We should now have in our measurement book the following: the length of the finished curtains, the amount of the material required for each curtain and also for the pair; the exact measurement of the lining when applied and finished, and also the amount required. For the edging we have the finished length and width, allowing 6 inches for the corner and turn ins, and twice that for the pair. If there are several windows of the same measurements we have only to multiply the amounts required by the windows.
Materials come in two widths, 81 inches and 50 inches, perhaps varying an inch or so. We can use the full 31 inches or we may split the 50 inches. Provided the pattern lends itself to this division and the window openings are not too wide to allow for it, the 50-inch goods work to better advantage. It comes in more handsome designs and sometimes in superior material. The edges if possible should have an applied edging, not hemmed, for every inch of the 25 will be needed. Often with elaborate under-hangings all that is wanted is a straight fold of color to carry out a scheme in a room and the 25-inch curtains do this admirably. In the bedroom, where the 50-inch material is used as a bedcover, the same material split answers well for the curtains. Thus in measuring, using half width, you need just half as much material. Thus far we have reckoned using curtains without valances. To measure for valances requires much time and thought, as they are as varied as the ingenuity of man or woman can make them. But since we are dealing with a simpler sort of curtain, that the ambitious householder may make for herself, we shall put aside for the professional the elaborate valance.
Of valances, there are gathered, pleated and stiff valances or lambrequins fitted over the window casing and covering over the sides as well. In measuring material for a pleated and shirred valance allow 1/3 to 1/2 extra of the width completed and from 12 inches depth in the bedroom to 18 inches for a more formal treatment. For instance, in a bedroom using a split 50-inch material for side curtains, the entire Width may be used for a valance of 12 inches. This does not include a 2-inch hem or the heading. Avoid making the valances too full, as they stick out, or too skimpy, as they look meager and economical. If a flat valance is used the amount of the material depends upon the width of the window. One width will probably do for this valance. If the valance is shaped and lined we must allow 2 inches for the top and bottom turn-in. Of course, in a shaped valance, the measurement must be taken from the widest part.
We must always allow in figured goods, for the repeat and the amount of goods wasted must be reckoned in the cost. Sometimes this material may be used in the valance.
In a large spread design it is surprising how little the general motif shows when the curtain is hung. If we are undecided about the necessity of matching up a design in a pair of curtains we can always gather up the material and pin it over the back of a chair or screen and see how important the strong motif appears when gathered. If it shows decidedly, match up the pairs perfectly; if not, we can hang them as the cloth cuts and consider ourselves lucky.
Having the measurement of the material required for each pair of curtains and the valance, we have only to add up the amounts in the various windows, multiply this by the price per yard and we have the cost of the material. Add the cost of the lining and the edging and we have an estimate that should be accurate. Damask, velours and such handsome materials require interlining of canton flannel. This is too big an undertaking for the amateur. The cost of the material warrants their being made up in a proficient manner.
In making curtains, use a large table which you can walk around. A bed usually answers the purpose but a table is better. Use a good sewing machine, baste carefully and cut by thread, with the exception of very cheap cretonnes. This is one reason why cheap cretonnes scarcely pay, as they cannot be cut by a thread, as the weave is too imperfect and when they are laundered this imperfection makes them skew. Sash curtains should always be cut by a thread, as they must be laundered regularly. Scrim is preferable to muslin, as the weave is more even.