1. Let’s begin with the layer cake. Choose twelve pieces and lay them out, paying attention to balancing color and pattern.
2. Now choose 5 more pieces from your layer cake for the pockets. Decide where they will go. (I just folded them so I would get an idea how they look on the background square.) You might want to keep in mind who these curtains are for. A small child will prefer lower pockets while an older person will want them higher. If you only want to make 4 pockets, that’s fine too. Or you can even make 6. It’s all up to you.
3. Repeat steps one and two so that you have another twelve blocks laid out with 5 more pockets. Mix and match around until you are satisfied with your color arrangement and pocket placement.
4. Take your first pocket and press a quarter inch seam under and then another inch. Do this for all ten pocket pieces.
5. Decide if you want to chain piece. Since chain piecing is just code for “get more done is less time,” why not? Choose a coordinating thread color (I chose red) and then topstitch 1/8 inch from the bottom of the turned under seam. When you finish the first one, just place the second one there without cutting your thread and keep sewing. You will get a chain of pieces that looks somewhat like this.
6. Press under a half inch twice on the remaining three sides of each pocket. If you need a bigger pocket, just turn under a quarter inch twice. If you need a smaller pocket, turn under more or cut a bit off.
7. Now pin each pocket in place, centered as well as you can on the background square. You can’t chain piece these, but you can pin all the pockets on, stack them up and get them sewn on really quick.
8. Next choose six more layer cake blocks and cut them in half.
9. Lay out the half square pieces so that one half is in the same position on each panel. Sew everything together just like you would sew a patchwork quilt, using 1/4 inch seams.
10. You should now have two pocketed panels looking something like these.
11. Turn you attention now to the jelly roll. Choose two groups of 14 strips and sew them together using a SCANT 1/4 inch seam. Once again pay attention to color and size balance.
12. Cut the selvage off of ONE end of each strip panel. Now sew this cut end to the other pocket panel you made up. Make sure your pockets are on the bottom of the panel and facing the right direction.
13. Now we’re going to do a little fitting (we could even all it a dress rehearsal) for your window. Turn under the selvage end five inches, press, and pin across the top where you have folded and the bottom where the selvage is. Then insert your curtain rod through this little “pocket” you have made and hang on your window.
14. Once your curtain is hanging from the rod, take your pins and a stepstool and pin about 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches above the pins placed along the selvage. This will create a blousy header at the top of the curtain panel. Check out your length. My curtain looks perfect as it is, which means it will be a little short when hemmed. You can fix this in the following ways:
- Unpin what you have done at the top and try four inches instead of five.
- Forget the ruffly part and just turn under two inches.
- Add a jelly roll strip across the bottom. (My choice.) We will have enough fabric to add up to two jelly roll strips, which can gain up to 4 inches for you. If you want to do this, just keep it in mind. We will add it later.
Likewise, if the curtains are too long, either cut some off of the top or turn under an inch or so more at the top.
15. Choose 9 strips, four groups of 2 and one contrasting print. Sew the four groups of two together. I saved my solids for this and also two closely colored prints. Then take the 9 strip and cut 4 five inch strips from it. Sew one to the bottom of each group.
16. Sew one strip down each side of the two panels. This will add fullness and also help us with our lining. Notice that one strip will exactly fit the length of the strip part of the panel, one will exactly fit the length of the top half layer cake square and the next 4 layer cake squares and the final five inch piece will match up to the bottom half layer cake square. Take your time and match your seams for a more professional result.
17. Now is the time to add the extra length to the bottom of each curtain panel.
18. Measure the width of your curtain. Mine was 33 inches.
19. Now we take the quilt backing and cut two pieces which are 2 inches less wide than the width of your curtain panel. Since my panel is 33 inches wide, I cut this 31 inches, and of course it is 90 inches long. If you can’t find 90 inch quilt backing, you can cut down regular width fabric, but this is much, much easier and will save you lots of work when it comes to hemming.
20. Taking your front curtain panel, press under a quarter inch hem and then an inch or however much you need for your curtains to hang perfectly to the floor. (Remember our dress rehearsal?) Then topstitch 1/8″ across the bottom of each curtain panel.