IN measuring for hangings one must be accurate. It is astonishing and sometimes heart-rending to see the havoc an inch too little or too much will make in a curtain when hung. Every measurement should be taken with a 3-foot rule, not a tape measure, which stretches, and carefully recorded. A good idea for the amateur is to have a blank book in which to set down the outside and inside measurements of each window trim, also a sketch.
Even if one is far from being an artist, sketch in a curtain scheme, being sure the window is drawn to scale. This is easily done. Use a measure divided into 12ths of an inch, count each 12th as an inch and you have at once the foot, and three feet make a yard. Thus 3 inches in scale make one yard in reality. Your window may be 5% feet by '3 feet ; you have 5% inches by 3 inches to draw. Then sketch in your curtain. This sketching process is helpful when double or triple windows are used, with or without a transom. It is always a problem how to treat these, and if you have sketched the curtain in you have never to say, " Well, I might like it, but I cannot just picture how it will look."
Besides the sketch of the window put where the sash curtain is to be hung and the height and width finished, also mark with a dot where the rod is to be attached. Under RODS put how many rods of each length and how much thin material, allowing always 6 inches on each curtain for hems and headings, therefore the amount of the material will be greater than the added figure of the curtain finished. Put beside the amount of the material the width, the price, and the shop where purchased. Scrim, muslin and nets come in various widths ; sometimes by using a wide width and splitting it you get better material at a lower price. A simple way for thin hangings is to run a flat tape through the hem, allowing for a small heading. Shirr the curtain the width it is to cover and tack directly on to the window sash, or better, sew rings on the back and use a rod. Curtains of soft net, scrim or muslin are best shirred, but if the material is bulky and not pliable, they should be pleated. Always allow 2 inches for full length curtains at the top for possible shrinkage, and the coarser the weave the more shrinkage is to be considered.
For heavier hangings, the problem is quite the same. First we must decide what part of the trim they are to go on, then with the measurements of our sketch exact we can get the exact length of the curtains themselves. Put down the length finished.
Next we must decide on the style and width of heading. A plain gathered heading of 2 inches in cotton materials is a good proportion. A French heading takes from 3 inches to 4 inches. Curtains may be hemmed at the top and the rod run through, thus shirring them, or they may have a hem with a heading and the rod run through the hem. The width between the two stitchings should be a little less than twice the diameter of the rod. For example, for a 1-inch rod allow 1% inches between the stitchings this allows for possible shrinkage.
Now, that the top methods and measurements have been disposed of, consider the hem. In thin materials, it should be 3 ply, as this adds firmness and weight sufficient to keep the curtain in place and to hang well. The prettiest finish for scrim is the hemstitch ; this can be easily done and adds much to the otherwise common-placeness of the curtain. Such hem or hemstitching requires twice the width of the hem. For large windows and full length sash curtains, a good width for the hem is 3 inches, for shorter windows less. Sometimes the curtain is turned up on the right side and a fringe or guimpe is stitched on. Charming chintz edgings come, and if these are chosen to repeat the colors of the overhangings, the effect is very attractive. Never turn a wide hem and apply guimpe or fringe on the edge. The edging should act as a finish. It should be begun on the top of the inside length of the curtain and brought down and around the bottom edge. It should not be carried around the outside edge or at the top. As this method requires less material than a hem allow at most an inch for turn-in in measuring.
The lined curtain comes next. If a curtain is lined we have no hem to consider. At the top, the material itself should form the heading, as the inside of the heading shows if it happens to turn over. The lining should start at the bottom of the heading and end one inch above the bottom of the curtain. It should not come down flush with the bottom. It should come within 1 inch or inches of the sides. Therefore, in measuring for material for lined curtains, allow the width of the heading, the length of the curtain and 2 inches extra from the length at the bottom for turn up. In measuring the lining, allow the full length of the curtain minus the width of the heading and the 1 inch at the bottom, also 1 inch at each side. Sateen, which comes in 50-inch width at the upholstery counter, is a heavier, better quality lining than any found at regular lining departments.