need to extend some of their lengths by around 30 cm. Because I knew that we were going to move I kept extra fabric in the hem so have just enough fabric for the new length (and fabric hasn't faded fortunately) but my problem is the lining which I unfortunately didn't think of before. Do you have any ideas on ways to lengthen the lining without it looking too amateurish? I'm thinking of simply adding in the extra length and then hemming as I did before with 8cm hems. It won't look great but I think it will look worse having a gap between the two hems. Probably a very unfair question to ask but I thought I'd try in case you had any good ideas!


 Very impressive that you thought ahead with the fabric. We would replace the lining though.


Hi, I'm planning on making a full length set of curtains my son's room. It gets a bit chilly and I was planning on using interlining for the first time. I want to use a deep pencil pleat rufflette header tape but you don't list a tutorial for this header together with interlining - is there some reason they can't be used together?

Also, if using interlining with header tape would the interlining go all the way to the top of the curtain under the tape, or would it stop short to prevent the top becoming too bulky? Advice gratefully received! Thanks.


Hi Emma

There is absolutely no reason why you can’t use interlining and deep Ruflette heading tape together, we just haven’t got around to making that tutorial yet . The interlining would go to the top of the curtain under the tape.

Depending on the size of the windows - carefully consider the type of interlining that you use. If they are large curtains and you use a very think heavy bump, you may have problems handling so much fabric and interlining being new to this method. 

Might be worth considering INTERTHERM LIGHT WEIGHT SARILLE INTERLINING ( a synthetic, inexpensive interliner that will not shrink, easier to handle and less “movement” - you can get various weights from 180gsm - 285gsm - the lighter the weight, the less bulky and easier to use)

If you prefer natural fabrics then an INTERTHERM COTTON DOMMETT would be the one to go for but make sure it’s pre shrunk (again, various weights to choose from - 200gsm - 400gsm).
Good luck



I am new to the 'diy curtain making world' and I appreciate the detailed and clear instructions provided here. I wanted to know if you have a list of equipment I need before I start the project? I don't currently own a sewing machine so if there's a brand you can recommend that would be great.

Many thanks


The next page (STEP 1) has a list of materials and tolls on the left side, you wont see it if you are viewing on a mobile phone.

We have 3 Janome machines that we really like, but going to a shop and trying out various machines would be our advice. For curtain making the key factor is the clearance under the foot and the strength of the machine to get through thick layers of fabric and buckram.


I am making eyelet curtains and am following the first steps of your tutorial. I am about to cut the lining and realise that if I use it "railroad" style I could avoid having to sew up widths of lining fabric. However there would be little left to create a hem. As the side of the lining fabric has a "finished" edge do I need to have a hem at all?


We would never do that.

We would join the lining and make the curtain properly with a hem.


Hi, I just wanted to thank you for a wonderfully clear, well-written tutorial. I have just hung my first ever set of home-made curtains, made according to your instructions,and I am thrilled with the way they hang and the professional finish.

Stacey P-B

Thank you so much! We are due to move into our first home (owned) and the thought of buying a whole house of curtains daunted me. Yet with this simple guide I am in the middle of making them all. And I was quite an amateur seamstress to begin with. So thank you, because your fab tutorial has saved me a lot of money and meant I could have fitted curtains in whatever fabric I liked!

1 down 11 to go!


What a help you have been in reminding me how to make curtains - thank you very much. They look lovely and very professional!


Thank you so much for this amazing tutorial. I really didn't think I would be able to do it but I did!! I never finish any project normally!

I have started with a single hallway curtain but now have the confidence to do floor length living room curtains.


Thank you so much for this amazing tutorial. I agreed to my husbands suggestion that I make my first pair of curtains for our baby girls room on the proviso I could find a good online tutorial. And you totally delivered! I was so nervous starting out but I now have a pair of curtains hanging that's I'm really proud of. I definitely could do things better next time around, but I never thought my first attempt would turn out so well. Thanks so much for your generosity in providing so much information for free. Amazing!


Fantastic instructions - thanks very much! I would recommend them to anyone. I have made curtains several times before but they have never looked as good as the ones I've just made following your instructions. I found the videos made things very clear, so I would say it's worth paying a little money to access them.


Thanks a lot, i have just made a pair of curtains for my daughters twin baby boys room. Thanks to your tutorial and the excellent videos that make everything really clear. i have made of pair of really professional looking curtains. Great


Just wanted to say a huge thank you for your tutorial. I made my first curtain and thanks to your guidance I don't think anyone would tell I was a beginner. I made a huge 220cm long curtain for 285cm curtain rail and used 2.5 fullness ratio and it looks absolutely amazing. Not only saved a few hundred pounds but also have got a lot of pride that I made it myself. I think you are a good teacher and your instructions are so clear that during the whole process I did not have any questions or confusions. I think you are great. Thanks!


Extremely clear and helpful tutorial, thank you so much.

Caroline Soer

Finished a lovely pair of curtains in a few days with your superb tutorial. Thank you very much! Another roman blind next

Pippa Pugh

Thank you thank you thank you!!!! Such a good tutorial, I have just completed my first set of pencil pleat curtains and am so pleased with the finish. I attribute this entirely to the excellent tuition through the videos

Alison M

I have made 2 pairs of curtains following your tutorials and am very happy with how they have turned out. These are not my first curtains but they are by far the best. The videos are so clear and easy to follow and I am now considering making a roman blind as I trust your tutorials. Thank you!

Tracey Emmerton

These instructions were really clear and easy to follow, I am so pleased with how my curtains have turned out, I think they look professionally made, thank you so much.

Lorraine From Scotland


I just want to agree with the lady above. I have found this tutorial EXCELLENT. Each step is so clearly explained. I have just finished a supposed NQ in soft furnishing at a local college and can I say that I have learned more in the couple of hours I have been watching this, than I learned in weeks at the course. Thank you so very much.


I'm on making my 3rd pair of curtains using your tutorial and the videos are especially useful and excellently made. You help make making curtains easy and straightforward with a professional result if you take your time. Thank you for your excellent website.


This was my first ever sewing project, and I am so pleased with how the curtains turned out. I used a beautiful Susie Watson fabric and (I think) they look fab in my daughter's nursery. I will try to add a pic to the 'your makes' section. Thanks so much for the very helpful and thorough videos which have given me the confidence to keep sewing!



It's an excellent tutorial on the pencil pleat curtains. I have just completed mine with no previous experience other than making a woodwork apron at school 50 years ago. Thanks for all of the advice and tips.

Dawn Griffiths

Hi, I would like to interline my pencil pleat curtains would I only take the interlining up to just below the heading tape?

I have used your written instructions for Roman Blinds which were brilliant, thank you.



You take the interlining to the top of the curtain (therefore top of the tape)


Excellent tutorial. Very easy to follow.


If you want to do 'Ruffle' Headed Curtains do you use the same pencil pleat header tape but just move it down so it gives you the fabric hanging along the top?


No  we use  a narrower tape. 


I find this is helpful and am learning a lot

I am not a professional person to make curtains, but I always make for family friends.

I got a project to make curtains for the whole house (3 bedrooms + living and dining), which 2 of BayWindow

Using swish aluminium corded tracks,

I want to make all the triple and double pleats, using 15cm & 10cm buckram.

I want to hide the track as well

Do you think might be easier to buy the header instead of buckram for the bigger windows?

Thanks for your help



We always make double pleat and triple pleat curtains using buckram (not with a heading tape). 

There are tutorials for both these curtain heading types on the website. In the videos you will see the buckrams and hooks we use for our customers.

If you are looking to hide the track just beware that the fabric between the pleats will push forward when the curtains are stacked back rather than fold back behind. (we show this in the video of STEP 1 of the tutorial). You may need smaller spaces between the pleats to make it look neater when stacked back (which would mean more fabric as you would have more pleats in the curtain).

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