Soft Furnishings
& Curtain Making

Start Date

Enrol at any time & choose your start date. No term times or semesters.

Entry Requirements

No previous qualifications required, just an interest & enthusiasm for soft furnishings and interior design.

Course Duration

Online: 6–12 months (flexible)
In-Studio: 10 days in studio – 10 weeks at home - total 12 weeks


No exams — Tutor assessment only, portfolio moderation by AIM Awards.

Course Summary

This is the ideal course if you want to design and make beautiful hand finished curtain projects for your home, or if you would like to set up your own lucrative soft furnishings business and workroom. These specialist curtain making skills are highly sought after by interior designers and discerning clients. If you have an existing business but don’t have the advanced skills required to offer a hand finished design service, then you can enhance your business by studying flexibly around your existing projects. You can even go on to study a degree.

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Who Should Do This Course?

  • Do you love the different colours, textures and patterns of fabrics around you?

  • Would you like to make exclusive hand finished soft furnishings for your home?

  • Have you already made your own simple curtains successfully?

  • Would you like to start your own business but need a professional qualification?

If the answer is yes… then this is the course you are looking for!

The NDA Diploma in Professional Soft Furnishings and Curtain Making will put you on the path to starting the business you have always wanted. It will also give you the opportunity to study one of our degree courses if you decide you want to push your skills further.

What Will I Study?

You will study ten dedicated units during this professional diploma

Fabric Selection & Colour Theory

This unit introduces you to fabrics and linings and how to choose appropriate fabrics for curtain or soft furnishings designs. It also sparks your creativity by working with colour schemes, presentation boards and understanding the way colour affects your designs. This unit will underpin all your future projects. This unit also includes:

  • Recognising fabric types & their suitability for curtain designs
  • Understand colour theory, colour schemes and the psychological association of colour
  • Understand how to produce professional sample boards
  • Identify fabric suppliers and new collections
  • Recognise different fabrics and how these would have been used within particular historical periods

Estimation for Soft Furnishings

This unit will show you how to measure windows and how to design window treatments to enhance different styles of window. You will also learn how to estimate fabric quantities for curtains and soft furnishings. These are essential skills you will need before moving onto the sewing & construction methods for curtains and soft furnishings. This unit also includes:

  • Survey windows and record accurate measurements
  • How to design different window treatments
  • Enhance window proportions in terms of height and width through optimum design
  • The importance of adding hems and headings and choosing the correct fullness for curtains
  • Quantities for plain and patterned fabrics for window treatments

Mitres, Hand-Stitching Techniques & Pattern Matching

In this unit you will learn how to apply a range of techniques to ensure a professional finish is given to all types of window treatments and soft furnishings. This covers hand stitching, hand covered weights, mitred corners and joining multiple curtain lengths. This unit also includes:

  • True and false mitred corners and recognise where these would be used
  • Hand covered and commercial covered weights and when to use.
  • Hand stitches, how and where these should be applied
  • Applying correct stitch tension & finishing all stitches securely.
  • Suitable fabrics for pattern matching and understand how to join multiple widths combining hand and machine stitches
  • Hand drawn or CAD – students may produce either
  • Industry standard drawing conventions

Lined & Interlined Curtain Construction

This unit will give you a thorough understanding of the construction of various curtain designs including lining, interlining and decorative trim options with pencil pleat headings. You will apply all the techniques learnt to produce sample sized curtains and know how to transfer these skills to full sized curtain projects. This unit also includes:

  • Recognising the importance of using fire retardant fabrics
  • Suitable fabrics for the construction of curtains and window treatments
  • How to construct a pencil pleat curtain with interlining and a contrast trim
  • Apply all techniques and hand stitches on a sample sized curtain to a professional finish

Hand-Sewn Buckram Headers

This unit will take curtain making to the next level and you will learn how to apply a range of hand-made headings which can be used for both curtains and valances. You will construct valances with different types of hems and a range of hand-made headings.This unit also includes:

  • Constructing valances in proportion with window treatments
  • Constructing valances with different types of hems
  • Calculating pleat sizes & spaces for both curtains & valances
  • Constructing a range of handmade headings
  • Apply all techniques and hand stitches to sample sized curtains

Piped Crescent Tie-Back & Piped Cushion

This Unit covers a specific set of sewing skills including how to make piping and how to insert zips. You will apply these skills to construct a piped, crescent shaped tie back plus a piped cushion with a concealed zip. This unit also includes:

  • Cutting bias strips to use for constructing piping
  • Appropriate fabrics for tie backs, cushions and piping
  • Choosing appropriate filling for cushions
  • Constructing a piped crescent shaped tie-back
  • Cushions with a concealed zip and decorative piped trim

Roman Blinds

This unit will cover all the skills required to produce a sample sized, lined Roman blind to a professional standard. Learn how to accurately divide the blind into equal sections so the folds are flat with the rod pockets constructed within the lining and no stitches visible from the front side. This unit also includes:

  • Measuring a window for a roman blind treatment
  • Calculating the number of rod pockets and size of folds
  • Estimating fabric quantities for plain and patterned fabrics
  • Cut and prepare accurately
  • Constructing a sample sized, lined roman blind with hand finishes
  • Fitting & the importance of following child safety guidelines
  • Cascade blinds & traditional roman blinds

Padded Pelmets

This Unit covers all the sewing skills and techniques required to produce a sample sized, professional padded pelmet. You will also learn how to assess the pelmet proportions to suit the window and the chosen style of treatment. This unit also includes:

  • Understanding & estimating proportion for pelmets
  • Constructing pelmets using different types of stiffeners.
  • Constructing a sample sized, padded hardboard pelmet including the front and returns
  • Display the finishes that are relevant to the different sections.
  • How to add decorative trims and piping to a padded pelmet.

Swags & Tails

In this unit you will learn how to design swags and tails in proportion to window sizes. You will construct a sample sized, lined swag and tail, and learn the formula for producing swag templates. This unit also includes:

  • The proportions that apply to both swags and tails to enhance the overall look of the window
  • How to create a swag template using a formula
  • Choosing suitable fabrics for swags and tails
  • Positioning pleats on both a swag & tail to enhance the drape.
  • Producing a professional finish using a combination of machine and hand stitches

Setting-up a Curtain Making & Soft Furnishings Workroom

The final unit of the course looks specifically at setting up a professional work room and includes everything you need to know when starting a curtain making & soft furnishings business.This unit also includes:

  • How to set up a work room and the equipment necessary
  • Producing a costing sheet
  • Charging for your services
  • Identifying your customer groups
  • Different ways in which to market your business
  • How to source suppliers and set up trade accounts

Student Gallery

A sample of work completed by our talented interior design students

One Course, Two Ways To Study

Choose from flexible online learning or in-studio classes in the UK

Study Online

9–12 Months (Flexible)

The online Professional Diploma course is designed to be flexible to allow you to study around your career, family, and other commitments. Choose your own start date and study from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.

The online diploma is a 9-12 month course however, many students who have more time to study complete earlier. All assignments consist of design projects which are assessed by your Personal Tutor – there are no examinations.

Study In-Studio (UK)

10 days In-Studio 10 weeks home study (12 weeks total)

If you prefer a classroom-based study environment then our In-Studio blended learning course could be for you. It is particularly useful if you are looking to fast-track your qualification, either for a new career or for progression to degree level study.

You spend 5 days in-studio followed by 5 weeks home study projects, then a further 5 days in-studio with up to an additional 5 weeks to complete any project work for submission. Throughout home study, you have full online access to our resources and your Personal Tutor.

  • UK Government Funding (Diploma)

    UK residents pay approximately 50% course fees and funding from the UK government will pay the rest.

  • UK Government Student Loan (Diploma)

    No upfront course fees to find. If you are aged 19+ and have lived in England for 3+ years you are eligible.

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All NDA Professional Diplomas are accredited by AIM Awards. NDA is the only design school to be able to offer funding & student loans because our Diplomas are fully accredited.

Online Diploma Course Fees

Full Course Fee £1,590
UK Government Funding
NDA Funded Course Fee £695
There are three ways for UK students to pay for their Online Diploma:


£ 695 On Enrolment
Most Popular

8 x Monthly

£ 99 Per Month*
  • £792 in total

Student Loan

Covers Full Course Fee
£ 50 Admin Fee
  • on enrolment refundable

* Monthly payments include admin fee.

You can also Fast-Track your Diploma In-Studio!
There are two ways for International students to pay for their Online Diploma:

One Payment

$ 1,700 On Enrolment
  • Save $250 by paying in full
Most Popular

8 x Monthly Payments

$ 1,950 In Total*
  • $599 on enrolment
  • + 7 x $193 monthly repayments

* Monthly payments include admin fee.

All fees in US dollars.

You can also Fast-Track your Diploma In-Studio!

What's Next?


The Diploma in Professional Soft Furnishings & Curtain Making is designed to help you start your own Soft Furnishings Workroom and Design Service. Like the Diploma course itself, you can work flexibly for your clients around your family commitments and gradually expand your business. You could also study the Professional Interior Design Diploma to offer additional design services to your clients.

Higher Education

Students who have completed the NDA Diploma are offered a guaranteed place on one of our BA (Hons) degrees with a generous Progression Scholarship.

Degrees are awarded by our academic partner, De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), and they are studied online in the same way as your Diploma.

Ready to pursue your passion for
Soft Furnishings for Interior Design?

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