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How to Make Japanese Curtains

Traditional Japanese noren are rectangular fabric panels, hung like curtains, that are divided for easy passage through a door or archway. Originally used on shop fronts to provide shade, block sun and wind and as an advertising medium, noren are now also used in homes. In modern homes, noren are used as window curtains, to screen a portion of the room, to divide rooms or as a wall hanging. Making a Japanese noren screen is an uncomplicated project, well-suited to those with minimal sewing experience. The screen is made of two flat panels, with a casement-type top hem or header, that hang on a basic curtain rod.


Step 1

Sketch the area where you plan to hang the noren curtain.  Measure and note the height and width of the doorway, window or wall that you intend to cover.

Note the dimensions on your sketch to help organize the curtain-making process.  Add 6 inches to the length to calculate the length of the panels.

Divide the width of the space by two, then add 3 inches to calculate the width of each panel.  Note these dimensions on your sketch.


Step 2

Lay the fabric on a flat surface.  Mark the dimensions of the panels on the fabric, using a yardstick and a chalk pencil.

Trim the two panels on the cutting lines with scissors.  Transfer one panel to an ironing board.

Lay it right-side down.  Make a 1/2-inch fold on the side edges of the panel and press in place.

Fold the sides again to make a 1-inch hem on each side of the panel.  Press on the folds.

Repeat to press the opposite vertical hem.  Stitch both side hems on both panels.


Step 3

Lay the panel on the ironing board, right-side down.  Make a 1/2-inch fold on the top edge of the panel, then press.

Measure and fold the top edge again to make a 3-inch casement-type header.  Press, then stitch in place.

Repeat to hem the top of the second panel. 


Step 4

Turn the bottom of the curtain panel to make a fold 1/2 inch from the lower edge, then press.  Turn the lower edge again and fold 2 inches from the bottom.

Press, then stitch in place.  Repeat to hem the lower edge of the second panel.


Step 5

Hang the noren by threading the casements of the panels onto a curtain rod.  Hang the rod onto installed curtain-suspension brackets.

Things You Will Need

  • Pencil and paper
  • Fabric
  • Yardstick
  • Chalk pencil
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Sewing machine

Tip

  • Curtain weights or nickels may be placed in the lower hem to make the panels hang straight.

About the Author

Denise Nyland "Denisen" is a long term resident of Panama City, Fla. She studied radiologic sciences and education and has published articles in multiple professional journals and contributed to various educational texts.