Curtains, DIY

I spent last weekend sewing.  My sewing machine hasn’t seen this much use since the summer the National Constitution Center opened.  That year my dance group was performing as part of the opening festivities around July 4 and we needed to be in authentic colonial garb.  You can see another of our historical-interpretation performances here and here.  In a hurry, I made my own colonial-style ladies’ jacket (I already had a shift, skirt, and apron, but I’d been wearing them with a more modern lace-up vest with grommets—uncool for colonial re-enacting).  I’m wearing the colonial jacket in the second video linked above ,but I’m not in the first video.

Now my pins…they have NEVER seen so much use.  I spent way more time pinning than I did sewing, and I used a LOT of pins!

Anyway, the weekend’s first projects were hemming pants so I won’t step on and consequently wear out the ends of the legs, and hemming my colonial skirt so (a) I don’t trip on it in performances and (b) I don’t have to roll the waist into a big lump around my middle.  Perhaps you who haven’t met me are now figuring out that I am short.  Yep!  And while I know I won’t be one of the cool kids now that I won’t wear out the end of my pants legs, that is OK seeing as I am not a kid, and I am a science nerd, so I am not expected to look cool.  Professional, that’s the word the school administration and the union both use when talking about how teachers dress.  We don’t have to wear ties, but we have to look professional!

The much bigger (and more time-consuming) project was the curtains of the title above, which I started making a little under a year ago for my office.  I went curtain-shopping, and the curtains you can buy in Bed Bath and Beyond are generally ugly or in unsuitable colors to go in a yellow-painted room, and the ones you can buy at Target generally have only low odd numbers of curtains available.  You can buy one, or three, but not four (the right amount for two windows).  At least, this is true of the curtains available in the store.  Online, there may be more options, but you have to buy them without touching them or seeing the colors in person.  With two stores struck out, I didn’t have the enthusiasm to continue my search at K-Mart or WalMart.

So, my only option was to go the do-it-yourself route.  I measured my windows (happily, both are the same size even if they are at different heights), bought café rods and put them up, and planned my project.   I needed to allow a one-inch space for the curtain rod, I wanted some extra fabric at the top, I wanted the hems just above the stool (the part most people call the sill, but which our buyer’s agent explained to us isn’t when he was helping us buy our house), and I wanted the curtains to look full even when all the way closed.  I also wanted  reasonable light-blockage, just in case.

I chose two fabrics and bought enough of each for two curtains, so I could make them striped.  I bought enough of the lightest muslin I could find to make four curtains.  That would be the liner that would help block more light, or that I could close separately for privacy while still letting some light in.  First, I cut the front fabrics to the appropriate lengths, and sewed them together in four-stripe panels.  I decided which end was the top end and made sure I had two sets with the greenish fabric in the center of the window, and the blue and white print on the outside edges.

Then I waited about 10 or 11 months before doing anything more.  The panels were flung over the rods in the meantime, looking unfinished and tacky.

The next step was to attach the liner at the top (leaving it unattached at the bottom).  This would enable me to hang both the curtain and liner as one piece, but they would still hand as separate pieces.  I had a very long piece of muslin, so I attached the front panels one at a time onto ironed segments of my liner, cut it at the appropriate length, and then pinned the next one on.  I folded back and pinned the edges, for finishing in the next step.  Then, an easy straight seam on each.  Heck, all the seams in this project were easy, straight seams.  Yay!

Next, finishing the edges.  the liners got wide edge-hems, and the curtains got narrow ones.

Here is the double line of stitching to create the tube to stick the curtain rod through:

And then, hemming the curtain fronts with a 1.5-inch hem, and the liners with a 2-inch hem, so they wouldn’t show under the fronts.

Installation involved sticking the large end of the rod through both curtains, before inserting the smaller end into the larger end, putting up the rod, and re-distributing the fabric.

Extra muslin and some binder clips are acting as curtain ties until I decide curtain ties are a project worth working on!

One Response to “Curtains, DIY”

  1. Doris Says:

    Hooray, they’re done! And, they look very nice! I hate sewing things like curtains…somehow, my measuring is always a little off, and they never satisfy me. I like blinds or shades…

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