How to make Noren: Japanese room divider partition curtains のれんの作り方

Noren is a Japanese curtain commonly used to divide areas, such as the kitchen from the living room. You will also see noren at the entrance of many Japanese restaurants.

We’ve just moved into a studio in San Francisco. It’s less than half the size of our 2-bedroom apartment back home in Australia, but we don’t miss all that extra room at all;—it’s amazing how little space you need to live truly happy lives.

Our studio apartment has an eat-in kitchen that leads to the living room. There is a doorway opening between these two areas, but no door. So I thought a noren would be just the thing to separate the two rooms as well as keep in some heat in the living room.

Step-6-How-to-make-noren-room-divider-curtain-partition-sewing-pattern-tutorial

I bought the fabric, a thick brown and cream chambray, at the Fabric Outlet in the Mission. It cost me a little less than $12 for 2 yards. The buttons are handmade by the lovely Sarah at Fulton & Co.

You will need

  • Fabric (thick, woven fabric both to block light and look attractive from the reverse side)
  • Curtain rod
  • Buttons, ribbons, etc for embellishment

Instructions

Step 1

Measure your doorway width and height. Divide the width by half and add on 9cm at the top, 4cm at the bottom and 1cm on the two side edges for seam allowance. Cut two pieces.

Step 2

Right sides facing, stitch the top 19cm (9cm for curtain rod loop + 10cm for closed section of noren)  to create the centre flap of the curtain. Press the 1cm seams apart. 

Step 3

Fold and press the seam twice at 5mm intervals to hide the raw edge. I also did a basting stitch to hold the seam together as my fabric was quite thick.

Step 4

Stitch seams and remove basting stitches.

Step 5

Repeat with side edges. Fold and press top edge to 9cm mark. Ensure your curtain rod fits! Stitch.

Step 6

Hem the bottom of the curtain and you’re finished! 

Leave your noren plain, or embellish with pretty buttons and embroidery. I drew a pattern directly on my noren. I bought these pens by Chako Ace in Japan; the ink fades gradually over time! I then stitched on some ceramic buttons.

12 Responses to “How to make Noren: Japanese room divider partition curtains のれんの作り方”

  1. Tutorial – How to Make a Room Divider Curtain

    [...] Room Divider Tutorial at Sew in Love Blog [...]

  2. Jessica

    Oh this is great! We too just moved into a much smaller place, and have an open doorway between the kitchen and dining/craft room. While I don’t have any thick fabric like that in my stash, I’m fairly sure I can improvise a way to make it double sided with quilting cotton. :) Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Rin

    You’re welcome Jessica :) That’s a great idea to have a double sided noren curtain. It’s always better to use stuff from the “stash” isn’t it!

  4. Mei

    Thank you! It looks great!!!

  5. Share A Creative life – Rin from Sew in Love | Bollywood News

    [...] The apartment would seriously not be the same without it. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a noren room divider curtain. It’s very easy and you can make one to suit your decor. What challenges [...]

  6. Beth

    So glad you posted this. It’s just the idea I needed. And you make it look very easy and straight-forward. Love the design touch. You say you drew on the design but it looks stitched to me? If it is indeed stitched, did you hand-stitch it?

  7. Rin

    Hi Beth. So happy you like the idea of the noren.
    I drew the design, and then embroidered over it. I did back-stitch by hand.

  8. Nicole

    Rin, your noren is gorgeous. Is the fabric ombre colored? Also, I was wondering what kind of effect embroidery (with a large scale design) has on the back side of the noren. Maybe I should just keep it simple. :) Thanks for the guide!

  9. Rin

    Thanks Nicole! No the fabric is solid, kind of like a tweed knit, so it has a many tones of brown through it.
    There’s no design on the back of the noren, just knots and stitches from the leaves on the front :)

  10. Anja

    thanks for this post! I want to make a noren for my kitchen door and couldn’t figure out how to sew the upper quarter together, now I know and it’s so easy! Thanks a lot :)

  11. Stephanie Nyzio

    Thank you Rin. I traveled to Japan last summer and fell in love with the Norens, how they looked and the idea behind their function. I want to make one so I bought a heavy linen. I want to hang it on a porch to block a very close house next door. It will be exposed to the elements 3 months of the year. Do you think the fabric is a good choice and if I were to ink or paint a design, what medium would you suggest? I would like it to look simple and elegant.

  12. Rin

    Hi Stephanie. So glad you liked the noren tutorial.

    I’m not really familiar with painting fabrics, so I’m not sure what medium would suit your project. I suggest asking at your local craft store.

    Thanks,
    Rin

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