October 25, 2012

Behinds the Curtains - my mom

Today I have a very special guest.  She has probably sewn more curtains than anyone I know.  She has sewn a lot of the curtains in my home, my sisters' homes, and all of them in her homes over the years.  It's my mom.  She has sweet skills and I think she's the speediest seamstress in the west. She's going to cover come basics today and show you how to mix it up with some fun variations as well.

Welcome Mom!

Hi! I am here to help you know that it is fun and easy to give your home class, personality and make it a little quieter at the same time with great curtains.

1) Easy Sewn Curtains 101

Let’s start with a simple panel that will be hung on curtain rings. You know, the rings with the clip at the bottom. It will be your choice if you want to line the curtains or not. Don’t let it scare you. That will be a much easier step than you can imagine, especially if you use cheap twin flat sheets. 
To get started we will measure for needed fabric by holding a tape measure from the bottom of the curtain rod to the floor. (Remember that the higher the rod the bigger the window will appear. Of course it must not be so high that they look ridiculous when they are open). I usually hang the rod about 6 inches above the window casing.
OK! Take that measurement and add one inch for the top of the curtain and 3 inches for the bottom hem. 
Most home fabrics will run 56 inches wide and on a standard window that is perfect to have one panel on each side with a nice amount of gather.  Sometimes it is less expensive to pick a fabric that comes on a bolt but be sure it is the wide one and not the 45 inch bolts.  (Remember to buy an extra yard if you want to make matching pillows.)
Cut the correct length pieces for your windows and sew the side edges under at 1.5 inch. Fold. Now tuck the last 3/8 tucked under before you sew it down.  If you are worried about sewing straight take a ruler measuring and iron it to the correct width before you start to sew.

At the top you will fold the panel over an inch and a half again, tucking about 3/8 under the same way you did the sides. If you want to line the panel, it is at this point you would make another panel at least 1-2 inches smaller all the way around(the bottom hem will have to be at least 3 inches shorter) and tuck it into the top seam that you are about to sew down. If you choose to line the curtains you will also have to tack the lining to the curtains so the lining will not stick out when hanging.
Now all sides except the 3 inch hem on the bottom are done. That will be done the same way as the other sides with the exception that it is 3 inches.
THAT IS IT! You’re done! Buy the clip hooks and place them about every 5-6 inches apart at the top of the panel.  Sit back and be amazed at the new beauty of your home.  
Extra Note: If you are doing a bigger window or a patio door you will need to add another half panel with to each side for example if your panels need to be 100 inches you will not but 200 inches for two panel but 300 inches so that you have enough to split one panel and add it to each side.
Variations of the Basic Curtain Panel

If you are wanting a stripe or color border that is just as easy. It is all in the math. Start by planning your length and subtracting the size of the color change that you want.  I think that a third color added as a small stripe gives a more elegant appearance. Don’t forget to add the ½ inch or 3/8 inch seam that will be needed when you change colors. Be sure that you are done with the color change before you start to hem the sides, top and the bottom.
Great Job! Easier than you thought and just that amount of material in a room will add class and make the noise level sound a little lower.
There are so many ways to improvise once you have the basics down.  Maybe you just want to add a large band of different fabric around the edges like this!

Or how about cutting leaves out of fake suede or leather like this?

It’s that simple! Now sit back and enjoy the updated new look of your house!
Thanks for breaking it down, Mom.  You guys will see a little more from my mom tomorrow as we move to Curtains 201.  Thanks for reading.


Leigh Anne said...

Sweet! Such a great 101 post :) I better get busy!

Unknown said...

YAY for Moms!! Love the little leaves :) Michelle

~ko said...

Awesome! Tell your momma thank you! I just got a gift certificate for a fabric shop for my birthday and I will be making curtains for our master bedroom! Yay!

stephaniegiese said...

Word to your mother. :)

I never thought to use flat twin sheets, that's a great tip!

Kimberly T. said...

Thank you, this is just what I needed!

Taylor Swim said...

Great tutorial mom! Your curtains always turn out perfect. I enjoy your work every single day. People always comment on my sweet curtains whenever they come over. It's awesome!!!

The Miller Five said...

Ah! LOVE the leaves. Moms really are the best.


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