In-Studio Diploma

Soft Furnishings
& Curtain Making (UK)

Entry Requirements

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

Course Duration

10 days In-Studio + Up to 10 weeks of home study projects


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

Course Summary

As an alternative to flexible online study our live ‘In-Studio’ Course Diploma in Professional Soft Furnishings and Curtain Making allows you to join other like-minded soft furnishings enthusiasts for a more hands-on and collaborative approach to learning. Your tutor will share all the professional hints and tips for the design and construction of amazing hand finished curtains and soft furnishings. Step by step you will construct samples of a wide range of beautiful soft furnishings.

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What Will You Learn?

With these skills you will be able to tackle your own projects more professionally, start your own business or enter the curtains and soft furnishing industry with the practical knowledge required to work with your clients.You’ll also learn how to establish industry contacts, where to source material, samples, fittings and accessories, everything you need to start building a professional design community with your peers.

Whilst receiving hands-on advice directly from our highly experienced NDA Tutors, the In-studio course brings together a fantastic mix of students, helping to create an exciting, friendly and dynamic class with the chance to share ideas with fellow up and coming designers.

Course Duration

The Diploma course consists of 5 days in-studio followed by 5 weeks of home study projects, then a further 5 days in-studio with an additional 5 weeks to complete any outstanding projects for submission to complete your course.

We are passionate about delivering high-quality courses to our students, and as we believe that students learn faster in smaller groups, we cap the student numbers attending each studio course.

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Next Available Studio Course Dates

Nottingham, UK

1st Week:

2nd Week:

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

In-Studio Gallery

Images of our talented Diploma students hard at work in our In-Studio sessions

  • 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.

In-Studio Diploma Course Fees

Full Course Fee £1,995
UK Government Funding
NDA Funded Course Fee £995
There are three ways for UK students to pay for their In-Studio Diploma:

One Payment

£ 995 On Enrolment
Most Popular

3 x Monthly Payments

£ 368 Per Month*
  • £1,104 in total

UK Student Loan

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

* Monthly payments include admin fee.

International students have a choice of two locations to study their In-Studio course:


$ 2,950 On Enrolment



All fees in US dollars.

What's Next?

Higher Education

Diploma students are offered a guaranteed place on one of our BA (Hons) degree courses 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.


The Diploma in Professional Soft Furnishings & Curtain Making is designed to help you start your own Soft Furnishings Workroom and Design Service. In the same way you have studied the Diploma course, 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.

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

What Our Students Say...

Hear what past and present students have to say about studying In-Studio at the NDA