I had lots of projects lined up for my mom’s visit. We are both doers and thrive on productivity, so it suits us to have an ambitious to-do list. As her 10 day visit was winding down, we had checked almost everything off my list. My mom looked at the sad curtains in my master bedroom, a hold-over from the previous owners.
“Let’s just take care of these curtains.”
She knows that sewing is something I do, because I like the end result. But, I don’t really like sewing. I could completely do without it in my life. I do, however, like expanding my options beyond curtains and pillows that are ready-made. I believe that sewing is one of the best DIY skills you can have in your arsenal. For that reason, I just suck it up, put on some good music, do it, and enjoy it when the project is done.
So, my mom, in all of her wisdom, suggested we knock out this project, since I will drag my feet on doing it. (In fact, I have been dragging my feet on doing it!) Having a helper will make it easier and quicker and then that roll of beautiful toile fabric can finally be put to use.
I honestly didn’t feel like crawling around on the floor, pinning large curtain panels. I didn’t want to fight with bobbins and sewing machine snags. But, I knew she was right (as mom’s often are), so I unrolled the fabric and suggested we at least get the fabric cut and pinned and then we can see if we want to keep going.
Well, we worked hard and pushed and got both double-width panels done. And, it was glorious to have gorgeous custom-made curtains with black-out lining in my room and to no longer have that project looming on the horizon.
I’ve made a lot of curtains over the years and I’ve done a lot of research on different ways to make curtains. I finally found the best way (for me), when I wrote THIS TUTORIAL a few years ago for HGTV.com. So, that is the same method I used for these curtains.
(I’m still looking for furniture pieces for this room, so it’s a little random right now, but just ignore that and look at the curtains.)
I did make a few changes since I wrote that tutorial and I will share some additional/updated tips to make curtains that look great, but aren’t overly complicated.
One of the best changes I made is that I hung the curtains before I sewed the top and pinned the top seam as they were hung. This way, I could make adjustments for a floor that isn’t completely level and the curtains will hang much better. (It is a strange thing… I can measure the length from the curtain ring clips to the floor and the fabric 15 times each and, when I sew them and hang them up, they still end up being too long or too short. I’ve had this happen so many times that I think there is some crazy phenomenon that throws measurements askew only when sewing curtain headers.)
I also didn’t add weights to these curtains, because the black-out fabric was heavy enough to weigh the lighter, linen-blend fabric down.
- Iron every seam before you sew it. This was my mom’s job and it helped a lot with making sure hems and folds were nice and straight.
- Work in “assembly line” fashion instead of finishing one panel at a time. This really helped us get into a rhythm and I think we worked faster because of it.
- When putting together double-width curtains, make sure you have a large floor space cleared, so you can spread the panels out straight.
- Check and double-check that you’re lining up your pattern, not just with the double-widths that are sewn together, but with the other panel as well. Some patterns are forgiving, but some will look very off if the patterns aren’t aligned.
We were so pleased with these and how quickly we were able to complete them, that we finished the curtains in the living room and kitchen eating area, too! Those hours crawling around on the floor cutting and pinning were well spent.
I’ll share how those turned out in another post.
This room still has a ways to go, but it’s coming together nicely!