I hope all is well! This week I have a really exciting DIY to share with you. Usually, I am all about making clothes, but I also have a love for making home decor. Actually, my sewing journey started off by making pillows. When I moved into my new apartment, I made a list of all the things I wanted to make which includes, two window seat cushions, pillows, and several sets of curtains, to name a few. Well, almost a year into living here, I got around to making one thing on that list, a set of curtains for my sewing room! So let’s get into this week’s DIY for home!
So if you follow my Insta-stories, you may be familiar with my sewing space. If not, here it is pre-curtains and during the curtain hanging process.
Back in July, Stylish Fabric provided this lovely watercolor floral printed cotton canvas home decor fabric to me (click here to find). When I saw the fabric online, I thought the colors would go so well in my sewing room and I really wanted to use it to re-cover one of my sewing room chairs. However, after receiving the fabric, I noticed the chair I planned to re-cover was starting to waver and crack a bit, in other words, the chair is on its last leg. I decided maybe it is time for me to get a new chair instead. Therefore, I considered using the fabric to make one of those window seat cushions that I want, but the colors were just not working for my bedroom or living room. That is when it occurred to me that this fabric was meant for my sewing room from the beginning and that’s where my focus should stay. In that moment I thought, I still need curtains for this room! Which led to this…This is my first time ever making curtains. Before getting started, I referenced a few of my home decor sewing bibles and books. After my brain started spinning from trying to understand the techniques, I put the books back on the shelf and decided to sew from my heart instead, lol. So I made these the way I wanted to make them.
I made tab top curtains. I chose this style for this room, because I only ordered 3 yards of fabric for the chair I was going to re-cover. My sewing room window is 58.5 x 58.5 inches. I knew I would not have very much yardage to make sure the length was long enough. I figured the tab tops would add extra length to the fabric. I cut the floral home decor fabric in half, so I had 54 inches of length to work with for each panel. The width of the fabric is about 55 inches and I used the entire width including the selvage for each panel. I did not attempt to match the floral print between the two panels, so that the print would match at the center split. I was working with a shortage of fabric. However, I could tell the print would still flow very well regardless of matching the print.
Although I did not print match, I want to share a tip that a friend shared with me when I was helping her cut out several curtain panels this past summer. Many times on home decor fabric, you may find little plus signs on the selvage. These plus signs serve as guidelines for print matching when you have to make several panels. First you cut your first panel. For the second panel that will hang next to the first panel, you take your fabric and match the print up using the plus signs. Once you have the print aligned, you cut the second panel, and continue the process.The key is to have plenty of fabric to make sure you can start the print repeats where it need to be. With my friend’s floor length curtains, we ended up losing a lot of fabric between each panel to get those print repeats and plus signs matched up. Nevertheless, the scrap fabric can be used to make pillows, trim, or curtain ties.
One thing I love about this fabric is that on the selvage there is the word “Up” with a little arrow symbol pointing up, which was very helpful in making sure I kept the print in the right direction during the construction process. I referenced these symbols a lot, before placing the tab tops on. Usually, if I am sewing a garment where there is a directional print, I will make a similar mark on the wrong side of the fabric to make sure I don’t stitch pieces together upside down.I serged my floral fabric all around. I pressed over and stitched one inch at the top of the curtains. Along the sides I folded over the selvage which is an inch, then I folded it over again and pressed and stitched the sides down (so a total of two inches on each side edge.) After making the first panel, I became very concerned that the panels were too wide for the window (because remember I started sewing from the heart and didn’t measure the width, lol). One panel almost goes across the entire window. After talking it out with my friend, we came up with a solution which I discuss towards the end.
I used a gray chenille home decor fabric that I had in my stash from a local home decor store that went out of business. I cut out several of these tab tops back in February for living room curtains that I cut out but never started. I thought the gray fabric married so well with the gray tones in the floral fabric from Stylish Fabric. I used 14 tab tops (7 for each panel). I serged the edges of the tab tops to prevent them from fraying, then I folded over the long edges of each tab and stitched them down to get a nice finished edge.Each tab top measures at a width of 4.5 inches and the space in between each tab is about 3.75 inches. If I ever make tab top curtains again, I would make my tabs a little less wide, because on the curtain rod these wide tabs get a little crowded and the beauty of the curtain rod is a tad missed.
I attached the tab tops to the top of the curtains.
Once the tabs were attached in the front, I folded the other edge over to the back and attached it by top-stitching them in the front.
This created the loop to insert the curtain rod.
I hemmed my curtains at 1.5 inches. I like to baste my fold line as you can see in the picture below, it makes it so easy to fold over and press. At the end of this project, I removed the basting stitches. Instead of using the blind-hem presser foot on the machine to finish the hem, I blind-stitched the hem by hand. I am not a fan of the blind-hem presser foot on domestic machines, and as much as I do not love hand stitching I could not bring myself to use that presser foot.As I explained in my Insta-stories, my first garment sewing teacher taught us how to finish our hems by hand, because she said there was a certain beauty in the finish and it was your signature on the garment. So I have this in my head, plus I do not like seeing those little pinches in the hem when the blind hemmer picks up that little thread to attach the hem on the right side of the fabric.
For certain things and depending on how much time I have, I will grudgingly use the blind hem presser foot, but I just did not want to use it for my curtains (although it took me a few episodes of Law and Order to blind stitch these wide panels by hand). I have used a really good industrial blind hem machine, when I was taking courses with a tailor and I prefer that machine a lot more (I stalk Craigslist monthly looking for a good deal on one).
I finagled a mitered corner on the edges of each side of the panels’ hems.Once my curtains were all done, the dear friend that gave me that aforementioned tip, came over with her drill and hung my curtains up for me, yaaay!!! If it was left up to me, I would have hammered a couple nails in the wall to mount the curtain rod (as I do with everything else, lol). BUT I assisted her by handing her the drill, screws, and plastic cap things (a.k.a anchors).I found the curtain rod at that same local home decor store that went out of business for $20! Since the curtains were running a little on the shorter side, lengthwise, she hung the curtain rod mount 2 inches above the window…just enough to cover the top part of the blinds. The hem of the curtain hits almost exactly at the bottom of the window. The length works out great, because the curtains do not get in the way of my machines or table.
Back to what I mentioned earlier about the panels being too wide…to resolve that she extended the curtain rod out 11.25 inches away from the side of the window! Therefore some of the curtain is covering the wall, BUT it makes my window look so much bigger and it allows me to continue to get all of the daylight from the window when the curtains are fully opened (mic drop). Now I just need to move the items I have hanging on the sides of the walls over (or not, lol).
(You can see the distance of the curtain rod mounts on the top of each side of the window.)
All I can say to end this post is, I AM IN LOVE WITH MY SEWING ROOM CURTAINS!!!! It totally warms up the room and makes it feel even more lovely to sew in. Don’t forget to check out Stylish Fabric for this and other home decor fabric. It is a canvas fabric and can be used for other home projects or even making bags! Coupon code: Tee for 15% off your total purchase.
Have a great week and be safe!
Yours truly, Tee
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