Monday, April 11, 2011

Cheap, Quick, and Easy

We're talking curtains here, people. Don't you love sewing curtains? So easy. This curtain right here, for the downstairs bathroom, cost all of five dollars:

There's a huge fabric store almost an hour north of us, and this fabric was five dollars per yard. (If we'd found something in the bargain area, it would have been two dollars per yard.) Because I only wanted one curtain to go across the top of the window, a yard was enough. I cut it in half, making sure to keep the pattern running correctly, and sewed a piece onto the full yard strip to get enough fullness in the window.

Oh, it might look like zebra stripes, but, um, no. Look closer:

Do you see? They're trunks of birch trees. Aren't they awesome?! The bathroom has grey walls and red trim, and I had my heart set on a black and white pattern of some sort. This curtain is simply a wide rectangle, with the side edges finished, the bottom hemmed, and a casing at the top. Super easy, super quick.

The other room in need of curtains was my son's. His walls are blue, and the trim is a darker blue, and all together it looks really nice. He was having a hard time picking out fabric, though. Finally he saw some he liked, but he couldn't decide between two prints. I like bedroom curtains to be lined with muslin so the room stays darker for sleeping--and by "lined" I don't mean anything at all fancy, just sewing the print to the muslin, turning it right side out, and pressing the seams flat. So I suggested to him that I could make his curtains reversible. He liked that idea.

This is two different photos squished together, and that's why the colors are different. For a true-to-color swatch of this fabric, look to the salamander in the header--I used scraps from the two fabrics my son chose for his curtains. Right now he has the light-blue star fabric facing inwards towards his room. (The dark blue is slightly sparkly, like stars in a deep night sky; it's hard to see onscreen.) To make them truly reversible, I couldn't make just a simple casing at the top, because there would be a wrong side. So I decided to do tabs, alternating the two fabrics, so you'd always see at least a peek of the alternate side.

First, I had my husband hang the rod so I could measure accurately, because this window has a ledge underneath it and I didn't want it to be any longer than skimming length. I decided how long to make the tabs and cut the main piece accordingly--a rectangle from each fabric for each curtain, sewed right sides together around the sides and bottom, leaving the top open. (The width of each curtain equals the window width, so together they are twice as wide.)

For the tabs, I cut out five strips from each fabric, about 5.5" by 6" (with 5.5" being the length and 6 the width). I folded them in half, right sides together, and sewed down the open edge. Then I turned them right sides out, ironed the tab flat with the seam in the center back, and folded each tab in half (hiding the seam on the inside). I turned the curtains right side out, ironed them, folded under the top edge of the curtain, and spaced out the tabs, pinning in place. Then I simply sewed the top shut, sandwiching the tabs inside.

I have to say, I am ridiculously pleased with these curtains. They are super cute, exactly what my son wanted, fit the window perfectly, and they cost a mere twenty dollars (two yards of each fabric). I'm not sure anything pays for the cost of a sewing machine quite like curtains!

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