What Kind of Curtain Fabric Do I Need? Calculator for Fabric Update 06/2022

When it comes to constructing curtains for my home, the first question I must consider is how much fabric I will require. The answer is that it depends on the appearance I want to achieve and the type of curtains I want to use. But where should I begin? Is it possible to calculate how much fabric I’ll need using a curtain fabric calculator?

Measure the window’s length and width, making sure to leave enough room for an overhang to cover the wall edge. Multiply by the amount of panels you’ll need. Seam allowances, hems, headers, and pleats all require extra inches. A curtain fabric calculator is a simple way to figure out how much fabric you’ll need.

There are numerous factors to consider. Do I want curtains that reach all the way to the floor? I’m not sure how many panels I’ll need. These questions will be answered in this post, as well as how to use a curtain fabric calculator.

How Much Fabric Do I Need for Curtains

What to Consider Before Choosing Fabric for Curtains

When it comes to choosing curtain fabric, there are a few factors to consider. The cloth you choose should match the color palette in your space. You don’t want your window to stand out like a sore thumb, so frame it as a beautiful feature.

Curtains that compliment the décor of your room might improve the overall effect. However, picking a cloth is much more than just color. Let’s have a look at some other factors to consider while selecting the material.

1. What Type of Curtains Do You Need?

Type of Curtains

The sort of cloth you need to buy will be determined by the style of curtain you want. Is the purpose of the curtains to be utilitarian or decorative? Will they go all the way up to the ceiling, or will they stop at or just below the windowsill?

Keep an eye out for anything on your wall under the window if you decide to go with floor-length curtains. You don’t want your radiators or wall heaters to be obscured by the droop of your curtains. This could not only prevent heat from entering your room, but it could also pose a fire threat. Another item to keep an eye out for is wall sockets.

Curtains that will be opened and closed on a regular basis should be made of a durable fabric that can endure repeated use. Lightweight fabric can be used to make decorative curtains that stay open to frame a window.

You’ll need a cloth that can retain a fold if your curtains have pleats. Similar to sheer, lightweight curtains, sheer, lightweight curtains require a light, airy fabric.

2. What Type of Fabric Are You Using?

Type of Fabric

The curtain style you can choose is determined by the fabric you choose. If you want thick, draft-proof blackout curtains, polyester isn’t the way to go. If you desire a sheer window treatment, it’s also not worth selecting an ornate flowery upholstery fabric.

Also, think about how the curtains will be used. Is there a lot of traffic in the area? Can the curtain fabric cover marks from sticky fingers and wet paws if you have dogs or children? Will the curtains need to be cleaned on a regular basis? Is the cloth likely to shrink if washed frequently? A lighter-weight fabric may not be equal to the task of dealing with a family.

3. Do You Need a Valance?

A valance is a little decorative screen that spans a window’s upper edge. Its primary purpose is to conceal the curtain rail. A valance can complement or contrast the window treatments it is coupled with when used with curtains, blinds, or by itself.

Valances are a personal preference and are not required. If you wish to include a valance, decide on the look you want and add the fabric needed to the curtain project’s overall yardage.

4. Are You Going for a Window Curtain Set?

Two curtain panels, a valance, and tiebacks make up a window set. The whole set creates a formal yet beautiful window treatment, especially when combined with floral textiles.

The amount of cloth required rises with each additional panel or tieback. You’ll also want to think about whether the cloth you’ve chosen is durable enough to be used for things like tiebacks. If it’s too light, you might have to buy them ready-made.

Allowing for tiebacks and valances when purchasing curtain fabric is vital for coordinating with your primary fabric.

5. How About a Window Scarf?

A window scarf is a small piece of fabric that drapes across the top and down one or both sides of the window. It’s commonly constructed of sheer textiles like voile and is thin and light. A scarf can be worn alone or with sheer curtains.

A window scarf’s main purpose is to add dimension to existing curtains by layering them. A window scarf, like the valance, is a personal choice and not required.

If applied appropriately, it may appear magnificent and add elegance to a window. It can look heavy and bulky if it doesn’t match your main curtains. Before hanging both a curtain and a scarf on your window, be sure the fabrics compliment each other.

6. Don’t Forget the Hem, Header, and Seams

Manufacture careful to leave enough fabric for hems and headers whenever you make curtains. Each curtain panel’s hem is the clean edge at the bottom. The section of the curtain that goes on the curtain pole is called a header.

The length of the hem can vary. It is determined by the curtain’s drape. The thicker the base of the curtain, the larger the hem. Curtain weights can also be added. All of this aids in the proper hanging of the curtains. As a result, ensure that your hem is large enough to accommodate the additional weights.

You may need to sew a couple of thicknesses of fabric together if you have an extra-wide window. If you do, remember to add fabric to allow for a seam allowance.

7. How Thick Is the Curtain Pole You’re Using?

The length of your curtain pole will decide the size of your header. The curtain pole should ideally be hidden by the header. It also needs to conceal the tabs or channel that hold the curtain to the pole.

Remember to enable the cloth to make the channel or tabs in addition to concealing the pole. Depending on the thickness of the pole, you’ll need to factor in a different amount. If you choose to go with a channel, you’ll need more fabric than if you go with tabs.

8. How Many Curtain Panels Do You Need?

How Many Curtain Panels Do You Need

A curtain panel can be used individually or as a pair. Four or more panels can sometimes be utilized to span the breadth of a window for bigger windows. When it comes to Bay windows, this is especially true. The curtains are attached to a curved curtain track, and the extra panels allow them to bend together with the track to follow the window.

A single curtain panel can be used for smaller windows. A single panel, hung on one side or the other, should be large enough to cover the entire window.

Two panels, or a pair of curtains, are hung on each side of the window. This creates a framing effect and makes the view via the window more appealing.

9. Do You Need a Curtain Liner?

Lining your curtains, especially if they’re made of a light fabric, will help provide privacy and restrict the amount of light that enters a room. It is a personal option whether or not to use a liner.

Linings can also help keep a space cold or warm, especially if they’re composed of a fabric with thermal qualities. This could be useful in locations where seasonal temperatures vary significantly.

Curtain Fabric Calculator

A curtain fabric calculator can help you figure out how much fabric you’ll need for your curtains. Simply enter your window measurements in the boxes below, and the calculator will handle all of the complicated math for you. All you have to do now is choose how you want your curtains to appear, and the curtain fabric calculator will take care of the rest.

How to Measure Fabric for Curtains

How to Measure Fabric for Curtains

There are a few factors to consider when calculating how much cloth you’ll need for curtains. The first consideration is how you want your curtains to appear. Is it necessary for them to be floor length? Do you want one or two panels?

The dimensions of your window will alter as a result of each design feature. Make sure you know how you want your curtains to look, from the inclusion of a wide header to the fabric allowance for pleats. Ideally, before you buy your fabric.

For Curtains Fitting Outside the Window Frame

Step 1

From one outer edge to the other, measure the width of your window. Then, take a measurement of the curtain pole. Your curtains should be twice as wide as the pole. Add 6 inches to your window width if the pole extends 3 inches beyond the window frame on each side.

The width of the curtains should be at least double the width of your window for fullness. Allowing for extra volume and faults, aim 2.5 times larger than your actual window. Divide the overall measurement in half if you want two panels.

Step 2

Measure the length of your curtains from the top of the pole to the floor or the windowsill. The length of the curtains will be determined by how long you want them to be. If the pole is in place, this step will be much easier. If you haven’t yet installed the pole, start from where you want it to be.

Make a decision on the size of the heading. Make sure to add 6 inches to the length of your curtain if you choose a 3-inch header. On the reverse side, there will be enough fabric to construct a robust band that will act as an anchor point for curtain tabs or rings.

Step 3

Make sure you have enough fabric for seams and hems. The bottom hemline of your dress should be at least 6 inches long. This amount should be added to your curtain’s overall length.

For Curtains Fitting Inside the Window Frame

Step 1

From one side to the other, measure the width of the window inside the casing. Depending on the degree of fullness you want, multiply this figure by 1.5 to 2.5.

Step 2

Next, take a measurement from the casement’s top to the sill. Allow for hems and a header in your budget. You will need to add 6 inches to the length for a 3 inch header. Similarly, a 1-inch hem will require a 4-inch margin.

How To Calculate How Much Fabric I Need for Curtains? 

Curtain fabric calculation

Knowing the height and width of your window is the first step in determining how much fabric you’ll need for curtains. You should also think about how wide your desired cloth will be. It’s possible that you’ll need to combine more than one width of fabric to match the window.

For example, suppose you had a 120-inch-wide window with a fullness allowance. To cover the window, you’ll need two panels. When you divide 120 by 2, you get two panels that are 60 inches wide. You’ve chosen a cloth that’s only 35 inches wide.

Fabric in two widths is required for each panel. The cloth will be 140 inches wide in total. Although this adds 20 inches to the length of the garment, some of it will be used in seam allowances and side hems. The remainder will only add to the overall design of the curtains by adding extra fullness.

Example 1

Consider a window with a drop of 4 feet and a width of 4 feet for this example. We’ll convert the feet to inches to make calculating a little easier. Our window measures 48 x 48 inches.

To accommodate for pleating and fullness, double the width by 2.5. As a result, the new width is 120 inches. Then, to make a heading and hem, add additional to the drop. For both, we’ll add an extra 6 inches. Our new drop measures 60 inches in length.

This project’s fabric is 60 inches wide. Because the pattern does not repeat, no additional fabric is required for pattern matching. It will be necessary to purchase two widths of fabric and put them together to span a 120-inch window.

Multiply 60 (drop) x 2 to get the fabric for this example. This gives you a measurement of 120 inches, which is equal to ten feet or 3.33 yards. To be on the safe side, it’s always advisable to round up. As a result, 4 yards of fabric would be required for these curtains.

Example 2

We’ll take a look at patio doors in the next example. With a drop of 78 inches and a breadth of 32 inches, this is a stunning piece. The fabric is 60 inches wide with a 6 inch design repeat.

To begin, divide the width by 2.5. This results in a length of 80 inches. Because the fabric is 60 inches wide, two widths will be required to cover the window. After that, add a header, hem, and a pattern repeat allowance to the length. We started with a drop of 78 inches and increased it to 96 inches by adding 6 inches for the pattern and another 12 inches for the header and hems.

Multiply 96 (drop) x 2 to get the fabric yardage for this example. The final measurement is 192 inches. As a result, the required distance for this case is 5.33 yards. We’ll need 6 yards total for these curtains, rounded up.

How Many Yards of Fabric for 84-Inch Curtains?

How many yards for curtains

84-Inch Width

Assume we know our window requires drapes with a width of 84 inches, plus a fullness allowance. The length or drop of the curtains is the next thing to consider.

The curtain pole to the floor distance is 78 inches. Our length is now 90 inches after adding 12 inches for a header and hem.

After that, we’ll need to determine the fabric’s breadth. Let’s go with a width of 60 inches. Two widths of fabric are required to cover an 84-inch window.

The length of 90 inches is multiplied by two to give us 180 inches. This is the same as 15 feet (5 yards). Curtains for an 84-inch-wide window would require 5 yards of fabric in this case.

84-Inch Length

The yardage required varies if the curtain drop is increased to 84 inches. We get 96 inches by adding 12 inches for hems and a header.

The window is 84 inches wide, so we’ll need two fabric widths to cover it. 96 multiplied by 2 equals 192 inches, or 16 feet, in our new estimate.

It equals 5.33 yards in yards. These curtains would require 6 yards of fabric, rounded up to the next whole yard.

How Much Fabric Do I Need for 96-Inch Curtains?

96-Inch Width

The window in this case is 96 inches broad with a 54-inch drop. We didn’t add anything extra for fullness this time. The width of 96 is multiplied by 2.5 as the first step. Curtains should be at least twice the width of the window in terms of fullness. Going 2.5 times bigger gives you more leeway in case something goes wrong. Curtains must be 240 inches wide, including fullness.

There should be enough fabric for hems and a header when estimating the curtain drop. When we add a 6-inch hem and 6-inch header to the 54-inch drop, we get a new length of 66 inches.

We’ll need more than one breadth of fabric to cover the window if we use a 60-inch-wide fabric. We estimated that the curtain fabric would be 240 inches wide. When we divide that by 60, we get 4. Fabric in four widths is required.

264 inches is obtained by multiplying the 66-inch drop by four fabric widths. When converted to feet, this equals 22 feet. This is 7.33 yards in length. Because it’s always better to round up to the next whole yard when cutting fabric, these curtains will require 8 yards.

96-Inch Length

Let’s take a look at 96-inch-long curtains now. The revised drop is 108 inches, with an extra 12 inches for the header and hems. Assume the window measures 120 inches wide, including fullness, using a 60-inch-wide cloth.

To span the window, we’ll need more than one width of fabric. The result of dividing 120 by 60 is 2. The drop of 108 inches multiplied by two equals 216 inches. The final measurement is 18 feet, or 6 yards. Fabric for these curtains will be 6 yards.

How Many Yards of Fabric for 108-Inch Curtains?

How many yards of fabric for 108-Inch Curtains

108-Inch Width

This example’s window is 108 inches wide, including a fullness allowance. The drop is 54 inches, plus 12 inches for hems and a header. This offers us a new 66-inch drop.

We just need to buy one width of cloth if we use a 108-inch-wide fabric. We get 66 inches by multiplying the drop of 66 inches by the number of fabric widths. This is 1.83 yards or 5.5 feet. These curtains take 2 yards of fabric, rounded up to the next full yard.

108-Inch Length

We get a new curtain length of 120 inches by adding a 12-inch allowance for hems and a header to a drop of 108 inches. Before allowing for fullness, let’s say the window’s width is 108 inches. For this example, we’ll use a 60-inch wide fabric.

When we double the width of the window by 2.5, we get 270 inches. It will need more than one width of a 60-inch wide fabric to span a window of this size. The result of dividing 270 by 60 is 4.5. This means we’ll have to round up to 5 cloth widths.

A length of 120 inches multiplied by five fabric widths equals 600 inches. That’s 50 feet (16.66 yards) in length. It’s always a good idea to go for the next whole yard. A total of 17 yards of fabric will be required for these curtains.


Curtain fabric measurement necessitates a great deal of math. For fullness, header, hems, and seams, you’ll need to know the width, length, and amount of excess fabric required.

There’s a lot to keep in mind. The math will be handled for you by the curtain fabric calculator featured in this post. Ascertaining if you have the appropriate amount of stuff for your job.

If you like the article, please let me know in the comments. Have you played around with the curtain fabric calculator yet? Have you been inspired to make your own curtains as a result of it?

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