Re-purposing German Lace Curtains

Re-purposing Lace Curtains

I have a lot of really nice lace curtains that were made in Germany so the type of hanger system isn’t quite the same as here in the United States.  Over the years I have figured out how to use them with various hooks, they even worked well with a finagled shower curtain loop.

When I moved into this home, however, I found that these lovely curtains would not fit to many of the windows without resewing them.  I did find smaller panels when I first moved in but since they have been hanging on the same windows for at least 15 years the panels have been damaged by the sun and constant cleaning.  It was time for them to go.

The project has an extra day! I inherited this Bernina Record sewing machine from my Aunt, who was a professional seamstress.  Well, it took me an extra day figuring out how to use it.  Thank goodness the “basics book” was with the machine, inside the console.  I must admit that the machine sewed like a champ once I finally got it going.  I did have to make a run to the store and buy some more needles because I wasn’t careful and broke the only one I had.  *blushing now*

Bernina Record

Preparing the fabric.  First I had to release the ruffling string on the top so I could get some solid measurements by laying the fabric flat.  My living room was almost too small.

german lace

I must have measured the window and lace ten times because if I didn’t leave enough allowance for the rod casing there would be no second chance.  Since the curtain came with a hemmed weight in the bottom I knew I wouldn’t have to sew a new hem at the bottom.  But the top would have to be exact.


First step was to cut the top.

german curtains

Then I needed to fold the lace in half because I would be making two new panels to cover four windows, two windows on either side of the room.

german lace curtain

The next step was to seam the top rod casing.  Pinning and measuring then ironing the lace where the seams would be sewn.  I allowed enough fabric to make a one inch ruffle on top and enough room for the rod to slide through.  Total of about three inches.

Here is a snap of the left and right side of the room with the finished lace curtains that have been adapted to a standard curtain rod.

lace curtains


In with the new and out with the old.  Project done.  Thanks for reading.

old lace


19 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Dusty said,

    Wow! Those are pretty! Quite a job with such a large project. Turned out great!
    Are lace curtains that are made in Germany better quality than we have here? Unless you shop the high end stores, so many I have seen don’t have the beautiful lacey look that these do.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • 2

      grouchow said,

      @Dusty … They are made to last and really are great quality. It took about 15 years for the sun to finally do damage but even the tops of the curtains are in good shape because the sun didn’t get there.

  2. 3

    David Olson said,

    They look good. Now I know who to go to when I need some new curtains. Ha Ha

  3. 5

    goldigold said,

    Beautiful material, and looks like a well done job.. Congrats to you.

  4. 7

    Ace, these are beautiful!! And I’ve always loved the lace. Great post but I have a question . . . . is wordpress now putting in ads, automatically??

  5. 9

    Well, I thought I left a comment!! But they are making me run around and sign in again!! Anyway, great post! Awesome curtains. I’ve always loved lacey ones. There was an ad for a movie (youtube) on the bottom til I signed in?? Is WordPress putting ads in now?

  6. 11

    chateycathey said,

    Ace they are beautiful and your windows look pretty. I love that lace and I have two sewing machines but I do not think I would tackle what you did. I would be afraid I would cut them wrong and ruin all that gorgeous lace. Nice job, you should be proud of yourself.

  7. 13

    Shirley said,

    What an amazing job you did. The lace curtains are so lovely, I am wishing I had some for my bedroom. Wasn’t sure what I was going to get, but I want lace. Where do I get some as beautiful? Help!

    • 14

      grouchow said,

      @Shirley… Thank you for the nice compliment. I am sure you could probably find someone selling used curtains right here on the internet. You could certainly check out auction sites. When buying make sure there is enough fabric so that there is double the width of your window so you still get a nice ruffle at the top. You might even find a European, who doesn’t know how to sew, wishing to sell their curtains. Best of luck.

      • 15

        Shirley said,

        Thanks for the prompt reply. I’m new (3 days) to reading Blogs. I must say the ones I’ve chosen have been fun,interesting and informative. Thanks, too, for the suggestions. I’ll start looking.

      • 16

        grouchow said,

        Shirley, when surfing the web what you want to type into search is “french lace curtains vintage”. That should get you some good results.

      • 17

        Shirley said,

        Will do & thanks.

  8. 18

    Nancy Minsky said,

    Interesting photos of your beautiful German Lace Curtains. My husband Barry and I spent two tours in Germany, with Vicenza inbetween. We were blessed to have 7 years and a great ministry. I also have lovely light pink German Lace Curtains–full length and long, with pleats at the top. Do you know what I could use to attach to the German lace curtains securely to hold up the weight and then how could they be attached to the curtain rod. I have round wood curtain rings, but no way to attach.

    • 19

      grouchow said,

      @ Nancy… Hi, without seeing your curtains and the size of the rod it is kind of tricky to help you out. But I can say I have had good success using Round Shower curtain loops. You can put the skinny part of the loop through the curtain tape and snap together. The large loops slide really well on the rod too. Thanks for reading my article. 😉

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