Sunday, February 12, 2012

Curtains...

I have been sewing curtains!
This is our central hallway, an area that has been curtain-less since... well, since ever.  It has a very big and long window, which is fabulous for getting plenty of natural light inside.  But it did need something insulative for these really hot hot days of summer.  And we have no carpets in the house, which is perfect for keeping the place cool, but also means that soft furnishings are even more essential to soak up noise and add softness visually to the architecture.
Luckily our taste in home furnishings runs to very unfussy, plain and minimalist.  Even so, I have been steadily and craftily procrastinating for yonks, devising lame reasons as to why I could not get on with it.  High up on my list of excuses was the lack of a curtain rail.  Then about a year ago, my husband put up a curtain rail.  A quietly guilty period followed.  Occasional pleas for curtains were deftly fended off.  I had to be imaginative in this respect, you understand; had to think on my feet.  A lack of fabric was not the problem, since in a whimsically optimistic moment during a Spotlight sale ages ago I had actually purchased enough curtaining fabric for the entire house.  It has been sitting in a big roll underneath the stairs, taunting and mocking me with its whole still-unmade-into-curtains state.
Sewing home wares is not a joy to me, and particularly curtains.  Mostly because they are unwieldy and I have to commandeer the dining room, kick everybody else off and out and carry my machines over and set up on the dining room table since my little bench in the laundry where I usually sew could not possibly cope with the massive swathes of fabric.  Also, curtains are boring.  But while sewing together massively big rectangles in straight seams might seem easy and without any challenges doesn't mean one should get blase about it... I had a wake-up call when I was distractedly overlocking the fluffy selvedge edge off a vertical joining seam, not paying enough attention, and on checking it later noticed to my horror that, underneath, I had overlocked a massive tuck of curtain into the seam.....  noooo!  But I was incredibly lucky...  The tuck was a narrow one and the fabric in it had avoided being sliced by the overlocker's knife by a scant millimetre.... seriously!!  I unpicked the tuck and all was well..... phew!  That was a warning... and I sat up and took much better care from then on....!
The curtains are not super fabulous.  They are OK.  I think you can tell by looking at them they were not made with much love...  The best thing about them??? they are finished.
Oh, technical details; each side has two and a half drops of fabric, hems are 10cm and the top is triple pleated.... and no, I did not pose the pussycat.  She happened come over at the right time and I took advantage of the fact that she matched the decor....

29 comments:

  1. Oh dear, I should not have read your blog today.They are very nice curtains, and you deserve months and months of guilt free frivolous sewing.
    I may have been considering curtains for my son's room for, let me see, 5 years now, since he cut a hole in them with his kindergarten scissors, a project that must have taken considerable effort.

    I am feeling faintly guilty, but am sure I will get over it.

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  2. Congrats on getting the job done!!! You must feel pretty good. I'm with you, sewing curtains is right up there with fixing broken zippers in jeans. Blech.

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  3. Yes agreed the whole curtains thing bores me too. My most recent approach has been to buy ready made curtains and just shorten them. This is still annoying but less so. Adn given the prices of fabric by the metre quite a lot cheaper ironically.

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  4. Yea! All done.
    I don't like sewing curtains either. It's tedious. But you can save a lot of money doing it, unlike clothes. Money saved=more fashion fabric!

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  5. They look really good. I think I must be odd - I like making curtains! And blinds and other soft furnishings.
    I can't wait for our container to arrive with the curtains I've made. Certainly I prefer handmade, mainly because I like curtains lined and it costs a fortune to buy them lined.
    I reckon you've done a fab job!

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  6. I agree, curtains are the highways of the sewing world. Yawn.
    But it's good that you could stay minimalist and unfussy about them, some people try to relieve the tedium by spicing them up, and then presumably are stuck looking at the results for 20 years. The good side of curtains is they rarely have to be redone :-). The bad side is that they aren't that easy, as the grain has to be totally perfect for good results (ask me how I know..).
    Enjoy the results, which do look smashing, and match the cat, a good thing for houseware sewing, eh?

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  7. Well they look very elegant. And now you won't have to do them again for a very long time. :)

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  8. Your curtains look great! And I'm sure your family is pleased that they're done. I've sewn my share of curtains and am always trying to increase their 'cleverness' factor. Another means of procrastination, I suppose.

    I'm about to remodel a porch and am interested in your windows. Is that an opening to the side of the door or just some sort of frameless window?

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  9. Oh Carolyn I feel for you! For the 2000 NYE I was making a (still unfinished) red satin long gown - beautiful duchess satin that I got for a steal at the designer sale and while overlocking the side seam I did nick a little v into my dress. I put it down; cried my eyes out for a day and then went to the shops and bought a long black beaded number for $99.. a bargain and saviour. Of course I still have it and more fabric but trying to make it one day before I needed it - it just wasn't to be. Now I wouldn't fit! ha ha

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  10. Thank you all!
    vtmartha; I'm not sure which side of the door you are asking about.... but the middle portion is a wide sliding door with a fixed pane of glass to its left for it to open over. On the outside of these are two more opening windows.

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  11. Carolyn - the ones outside the sliding door that look like they open at the bottom?

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  12. vtmartha; oh, OK... well the two outer windows have a fixed pane at the bottom and then the upper portion opens out, swinging from a hinge at the top. Can you see in the lower left picture, through these windows to some other windows on a perpendicular wall? Those are open, in the same way that these windows do. I hope I've explained this clearly!

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  13. Thank you! The bottom looks so clear, probably because it isn't screened, that it appears open. No doggy or kitty nose prints?

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  14. Curtains don't need to be sewn with love. Clothes and fun things do. The curtains look great and I am sure you will enjoy the finished product. I am really envying you your lovely green sunny outdoor space, all I see is dirty snow, dead trees and gray skies. Oh well, spring is coming.

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  15. I am so impressed that they are hemmed. I made curtains two years ago and hung them up to measure where the hem should fall..... and never took them down.

    They look great! I hope that kitty isn't deciding how she's going to shred them!

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  16. Yes, sewing curtains is hard labour and I've just about promised myself not to ever attempt to sew something taller than I am again. I did some lined curtains for our bedroom that don't exactly hang as they should, but they cover the window and are the right colour so I can live with them. I haven't yet bought an overlock machine, though I'm sorely tempted. On the other hand, then I'd have to figure out how the thread the thing and that business of shearing off edges is bound to get me in trouble! You did indeed have a close shave (ha). Your curtains look very nice.

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  17. I applaud your work, first the curtains look great. And second I can relate to sewing massive lengths of rectangular shapes. I had to do that for bows for the church (6-20 ft lengths and 4-10 ft). Besides boring, my serger overheating, and sitting there for a big chunk of time doing roll hems, it was not my fav project. So bravo on that too! You must be so pleased they're done, they look amazing.

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  18. Oh, I feel for you. I had to make curtains about this time last year and hated every moment. Yours look great - and the cat tones beautifully!

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  19. You deserve a medal.

    Curtains are one thing I will not sew myself, considering getting a professional with an industrial machine to do it for me money well spent - for all the reasons you listed in this post.

    I"m sure you feel great now, and are enjoying the benefits that they bring.

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  20. The worst curtains I made were for my sliding lounge doors, 5 drops in all. I have beautiful satin with a spliced stripe on the inside and the heaviest rubber back separate lining you have ever seen. These things weighed a ton and had to be sewn on the dining table. I hated ever minute especially the cutting out. When it came time to repeat the exercise on my hot west facing bay window, I cheated and got the thing double glazed with low E glass....now that really does keep the heat and cold out, best of all, I didn't loose my view on a sunny day!

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  21. I've considered making curtains a few times and haven't gotten to it either for reasons you have just stated! I think your curtains look good and they're functional so thats what matters and good for you, you got them done, check that off the list!

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  22. I admire you...I have been postponing this task for the past 2 months. We currently have no curtains except the bathroom. I am struggling to decide on the style...

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  23. Oh, no, you didn't! Did you just say that you usually sew on a little bench in the laundry? All of the beautiful sewing that you turn out on a daily basis comes from sewing in the laundry room? That must be SOME laundry room! Your creations are fabulous and inspiring, and you sew them on a bench in the laundry room? I am truly humbled. I have an entire room devoted to sewing, and, almost nothing comes out of it!

    Carolyn, you are amazing!
    I used to have a drapery workroom, so I appreciate how awkward a long length of fabric with lining can be to manipulate. My bedroom curtains look much like yours, a neutral length of heavy linen. I made a narrow piece (about 6" wide) out of contrasting, deco fabric and attached it down the leading edge of the curtains with large, antique buttons. That way, I can change this one decorative element on the curtains when I get tired of the colors, and I can still have the curtains that I invested time, money, and effort into.
    Making curtains sure gives a workout to your straight edge and t-square!

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  24. They look beautiful. Curtains seem like a challenge with so much fabric!

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  25. These look very impressive - I hate sewing curtains, but I suspect even professional curtain makers hate making them. I made curtains for the formal living areas in our old terrace house and it took such a lot of whinging (from me) get them done.

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  26. Sorry - didn't read the comments - I am wrong. I'm very glad to hear some people enjoy making curtains!

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  27. Well done for making them even though you didn't want to do it! My Mum does curtains for me, I just can't stand it! In fact, she did curtains for my last house and when I moved out 7 years after she'd done them the living room ones still weren't hemmed (they hung behind the sofa so it wasn't too obvious!). I managed a very simple hemmed rectangle for the kitchen here and then called it a day and bought the others I needed, life's too short and ready made curtains are cheap enough I don't worry about it too much! Yours look fab though, as per usual!

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  28. Having worked in a drapery work room I agree handling yards upon yards of fabric is a bit of work for sure. Glad to hear your mishap turned out okay, that would have been awful had that been cut through. whew...
    I love your big window/door how nice to have all that natural light... can see if you get hot sun on them these drapes will be perfect for filtering that! Good choice :O).

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  29. Nice blog, I really like this blog very much. Is this curtains are full made by cotton or poly cotton.

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