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Calculating Yardage for Solid Draperies

Materials List
Drapery Hardware
Tools List (click item to shop)
Metal Tape Measure Calculator

IMPORTANT: Read this before you start

The key to making beautiful solid color draperies that fit windows perfectly is accurately determining how much fabric is needed. Correctly calculating the yardage reduces waste and prevents you from coming up short.

Skill Level & Time To Complete
• Beginner - 1 hour
• Intermediate - 45 minutes
• Advanced - 30 minutes

1. Begin by selecting and installing the drapery hardware. Draperies that pull open and closed require a traverse rod.
2. Install the rod 4 inches above the window frame so the drapery pleats will not be visible from outside the window.
3. And make sure the rod is long enough to extend 4 inches beyond the window on each end to prevent light from streaming in on the sides.

To measure a window for draperies use a metal tape measure since cloth tapes can stretch or sag.

Since no two windows are exactly the same size, measure each one. There can be slight variances even if two windows appear to be the same.


To calculate the amount of fabric needed, first determine how long you want your draperies to be.

Measure from the top of the traverse rod to the desired bottom point. For shorter drapes, measure 4 inches beyond the bottom of the window. For floor length drapes come within 3 inches of the carpeting.

6. It is popular in formal dining rooms, living rooms and bedrooms to puddle draperies on the floor. For this opulent look, add 6” to 8” to the length of the drapes and blouse the fabric on the floor in an appealing arrangement. Keep in mind that this may not be a good option in high traffic areas.
7. For decorator rods, start measuring from the eye of the ring.
8. Sheers installed under draperies should be 1 inch shorter than the over drapery.

When the desired length of the finished draperies has been determined,

Add 8 inches to allow for a 4 inches doubled hem.

10. To that, add 8 inches to allow for a header. This number is the total cut length of fabric.
11. Panel width is calculated by measuring the face width of the rod and accounting for overlaps and returns.
12. For double traverse rods, additional fabric is required to make up for the wider return of the outer rod. The return is the distance from the face of the rod to the wall where the bracket is attached. About 18 inches should be added to the measurements to allow for returns and overlap on double rods.

The fullness of the finished draperies depends on fabric weight and personal preference.

A good rule of thumb, however, is to add 2½ to 3 times the finished width for sheer or lightweight fabrics.

14. For medium to heavyweight fabrics add 2 to 2½ times the finished weight.

To determine how many panels are needed, take the finished width and multiply by the fullness.

Divide by the actual width of the fabric you choose.

16. To calculate the total number of yards needed for one window, take the cut length and multiply by the number of panels needed. This number is the total overall inches. Divide this by 36 inches to get the total number of yards. Always round measurements up to the next highest whole number.



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