Monday, February 12, 2007

The curtains

Do any of the rest of you have wonderful vision, but difficulty carrying things out? I really should know better by now. I tell myself I have my father's eye (he was a carpenter and a master of visualizing things), and I do think I'm pretty good at saying what does NOT look good, and what doesn't look neat or done right, but I'm not so good at fixing those things.

So I think I posted about buying these quilts for the girls' room:

Nice, simple, thick blue jean material. One in full size (bottom bunk) and one in twin (top bunk). I even splurged and bought the pillow shams! I figured this was easy to change up with accent colors/funky sheets and that jeans are cute enough for a 4 YO, but also mature enough for an 18 YO (I told C. I'm not buying new stuff till she moves out!).

The room that the girls will be moving into (currently our room) has three nice-sized windows that face the road. We live on a pretty busy street and there are vehicles (including emergency rescue vehicles) that go by all night long. These windows need double coverage (blinds AND curtains) and the hideous curtains (ok, drapes) currently on them are functional, but...well...hideous! See? (these actually were originally navy blue with that pattern, but I bleached them and bleached them and came out with a tan/pink shade that was at least somewhat less obvious)

So I came up with the brilliant idea of making some tab-top curtains out of jean material. How difficult can that be, right? After trips to two fabric stores, I realized that I had to do something else. I needed 8 yards of fabric (originally thought 10 yards, but it ended up being 65" wide) and no one had a full bolt. I did end up ordering online from Joann, where I had a 50% off coupon. 10 yards for $40, plus $8 shipping. Bought jean-colored thread and a neat brownish top-stitching thread for accents, as well as a pack of leather needles. Of course, then I found tab-top curtains that exactly match the comforters I bought:
but at $18 a panel (I need 6 panels), I was still coming out way ahead.

The fabric arrived and this weekend I sat down to sew. Cutting went...okay. G. helped a lot, but really it's just cutting out rectangles. I ironed and seamed the sides of each panel (hey, I NEVER used to use an iron when sewing--this was a big deal!) and then the top. I figured I'd save the bottom to hem when I saw that all of the panels were the same size. Then I started on the tabs. My livingroom tab-top curtains have 8 tabs per panel, so I decided to do that. Do you realize that that means forty-eight tabs? I quickly decided to cut it to 7 tabs a panel (easier to space if I put one in the exact center. I cut out tabs and seamed them, then wrapped them around the top of a panel, threaded the machine with the top stitching thread, and.....
{insert your choice of curse words here}
too many layers. I couldn't even feed the stack into the machine.

OK, so here's my "solution":

1) I'm taking each tab and sewing that cute little X-box thing at the base of one side.
2) I'm loading the machine with the jean-colored thread and tacking each tab in the middle if I can feed it into the machine
3) On the very ends, I've opened up the seams, cut out some excess, and used fray-check on the ends, and then done the same as in #2 above

4) I bought seam glue to get the rest of the tab ends to stick down neatly.
5) I'm only doing FIVE tabs on each curtain
6) I'm crossing my fingers that these do not end up looking like complete crap

If you're keeping track, I've now spent about $60 on materials alone. My house is trashed from the sewing stuff, and I'm STRESSED! I'm beginning to wonder if it was worth "
saving" $40 after all of this. Too late now, though...

Here's a shot of the one I've done so far (sans bottom hem):

and a close-up of the tab attachment:

At least the curtains are blue, and therefore qualify for Project Spectrum!


mamafitz said...

great job! you should see all the non-existant lovely curtains at my house. my goal is to get the downstairs done this year.

Stefaneener said...

It's the dreaded Project Creep! I think your solution is very elegant. Hang in there; they'll be nice and thick when you're done.

Abby said...

You lost me with some of this, but it sounds incredibly frustrating. I'm glad I don't have a sewing machine to get me intro trouble like that! ;) However, it does look really good!

suzee said...

They're beautiful! Really nice. And if you've lived through sewing denim, you can sew anything!