Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's Curtains for You

My master bedroom suffered from a case of the drearies. It has only two windows, a north-facing window, and an east-facing window. Outside both windows is heavily wooded. That makes for a pretty shady room. What makes for an even shadier room are the dark brown roman blinds the previous owner had installed. The room was pretty great for sleeping in, but not so great for the rest of the day. Something needed to change. My HOA says that I can't cut down all the trees on my lot, so it looks like the blinds will have to go. 

Luckily, I spotted this great fabric at a Crate and Barrel Outlet store. It was only $5 a yard! This pattern isn't for the faint of heart, but I love it! I wish I'd gotten more for a tablecloth for the kitchen table. Sadly, my fuchsia table will remain naked for the time being. But, my windows are fully clothed! And that's what we're here to talk about today. So, let's get to it.

First, I took down the old shades and threw them away. They were pretty ratty looking, so I didn't donate or sell them. Then, I figured out a good spot for the new curtain rods I got at Target. I placed them 3 inches outside the window molding and 7.5 inches down  from the 8 foot ceiling. I don't have a level, so I just measured a couple times and trusted my yard stick.

After I installed the rod, I used iron-on hem tape to make 1 inch hems on each side of the curtain to 'tuck in' the unattractive edges. I also threw a quick 1 inch hem into the top of my curtain to hide the raw edge.

Then, I used some curtain rings to I hang it up. I measured how long I'd need the curtains to be by folding up the excess at the bottom and placing in a few pins to indicate how long the curtain should be.

Next, I took the curtain down and laid it on my ironing board. The pins ended up being 8 inches from the bottom of the fabric. I didn't want to cut off the excess fabric because I'll probably be taking these to my next home, and I want to be able to adjust the height if need be.

So, I folded over 4 inches and ironed the seam. Then, I folded that over 4 inches and ironed that seam as well. I sewed a line across at the hem to keep everything together.

After my curtain panel was done, I discovered that it didn't do much in the way of preventing people from looking into my bedroom. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm not the kind of person who enjoys putting on a show for the neighborhood every time I get changed.

Luckily, I had some Ritva curtains from Ikea waiting in the wings. So, I slapped those bad boys up on the curtain rods to measure how long they should be.

The curtains come with some iron-on hem tape, but I decided not to use it because I don't know if I'll want to alter the length somewhere down the road. So, I hemmed these the same way I did the curtain. Using my folding and pinning method, I discovered my curtains needed to be about 12” shorter. I intentionally made this backing curtain a little shorter than the panel so it wouldn't peak out at the bottom.

At my ironing table, I folded over 6” at the bottom and ironed, then I folded that over 6 inches and ironed again. Off to the sewing machine for a quick stitch across the bottom, and I was ready for hanging! Well, actually, I was ready to make another curtain for the other window, but then I was ready for hanging!

I think my little curtain making method worked out quite well for me. I'm sure when it comes to whipping up a curtain panel, there's more than one way to skin a cat (what a terrible saying), so use whatever method appeals to you the most. If you don't have a sewing machine, use iron-on hem tape or fabric glue. If, unlike me, you actually know how to use your sewing machine, sew away!

And don't get discouraged by fabric prices. It seems like people online are spending upwards of $50 a yard for curtain fabric. That can drain a wallet pretty quickly. Just keep your eyes peeled for fabric, and think outside of the box when it comes to colors and patterns -I'll even show you how to use a tablecloth as a curtain. I live sort of in the sticks, and I frequently come across inexpensive fabric that would make great curtains. This is especially true if you print out or otherwise obtain a 40% coupon to Joann Fabrics or Hobby Lobby. I've read that Joann's will take competitor coupons (like the 40% off coupons from Michael's), but I haven't tried it yet.

Do you have a window that could use a new curtain?  

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