Measure Twice – Cut Once

How to measure for curtains and ensure you Measure Twice – Cut Once

To get the perfect fit for your longed for new curtains it is essential you measure accurately to get the perfect fit, treat regardless of whether you’re buying ready-made curtains or ordering bespoke made to measure.

Curtain width measurements will depend on the length of your curtain track or pole, but measuring curtain length or ‘drop’ will be determined by where you’d like your drapes to end.

First off, the right tools for the right job, so use a metal tape measure that way you will have better accuracy and follow these guide on how to measure to ensure get those dimensions right!

Measuring for a curtain track or pole

If you do not already have the track or pole in place we would advise fitting before you measure.

Fit your track or pole approximately 15cm (6″) above your window recess and centre ensuring you have 15-20cm (6-8″) either side of the window. For your curtains to fit correctly, you should measure the width of the window and add 30/40cm (8-10″), which will ensure your curtains fully cover your window.

Measuring curtain width

If you’re using a curtain track, measure the tracks full length and for poles, measure the length of the pole only, do not include the finials (the decorative stop pieces on the end).

Use your curtain pole or track length to calculate the width of your curtains. To achieve a soft gathered look when your curtains are closed, use the header type to calculate the following:

For a ‘pencil pleat’ finish: Measure pole or track width x 2

If you are usuing eyelets: Measure pole or track width x 2

Or if you have a ‘tab top’ finish: Measure pole or track width x 1.5

If you would like your curtains to overlap in the middle when closed, which we recommended, add a further 2.5cm (1″) to the width measurement.

Measuring curtain length

Make a clear decision on where you want your curtains to end.

If you would like sill length then the curtains should finish 1.25cm (1/2″) above the sill to prevent wear to hems

Or if you want to finish below the window sill then the curtains should finish 15cm (6″) below the sill . This will block out light and draughts.

If you want to go all the way to the floor then the curtain should finish 1.25cm (1/2″) above the floor so as to prevent wear to the hems.

If you have a radiator below your window we would recommend your curtain sits 3cm (1 ½ “) above the top of it so its heat can escape into your room and not be lost up behind your curtains.


When measuring the ‘drop’ of your curtains, keep in mind the type of finish your curtains will have, all are different.

If you are planning a pencil pleat on a curtain track, be sure to measure from the top of the track to your chosen end point (e.g. windowsill, floor). Likewise, hanging from a pole, make sure you measure from the bottom of the pole rings to the curtains to end


Measurements for eyelet and tab top curtain, ensure you measure from the top of the curtain pole to where you want your curtain to finish. And note: eyelet and tab top curtains can only be used with a curtain pole.

For pencil pleat = If you have a track measure from the top of the track and if you have a pole measure from the eye of the curtain hook as it sits on your pole

For tab top = Measure from the top of your pole

For eyelet = Measure from the top of your pole and add 2.5cm (1″) to account for the fabric that will sit above the eyelet of the curtain

You can literally cut your cloth accordingly too. If you’d like your curtains to drape on the floor or the window sill for a fuller, more relaxed feel, just add a little bit of extra to the length.

And a final tip is to remember that windowsills and floors are not always level, so be sure to measure at two or three points across the drop of the curtain and use the smallest measurement to which will give you the best fit.

And remember: Measure twice, cut once!

*The above is a guide and all measurements are the responsibility of the customer if they are supplying these details and Sandra Jane at Home is not responsible for incorrectly supplied measurements. We would always recommend we visit and measure for customers.