In our newest informative DIY series, we’ll provide you with step by step instructions to easily make your own Boat, RV or Tiny Home Curtains! We understand that the idea of making your own DIY home, boat or RV curtains for your small living space can be intimidating. In this series we’ll go over the information you need to easily make your own curtains for your tiny space. Whether you live full-time or just part-time in a tiny home, you’ll want to add curtains to your tiny space. Finding curtains that fit or someone who can make them for you are both equally difficult. Most people that choose to live in non-traditional small spaces tend to be Do-It-Yourself people. Everything in a small space is just that, non-traditional, and most projects involve some amount of ingenuity to get things improved, upgraded, fixed or just plain done! Small space curtains become a DIY project out of necessity. If you’re not feeling up to tackling this DIY project, we hope to share the information you will need to plan out a new curtain project to then be able to provide a friend, family member or local seamstress information on what you need stitched. This series will include detailed step by step instructions for those who already sew and for those who are ready to learn to sew to get this DIY project done! We encourage you to skip around the various posts and refer back to them as you work on your project.
Your Skill Level & Goals
Before beginning your curtain project, you’ll need to assess your skill level in several areas and determine your primary goals for making curtains for your small space. Are you skilled in hand sewing, machine stitching and/or hardware installation? If not, do you have a handy partner or relative that would help you stitch or install the hardware? We’ll go over ways to get curtains made and installed even if you are not so skilled or handy! Do you want to put holes in the wall of your tiny space or would you rather avoid that? Do you have someone to help you stitch the panels for you? What is your primary goal for the curtains? Are you looking to improve the appearance of your tiny space? Do you really need them to be functional to block out sunlight and provide privacy? Are you ready to tackle your curtain project? Do you have experience making tiny space curtains and have tips to share with others? Please comment below and let us know your thoughts!
Part 1 – Determining Your Curtain Hanging Options
Part 2 – Curtain Design Options
Part 3 – Choosing Curtain and Lining Fabrics
Part 4 – Cutting & Stitching Your Curtains
Part 5 – Sample Curtain Patterns
Using Existing Curtain Tracks
If you don’t currently have a curtain track system installed, you may want to either install one or use one of our creative curtain hanging methods we’ll talk about later in the post. If you do have an existing curtain track, how do you decide whether to use it or not? If your small space still has functional curtain tracks, you can use these tracks to hang your new curtains. If your tracks are worn, rusty or the type that taper in width, we recommend installing new tracks or using a creative curtain hanging method. Often, older track systems are missing most some of their attachment hardware and are unusable. If you are going to use your existing tracks, you will then need to either remove the curtain tabs from your old curtains to then attach them to your new curtains or locate the curtain slide tabs you require online. A couple of my favorite sites for finding the correct curtain tabs are www.curtain-tracks.com and www.sailrite.com. It’s not always possible to find slide tabs that will work depending on the age of your curtain track system. As shown above, Sailrite also has a very nice sew slide tab product that is already attached to a strip of fabric with the slide tabs evenly spaced. This is a huge time saver and assures your tabs are straight. Trying to sew individual tabs and keep them straight on the fabric can be tedious. You can find the product HERE.
Installing New Curtain Tracks
This option may sound difficult however, thanks to great companies like Sailrite (www.sailrite.com) it’s really pretty easy. The main concern for many people with this option is drilling new holes into the walls of your small space. They have several designs, hardware choices and even directions for curtain shades. For example, if you watch a video on making boat curtains located HERE. They also tell you exactly what track and hardware you can purchase from them to make the curtains.
Creative Curtain Hanging Solutions
This is the best solution if you are not handy or are reluctant to put holes in the walls of your small space. There are numerous ways to hang curtains that don’t require much skill or expense. You can remove two screws on either end of a porthole boat window or RV window and screw in a stainless steel eye screw. You can then align the eyes and insert a dowel to use to hang a simple curtain. You will need to add an inch to your curtain length and create a top pocket for the dowel to fit into. We’ll go over that process in our Sewing Curtains section. There are a variety of non-damaging wall products that can be used to hang simple, smaller curtains. You can use two wall hooks turned sideways, cording and cord locks. Create a loop of cord on each side to attach to the wall hooks and tighten. You can also use stainless steel eye hooks on either side of the window and the same cording and cord locks to hang the curtains. Decorative knobs can be used to either side of the window and attached with either screws or a non-damaging wall adhesive square. We offer a Free Sewing Pattern for trackless boat curtains HERE. The pattern can be used for any small space. You’ll need to create a pocket at the top of the curtain for the cording to go through for this hanging design to work. Another idea is to use strong, picture framing velcro tape to adhere the curtains above the window.
There are many different curtain designs to choose from. Not shown above is a Rod Pocket style. For this curtain type, you’ll add 1 1/2 inches to the the depth of your curtain panel to account for a 1 inch opening for the rod and two 1/4″ seam allowances for the stitching. Also not shown above are pleated curtains. You’ll typically need to order 2 1/2 times the width of your curtain in fabric to make this design. If you have decided to use the existing track system in your small space or to install new track system, you’ll need to attach the hardware that goes with that system. We love the tab style curtains for small spaces. You can also use this design for rods, wooden dowels and cording. Our copyrighted curtain pattern with both top and bottom back tabs is now available for free to our followers. You can download it here: https://www.quahogbaybedding.com/product/floating-boat-curtain-pattern/
Lined or Unlined?
Making lined curtains is not a complicated project and if you are just pulling out a sewing machine from the closet for the first time, it can be a better option where most of the stitching is hidden well on the finished curtain. If are a beginner and you are worried about how straight you can stitch, making lined curtains is the best option. You could hand stitch these curtains too. A lining will help protect the curtain panel material from the damaging effects of the sun. It will also protect them from fading much longer than a curtain without a lining.
Key Reasons To Choose Lined Curtains
- They will get a lot of sunlight on them throughout the day.
- They are near water and get the reflection of the sun on them.
- You are really interested in the functionality of your curtains in blocking the sunlight from your interior living space.
- You want your curtains to last many years.
Key Reasons To Choose Unlined Curtains
- You want to keep the project as easy as possible.
- You want to keep the project inexpensive.
- Your primary goal for the curtains is to help enhance your interior decor and not to block out sunlight.
- This is your first DIY curtain project and you are okay with knowing the curtains may start to fade or disintegrate in a few years vs. lasting many years.
Curtain Panel Fabric Options
You’ll want to choose a fabric that is medium weight for your curtain panels. Good options include: 6 oz. to 7 oz. Cotton Duck, Twill or Sunbrella (not upholstery or marine grade). To keep the project easy, choose fabric patterns that are solid or have small repeating patterns. Larger sized repeating patterns will make it difficult to center the curtain material perfectly for each curtain so they look uniform. It also requires the use of a lot more fabric, where you need to only use certain portions of fabric to keep the finished curtain appearance uniform. This also can make the project become very expensive. Typical fabric widths for these fabrics are 58″. Our favorite online fabric shops are Fabric.Com, OnlineFabricStore.Net and for Sunbrella – OutdoorFabrics.Com
Curtain Lining Fabric Options
We recommend using a curtain lining fabric that is a combination 50% cotton and 50% polyester. The polyester will provide more durability that will last after many years of sun exposure where the 100% cotton material by itself would not. The cost to add a lining material is fairly inexpensive and our favorite product to use is located at Joann Fabrics HERE. They are always offering great coupons and this fabric is usually available right at your local Joann store. This fabric is 54″ wide. Keep this in mind as we move forward to determining how much fabric is needed for your project.
Our hope is to have our followers share their measurements as they make their curtains to help others be able to tackle this project more easily! Below are the patterns we currently have. Don’t forget to add easy to sew envelope style pillow covers or flange pillow covers to match. See our DIY Projects here: How To Make A Basic Envelope Pillow Cover and here: How To Sew A Flange Pillow Cover
Boat Curtain Measurements
(3) Port saloon curtain panels 32″ Width (horizontal) and 9″ Length (Vertical)
(3) Starboard saloon curtain panels 32″ Width (horizontal) and 9″ Length (vertical)
(2) Curtain panels to be hung individually that are 16″ Width (horizontal) and 7″ Length (vertical) for the starboard aft window and the bathroom window.
1 Forward Port Curtain 36″ Width (horizontal) and 9″ Length (vertical)
1 Aft Port Curtain 36″ Width (horizontal) and 11″ Length (vertical)
1 Forward Starboard Curtain 36″ Width (horizontal) and 9″ Length (vertical)
1 Aft Starboard Curtain 36″ Width (horizontal) and 11″ Length (vertical)
1 Port Privacy Curtain – 31″ Width x 20″ Length.
1 Middle Privacy Curtain – 18″ Width x 47″ Length.
1 Starboard Privacy Curtain – 10″ Width x 20″ Length.
Catalina 22 Privacy Curtains with Traditional Hardware To Fit Existing Tracks
Use measurements above and purchase the following product from Sailrite located here: https://www.sailrite.com/Sew-on-Tab-Tape to make the Catalina 22 Replacement Set.
What do you think of our blog post? Do you have comments or suggestions to share with our readers? Do you have questions or need more help? Just send us an email and we’ll be glad to help you tackle this DIY project! Happy sewing! Here are some more curtain images and designs to help you get inspired! Also, if you need to replace your Shower Curtains in your tiny space, we have the DIY Project here: https://www.quahogbaybedding.com/make-your-own-shower-curtains/