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Topic: A very discouraging project...don't underestimate curtains (img heavy)  (Read 3200 times)
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« on: December 13, 2013 06:05:04 PM »

A couple months ago, my boyfriend and I bought our first house. Woohoo! As soon as we started closing, we went inside the house and took measurements so I could make curtains. I got some basic tips from Diana Rupp's book SEW and bought my fabric. Now, this entire time, I kept thinking, "Rectangles. I can sew rectangles. I've sewn clothing for myself, and I'm so picky about how things fit my body!" Joke was on me. I don't know what my deal was, but I seemed to mess up every measurement, every cut, every stitch. Anyway, after several weeks of slaving away (seriously, this project was so much bigger than I'd expected), I finally finished my six sets of upholstery suede drapes.

A couple things I learned the hard way from this project (and advice from others):

1. The book SEW explained how to figure the number of rings you need. Really, it was exactly the method I had figured. But after several times of confusing the heck out of myself, I figured out a WAY better way. Fold your curtain in half. Make a small mark on the inside of the fold with chalk. Fold the left side into the center. Mark this as well. Fold the right side into the center. Mark likewise. Keep doing this until it looks like an appropriate amount of rings. WAY easier and more dummy-proof than calculating, especially when you're sewing the rings like I did.

2. Wider rings work so much better. Some of my curtains have one-inch rings. They were harder to sew on straight, and they didn't help keep the curtains' shape as well. My guest bedroom curtains have three-inch-wide rings, and they look so much better and were much more manageable.

3. This tip is the most important: Cut your curtains like you would any other projects (that is, accounting for the hem) except ADD an additional inch or two to the bottom. Cut, sew, hem, finish, etc. the top edge and both sides. Leave the bottom raw. Hang the curtains and let them drape for a week or two. THEN go back and hem the bottom, making very sure to measure carefully, because many windows are actually not straight due to settling of the house. If you don't have time to let the curtains drape, at least take my advice and hem the bottom very last after carefully inspecting the actual length that needs to be hemmed. I very wrongfully assumed that, like all the other hems, I would just hem up the amount that I calculated. Turns out the stitching had shortened the sides more than I expected, so the corners of my curtains are extra-high.

Hope you have better luck than I did! And sorry the white balance is really off in these pictures...

Living room:

Bedroom (just realizing how brown it is...geez) (did paneling, because I got too little blue- did the "little leaf stitch" in blue on the brown hem and in brown on the blue hem where the panels meet):



Guest bedroom:

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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2013 06:12:55 PM »

I think these look great!
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2013 11:56:33 PM »

Very interesting project. And you have some crazy size windows in that house! No wonder it was frustrating to figure the sizings. But you did a grand job. And I am glad you chose the tab tops for them. Those are much easier to open and close.

Idea for the ones that went wonky? Add on a wide border underneath in your choice of fabric color/pattern for that room. Like a wide ribbon strip? And just even things up!  Wink You could also add a similar type strip down the sides or middle of each panel. I have seen this done in some of the professional home interior design books that I get. It helps balance the idea, and makes it look planned.


Oh, or lengthen the tabs on the sides that show higher. Another option, as it doesn't look like it is more than 1/2" off, or so. I don't think you would notice it at the top.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013 12:00:48 AM by stillatthetop » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2013 08:26:47 AM »

I think your curtains look great myself.  That's a lot of work, but I bet you saved hundreds of dollars from store bought curtains.

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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2013 10:29:09 AM »

Thank you so much everyone! And extra thanks to stillatthetop for the great suggestions! Cheesy
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013 05:15:10 PM »

I used your advice about the rings while making myself a curtain a few days ago, thank you!

« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2013 07:07:02 PM »

I used your advice about the rings while making myself a curtain a few days ago, thank you!

Hooray! I LOVE knowing that I helped someone!
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2014 11:30:53 AM »

Kudos to not giving up on such a tough project!  I might not have done so.  Thank you SO much for sharing your experience so we can all learn from your tips! They turned out great, and having the hems a little high on the sides gives your curtains a nice little flair at the corners which actually looks quite nice, even if not what you intended. 
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2014 03:18:19 PM »

Heh, thank you so much! It really was tough not to give up and just buy pre-made ones.
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2014 05:45:29 AM »

You are very brave to tackle curtains for your entire house!  But, they are really expensive to buy and I find a lot have to be fitted to your windows anyway...

I think they look fine!  If you think any are too short, I would add maybe a contrasting panel to the tops or bottom.  You learned a lot from your experience, so when you tire of them, it will be easier to make new ones!  I really like the ones in your bedroom...I have weird high windows like that but I chose to use purchased curtains and just made valances.

Your sewing experience continues to expand...I am so proud of you...

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