National Sewing Month: Anthropologie Inspired Shower Curtain by Suzannah of Adventures in Dressmaking

Dear Readers,

It’s National Sewing Month! To celebrate, is hosting a special blog series throughout the entire month. Check back daily for posts featuring our favorite projects, new sewing videos and tutorials, guest blogs from talented designers and more. We’re also giving away a HUGE sewing prize at the end of the month. You won’t believe how EASY it is to WIN!

Leave a comment on any of the blog posts with the headline “National Sewing Month”. Your comment will count as an entry into the giveaway. You are free to comment as often as once per blog post (for a total of 30 chances to win!). At the end of the month, we’ll pool all of the comments together and pick one lucky winner to win the mystery grand prize. And trust us; you want to win this one!

Whether you’re already a sewing enthusiast or new to the craft, our hope is that this September will encourage you to create wonderful sewn projects.

Happy National Sewing Month!

Here’s today’s post from Suzannah from Adventures in Dressmaking:

A long, long time ago I saw this pretty picture from Country Living:

It’s of the Anthropologie Waves of Ruffles shower curtain, $98.  I also saw a pretty image from Canadian House and Home of a similar idea for a shower curtain:

So sweet!

Now, we’ve recently moved into a little bungalow and are painting, decorating, and changing things up on a budget.  I’m ready for some new bathroom ideas, and think this look may work for our bathroom!

I did some online research, and found that Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, and other stylish places have quite a few similar concepts for pretty shower curtains.  Check out the options (both in the $100 ballpark) from Anthro:

Some from Urban Outfitters:

And Target:

I like them a lot… I think they’re pretty and girly and, at the same time, can go with a more contemporary or modern and cute look like in the Country Living image–I love the all-white look with a turquoise end table!

Anyway, I decided to make a shower curtain like these above.  Not to copy the Anthro Waves of Ruffles curtain completely, but intending to add my own changes, I did want to see it up close.  Here’s some more pics of Anthropologie’s lovely wavy ruffle look:

Pretty, isn’t it?

I’ve put together a tutorial so you can follow along as I make a similar shower curtain out of simple white muslin.  Let’s get started!

  • Standard shower curtains are 72″x72″, square-shaped, with 12 buttonholes or grommets at the top.  You’ll need extra-wide fabric so that your curtain doesn’t have a long seam down the center.  Quilt backing fabrics come in extra-wide widths.  I recommend buying 2.5 yards of 90″ wide muslin.  I bought mine with a coupon at JoAnn’s and paid 50% off of $4.99/yard.  You could also use a large sheet and make it over!
  • Start by tearing your muslin into the right size.  You won’t need the full 2.5 yards in width, but you’ll need 72″ tall plus hems.
  • Add 1″ on both vertical sides for the little hems, so tear your big piece at 74″ wide, along the length: you’ll have one edge with selvage and one without.
  • You’ll need 2.5″ at the top for a 2″ hem, and 1.5″ at the bottom for a 1″ hem–that means, tear your fabric at 76″ long.  Keep the extra!
  • The sewing: On your vertical edges (one is selvage, one is torn), press under just under 1/2″ and then another 1/2″.  Sew.

  • At the top, press under 1/2″ and then 2″.  Sew.  (If you have very thin fabric you may want to add a 2″ wide strip of interfacing here, since you’ll be adding buttonholes and it needs to take the stress of hanging).

  • At the bottom, press under 1/2″ and then 1″.  Sew.
  • At the top, you’ll need 12 buttonholes or grommets ___ apart.  I’m doing 1″ long buttonholes, but do whatever you like.  Make them start at least 3/8″ from the top so that your curtain liner is covered at the very top.
  • Okay, now for the ruffles!!  You had 9″ extra after tearing off the 76″ length for the curtain.  Cut this 90″ wide piece into three 3″ long pieces.

Now, you’ll use some of the extra from the selvage lengths of the fabric.  It’s a little weird to use some fabric on the grain, some against, but for ruffles it’ll be okay.  You wouldn’t do this with clothing or anything.

Cut three 3″ wide pieces the length of the fabric (2.5 yards).

  • Sew one 90″ long piece to one 2.5 yard long piece.  Do this three times to make three equally long pieces.  Press open.

  • Now it gets a little tedious.  Zig-zag along the raw edges of all three long pieces, top and bottom.  You could turn under 1/4″ and then again 1/4″ to make small hems, but gosh, that would be a LOT of pressing and sewing.  And you’d want to make wider ruffle pieces to begin with.  Zig-zagging is easier, and I don’t mind the romantic-but-casual look the partially raw edges give.

  • Gather 1/4″ (the width of the presser foot) from one side of the ruffle pieces, all three.  To gather, use the largest stitch on your machine and a very high tension.

  • Now, to place the ruffles.  Depending on the pattern you want, you can sew your ruffles on wherever and it will look pretty!  But I’m sort of going with the wavy ruffle pattern like Anthro’s curtain, so I’ll give instructions for that version.  Fold your curtain into thirds so you can mark off, with pins or fabric pen, the bottom third of your curtain.  That’s where most of the pattern will be.

See my fabric pen dashed line there?

  • It looks like the ruffles on Anthro’s curtain have six peaks.  So, I found six evenly distributed points on the curtain by folding it in half, then thirds and marking.

  • I used the lines that marked six evenly spaced points on the curtain and marked with dots the peaks and valleys of the waves.  I used an angle that looked good.  I measured about 6.5″ up from the first row, putting it with enough space from the bottom so the waves weren’t on the hem, and made the next two rows.  From the points, I sort of improvised curves.  It’s meant to be ruffly and organic-looking, right? 😉

  • From there, you’ll need to pin on and then sew down your ruffles.  I did this by finding the approximate center of each ruffle, and pinning it to the center of the curtain.  Pin the outsides down, and continue this half way technique at other points: 1/4, 1/8.  If your gathering stitch was even throughout, you should have evenly distributed ruffles.  But, all machines are different, so you may have to stretch out or gather up more to get your ruffles spread out evenly on the waves.  Then, sew down.

  • All done!  Hang over a light-colored or clear shower curtain liner.

The bathroom’s not done yet, so I can’t really show you how it looks in the room yet!  But there it is hanging.


  1. Cheryl says

    Take this idea out of the bathroom! You could use this same ruffle technique to take a maxiskirt or a full-length cape (ready made or made from scratch) from ho-hum to really spectacular. Do a serged roll edge on the strips of ruffle fabric so they have a more polished appearance — or cut your ruffle strips on the bias from closely woven fabric or use a finely knitted fabric so they won’t end up looking shabby chic when you want a glamor or tailored look. If you like the monochrome look, put shiny ruffles on a matte base or matte ruffles on a shiny base. If you want a color splash, make the ruffles stand out from the base. If you do it for a little girl, make the width of the ruffle strips narrower (2″, 1.5″ or even 1″) to keep the ruffle in proportion to the littler expanse of fabric. Heck, if you really wanted to go all out, you could couch beads, pearls, string sequin trim, perle cotton thread, crochet thread, or glittery yarns over the stitching line when the ruffles have been applied in their waves to the base fabric!

  2. Kitten With A Whiplash says

    It’s a great tutorial, but the pure white is too stark for me. I’d have to do something colorful.

  3. IRIS says

    this is really a cute idea… one that just jumped to the top of my “to sew” list! Thanks for the tutorial.

  4. Kim says

    Oh wow. Thanks for bringing this up. We just redid our bathroom and there isn’t a shower curtain up yet. This might work but I am thinking more about the bedroom. Totally done in Shabby Chic and I could make this work!! Thank you for all the cool tuts you post.

  5. Sarah R. says

    I like the ruffle idea and since I have figured out how to use the ruffle foot on my sewing machine, I will be making lots of ruffles to put on dresses and skirts for my granddaughter.

  6. LaNette Towell says

    I must be deprived. I have never seen a shower curtain with more than one ruffle. This is a great idea. In fact, I’m going to make one. Rather than use a plain material, I’m going to use color and pattern together to make it unique. When I get it complete, I will post it. It may take me a while to finish. I can sew only at short stints due to physical limitations. But this is an idea that would look great as both a shower curtain and bedroom curtain that would tie my two rooms together.

  7. j prekup says

    Very cool shower curtain and your tutorial is easy to follow. Fabric is getting so expensive nowadays that sometimes I find myself checking out the curtains & drapes at the thrift shops. Esp that one set of silk drapes I saw.

  8. Raelyn says

    this is so pretty, I will have to put it in my “later when we have a house again” book. And a great tutorial easy to follow. Good job!

  9. Kim says

    I’m teaching myself to sew (can’t find adult beginner classes here!) and this is what I dream of doing someday!

  10. Pat.P says

    What a great compromise of some really fine looks! Saving that much money is just that much sweeter when the project you have to show for it turns out like this one did! Really inspiring for a bathroom makeover-thank you for sharing!!

  11. Marilyn Garcia says

    National Sewing MOnth

    I love the little ruffles in a wave. A perfect way to dress up that plain shower curtain I currently have.

  12. Maureen says

    Love it and I love the way you thought to use the extra wide muslin and the coupon. Fabric is just too expensive. Another good idea for this would be to use the train of a recycled wedding dress from a used clothing store. Too bad I hadn’t thought of it!


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