You Can Create a Lovely Bistro Style Awning

Yes, it’s just like an awning for the exterior of your home, but when you use it on the inside, it really makes a statement!

bistro-awning-1Wouldn’t it be great to travel to a quaint little bistro in the Mediterranean somewhere for a romantic lunch?  Well, Matt keeps insisting that you can get that very same feeling by sewing a bistro style awning for your dining room or breakfast nook window!  I know, it’s pretty hard to believe, but stay with me on this one, because he’s right!  First, gather all the materials you’ll need.

Materials  List:

  • Fabric of your choice
  • Co-ordinating thread
  • Sewing tools
  • Once café curtain rod
  • One curtain rod with extra long returns
  • Iron on shade interfacing
  • Co-ordinating decorative trim
  • Cardboard to make a template
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks


1. As with any window treatment, start by determining where you want the awning to be positioned. Usually it’s nice if it extends an inch or so passed the wood trim on the sides, and is mounted about two to four inches above the top trim piece.  Once this is settled, I think it’s a good idea to install the curtain rods, this gives you something real to measure against.  Install the café rod, which can be a wrought iron or brass or any finish for that matter.  Try to select one with brackets that keeps the top of the awning as close to the wall as possible.  If you want the awning top to actually touch the wall, you could install a flat café rod like the ones used on doors.  Next, install the lower curtain rod with the extended returns at a level where you want the awning to break before the scalloped edge.  It’s the distance between these two rods, and the length of the lower rod’s return that creates the angle of the awning.  The further down you install the lower curtain rod, the steeper the angle of the awning. (Doesn’t this take you right back to that dazed and confused feeling of geometry class?)  Never fear, once the rods are up, the rest is a snap!

2. Now it’s time to get a general feeling of the size of the awning.  Measure the approximate length, and add a few inches, then measure the approximate height, plus a little.  Make sure you have enough fabric to cut out a long rectangular awning piece with scallops, and two side panels. Then, iron the shade interfacing to the back of your fabric, following the interfacing instructions.

3. Now when you measure… it’s for keeps!  Measure from the top edge of the top rod, down and over the bottom rod, to a place where you’d like the scallops to end.  Take that measurement and add enough extra to make a header at the top for a rod pocket.  You won’t need a hem, since you’ll be cutting out scallops. The width of this awning piece is a little tricky to explain.  You want to measure the length of the top rod, the exact length you want for the awning.  For the rod pocket area, this is the exact measurement to cut.  However, for the rest of the same rectangle, you will need a seam allowance to sew the side panels to.  So, on each side add a 5/8” seam allowance from the rod pocket, down to the bottom edge where the scallops will be.  When this piece is cut out, it looks like a long rectangle with notches taken out of the two top corners.

4. Next, fold over the rod pocket, and sew it towards the backing.

5. Next, determine the size of the scallops, by measuring between the seam allowances and dividing by a nice scallop dimension, anywhere from 4” to 6”.  Make a scallop template out of card board, and pencil it onto the interfacing backing, and cut out the scallops.

bistro-awning-2 6. The next step is to hang the awning to make sure you like the height.  If everything is satisfactory, create another template for the side panels.  If you hold card board up to the outside end of the awning, butted up against the wall, and trace the angle and length of the awning from the inside, you can create a fairly accurate template.  Remember to add a seam allowance along the angle of the side piece when you trace around the template onto the fabric.  And, don’t forget to flip the template so you end up with a right and left side panel.  Cut the scallops in the side panels, and sew the sides to the awning at the seam allowances, then cut the allowances down fairly short.

7. The finishing touch to your bistro style awning is when you hot glue the co-ordinating decorative trim to the scallops and the inside edge of the side panels…. basically, along the raw edges. After you finish the first one, the rest will go together in minutes.  So if you plan on getting that bistro look by tomorrow at lunch time…. you better get started…NOW!


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