Friday, September 14, 2012

Another Curtain Tutorial

Back by popular demand, I've put together a tutorial on the curtains I made for my sewing nook/spare room. They're almost as simple as the curtains I made for the living room, but has an extra step that creates a little curtain rod pocket as opposed to simply using the clip rings to hang the panels. Most of this is a repeat from my other tutorial, so if you don't need the refresher, feel free to skip down to step # 5.

You'll need the same materials as last time to complete these curtains:

1. Fabric
2. Thread and bobbin
3. Pins
4. Scissors
5. Iron and Ironing board
6. Sewing machine
7. Tape measure (I used a fabric tape measure since that's what I had on hand. A utility one will work, too).

Step 1: Install your curtain rod at the desired height.

Unfortunately I couldn't install a curtain rod this time since the ceiling is pretty low, and the second window butts right up against the corner on the other side of the room. But if this step applies to you, then by all means install away. 

Step 2: Measure.

Because I was hanging these curtains at a lower level, my measurement was going to be significantly smaller than the last set I had crafted. Be sure to measure from the curtain rod to the desired length that your curtains will hang (in my case, just barely kissing the floor), and add about three inches to that measurement. This should cover the rod pocket you are going to create and the hem at the bottom of the panel. 

Step 3: Cut your fabric.

Spread your fabric out on a large cutting space (I used the floor in the living room again), and measure the desired length. Don't forget to compensate for the hem at the bottom and the rod pocket on the top (approximately three inches unless the curtain rod you are using is extremely thick). 

Step 4:  Pin the edges.

Get your trusty ironing board and iron out, and get ready to do the hardest and most tedious portion of this project: pinning your seams. On the sides, I simply folded in the selvedge of the fabric (that white strip on the sides with fabric info). You can either simply fold this edge over once since a selvedge is a self-finished, woven edge that won't fray, or you can fold it in once more (which is what I did) to hide this edge and make your seams look more finished. Using an iron to press the seams really made the job of pinning easy, and helped keep everything straight in the long-run.

Once you've pinned the sides, press and pin the hem of your top edge as well. This will make sewing faster and easier to sew. Instead of having to cut your thread and start over on each edge, you can simply lift the presser foot on your machine, give your panel a quick turn, and keep going.

Option: If you're sewing machine challenged, or just don't have time to sew (hey, I won't judge) then you can skip the sewing step all-together, and use iron on hem tape instead. I've never actually used hem tape to make curtains, so I cannot speak to it's durability, but I've heard that it's a great sew-free option. If you try it out, let me know!

Step 5: Sew!

Thread your machine and bobbin with a matching thread, and go to town!

Here is where the directions will change slightly. Instead of sewing the bottom hem last like I did on the last set of curtain panels, I go ahead and sew the sides and bottom hem first. Once these are sewn, I bring the panel back to the ironing board, fold and iron over a 1/4 seam. Next, I take the fabric and fold it over once more, but instead of the typical 1/4 seam like you do in your hem, you make a 2 inch fold which will create a pocket big enough for you to thread your curtain rod through. Ensure your seams are straight by measuring as you pin. Creasing the fold with your iron will also help hold it in place to gain an accurate measurement. 

Once the rod pocket is pinned, I like to hold it up to the curtain rod to make sure that my panel is going to fall at the desired length. You can make any adjustments needed based on the thickness of your curtain rod before it is too late. If you have a really large or thick curtain rod, I would add an extra half inch to your panel measurement, and make your pocket fold 2.5 inches instead. 

If you are satisfied with your pinned panel, sew that baby closed.

Step 6: Iron your finished curtain panel and hang.

You're heading down the home stretch now that all four of your edges are hemmed! Before you get antsy and jump up the step stool to hang your curtain panels (like I always do), you'll want to iron your new drapes to make sure any wrinkles or creases in the fabric are smoothed out. I only completed one panel at a time, so if you're like me.. repeat steps one through six, and you're done!

Step 7: Dance it out!

Yep. I'm still dancing it out to Karmin's "I Told You So" like I was back when I posted the room reveal. 

Oh yeah, I dug this guy out of storage in the garage. Many moons ago it had been the changing table in my baby girl's room, but after she became mobile I packed it up and put it away (mostly because I found her out of her crib and standing on the top of it-- talk about scary!). It's a little bulky, but right now it suits my storage needs. I needed a book shelf to organize some of my materials, and this was free. Perhaps in the future I'll be able to trade it in for an Ikea Expedit or something else that's a little more streamlined. 

So there you go! Seven easy steps to easy-peasy curtains, and if you're like me and have a tendency to hoard fabric, you'll come up with free fabric from your arsenal just like I did. Need an excuse to purchase large quantities of fabric that you might someday use? Shablam! There's your reason. :)

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