Monday 9 July 2012

Slapdash Curtains

WARNING!  If you are a professional curtain-maker, you may want to look away now...

I'm quietly convinced that the previous incumbent of my little cottage was a bit of an exhibitionist.  When I moved in, there were curtains in the living room, a blind in the kitchen and a blind in the bathroom that didn't actually work.  Nothing on the bedroom window.  Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not too fussed about people seeing me cook, or seeing me sitting in my living room crocheting away, but I'm not so keen on sharing my bedroom and bathroom habits with the world.  I managed to fix the bathroom blind by dismantling and reassembling it, but the bedroom required a stitchy solution...

How to make a pair of slapdash curtains.

1)  Dig through your fabric box.  Admire all the contents.  Pack the fabric box away.

2)  Go to bed.  If you've done #1, it will have taken you most of the day.  Wake up the following morning knowing exactly which bit of fabric you're going to use.

3)  Check that you've got enough fabric.

I decided that I probably did have enough, so duly went ahead and lopped the piece in half.  Then I had a small panic attack and ran upstairs to peg the pieces against the window to double check.  A normal person would probably use a measuring tape.

4)  Find a lining fabric.  I had an old fitted sheet that was perfect for the job.  It also meant that it was ready-hemmed.  I hate hemming, but more about that later.

5) Chop 10 identical rectangles of fabric.  These will be the tabs at the top of the curtains which mean you can hang them.  No faffing with curtain tape.

6)  Fold and pin the side hems of the outer fabric.  Measure and cut the lining pieces and then slot them in under the side hems.  If you've used a fitted sheet, there will be one very crinkly corner of lining.  This is exasperating and you will need a cup of tea.  Or gin.

7)  Take everything to The Beloved's to press.  I don't have an iron, he does.  Maybe you have an iron too, in which case you don't have to drive to Milton Keynes for this bit.

8)  Get sewing.  By now, I was really hankering after a bit of hand sewing so I sewed all the tabs by hand and the side hems, attaching the fold of the hem of the outer fabric to the lining.

9)  Get bored.  Unpack sewing machine.  The stitches on the tabs at the top of the curtains and one side hem are neat and teeny and look like they were done by pixies.  The other three side hems look like they were done by a woman who realised she had made a terrible mistake but couldn't turn back now.  For the sake of my sanity, I chose to machine the tops.

10)  I pinned and tacked the tops in place.  I'd already cut a couple of strips of the outer fabric to use as a sort of placket (is that the right word?) to neaten the tops on the inside.  I usually just pin and go, but Old Faithful is in storage at The Beloved's so I only have my mini sewing machine here.  It's a plucky little thing, but I thought hitting a pin might be more than it could cope with.

Because I'm lazy, I just top-stitched the lot into place.  I did grit my teeth and hand sew the bottom of the placket-y thing to the lining.

11)  Like I said, I hate hemming.  Hemming is to sewing what sewing in ends is to crochet.  It's a fact of life that most of my sewing projects languish on a hanger for a month or two before I can face giving them a nice neat bottom.  So while the machine was out, and before I could think about it too much, I whizzed across the bottom of the curtains.

12)  Hang your curtains.  Try not to notice the wonky bits.

Photograph them from a suitable distance so that your blog readers can't really see what a botch job they are.  (NB, if you have to take the photo from the next room, you might want to consider putting them back in the fabric box and buying a pair)


  1. Hi.
    I have just found your blog and spent a very happy hour or so reading through your old posts. There goes the housework for another day. I made a cushion cover the other day which my hubby described as 'having a refreshingly handmade quality to it' but did suggest I move it when his boss came round yesterday. Strangely enough I forgot.

  2. And a very fine pair of curtains they are, in particular the way you've ingeniously matched the floral pattern so it flows in a flourishing sweep across the drapes when closed - a mistressful touch - and of course, there's nothing more important, or beguiling than a nice neat bottom! :-)

  3. *looks in mirror*


    If only all bottoms could be neatened on a sewing machine...