Thursday, 22 November 2012

The curtain saga

As well as making all the stuff that I have been showing you in my "Show and Tell" blogs; I have also been making curtains.

It started out so well.  I have made curtains once before.  I made these for my hall landing.  Thin fabric, no lining.  They are purely decorative.  They were quite easy.

My second attempt was my kitchen curtains. Once again they are made from a relatively thin cotton and are unlined. Denise came over a month or so back and we did them together just to get them done quicker.  I made all the tie backs myself. There are 8 of them in total so it took a while but it wasn't too bad or too difficult.  These are just decorative too.

One mistake that I made with them was that I got fabric with the  stripe going across from selvedge to selvedge.  I had pictured my curtains with the stripe going vertically.  Well "turn the fabric around", I can hear my non sewing friends saying.  It doesn't work like that.  You can't just turn it round.  They wouldn't fit.  Don't laugh but it took me ages to get my head around that one.

I am quite pleased with them but still wish the stripes were the other way.  I have also made some of the tie backs too large so I need to adjust them. They clash a bit with the peach and orange paint work in my kitchen but we will be repainting it in the new year. Going to have a more neutral colour with lots of red accessories for brightness.

The front window with blinds closed
The side window that looks out onto the drive.
The window over the sink that looks out to the back garden. You can see the front of the garage through the window.
The 2 windows in the utility room.

So, with 10 lots of curtains for 2 rooms under my belt you would think that the next lot would be a doddle. NO.  You would be SO wrong.  The next lot are my living room ones.  Yes, finally.  After months and months with no curtains we finally found a plain fabric that we liked in the exact right colour to match the furniture.

The fabric is a kind of mock silk with a slight slubbed effect.  It is fairly thin so although they will mainly be decorative, after discussion with Denise it was decided that they needed to be lined.  You never know, even though we have the blinds we may wish on a very cold night to draw them and without lining they wouldn't hang nicely.....apparently!  So at  great expense I went ahead and purchased not only the fabric but the lining fabric as well.  Can you believe that stuff is £5 a yard?  Ooops, I mean metre not yard.  Still can't get my head around that.  Anyway, why is it that places that cater mainly to the patchwork and quilting  people still sell in yards?  The Fabric guild sells in yards.  All quilting measurements are imperial.   The quarter inch is the Holy Grail in quilting.

Where was I? Oh yeah the price.  These curtains have cost me an absolute arm and leg. I did save on the ruffelette tape though as I unpicked it all off the horrid old curtains that were here when we moved in.  It looked a bit grotty, dusty and thunder flies galore!  However it came out as new after a whizz through the washing machine.

So a few weeks ago Denise came over to give me a quick lesson in how to make lined curtains.  She assured me it was easy. Never believe an X teacher when they say something is easy!  She lied to me!  While she was here we actually cut the fabric for the 4 curtains and 1 lot of lining.  After making sure that I knew what I was doing Denise went home.  It was around 11am and I foolishly thought that if I spent the day working on them I could have them hanging by the time Simon got home from work.  STUPID GIRL!

That was Tuesday.  They were finally finished and hung on the Saturday!  Yes, they really did take me that long.  Let me tell you something..... making lined curtains is a huge faff.  A really HUGE faff.   I'm not entirely sure what the problem was.  I mean I started out OK until I decided on the first one that I had pinned the wrong side of the silky, bloody slippery fabric to the lining so had to unpick it.  Once unpicked and examined, I simply could not decide which was the right side so had to wait for Simon to get home.  He didn't know either.  After phoning Denise it would seem that many modern fabrics do not have a right side.  Both sides are the same.  Great.

So the next day I started out again, still thinking I would get them done in no time at all. Well it took forever even to just cut the rest of the lining fabric.  The pinning up was a nightmare.  Everything must be measured exactly and then pinned exactly.  Both layers must be flat and smooth.  Don't want the lining to be hanging down do we?  The only place big enough to lay them out flat for pinning was my bedroom floor.  Let me tell you how it kills the knees to spend hours crawling around on the floor because it does.  I will not tell you the expletives that came out of my mouth when a dog came in to see what I was up to and walked all over it.  Thank goodness they were not floor length.

Once pinned the sewing starts and that was just awkward.  Yes, I know, to quote Denise "it is just simple straight stitching"  but it's heavy and awkward and I was ready to chuck the whole flipping lot in the bin. The header tape also takes FOREVER to get pinned on.  Then the sewing is awkward because they are large. When they are finally sewn you still have to hand sew the hems.  That is the hem on the lining and then the hem on the actual curtain. I needed a fine needle for the silky fabric and the so called blunt end of it kept sticking into my finger as I was pushing it through. I ended up with a nasty sore there.

On the Friday I finally got 2 of them hung.  My goodness was I  sweating or what?  You see I am not tall enough. I have to stand on something.  Well one end was OK because I could stand on a chair.  Although, I am still not really tall enough so have to stretch.  The other end I cannot get a chair there because of the sofa which I cannot move.  So, there I am balancing on the arm of said sofa which means I really have to stretch. Feckin stupid curtains as my friend Sue would say.  Sue says "Feckin" isn't a swear word in Ireland. Let me tell you that I was using real swear words at the time.

The final 2 were ready for hanging on the Saturday and I got Simon to do the deed. They hang above the small sofa so he had to stand on that.  Strangely there were some choice words coming from him too! After all that work they were up.  Simon asked where were the tie backs?  I hadn't got that far!  In fact the thought of making tie backs was just too much for me.  I'd had enough. A solution came in the form of metal hold backs which sort of match the curtain rails.   I may eventually use the left over fabric that was for the tie backs for a couple of cushions.

So here they are.......

This is the front window.
These 2 show the smaller window that looks out to the back garden.

Look who was watching me.
I am quite pleased with them now that they are finished. The colour is a fantastic match for the furniture.  They are nice and full so look good when closed. I did not enjoy making them at all.  It was a chore.  Just a few years back I really would have lost patience and thrown them away.

The moral of the story?  If you want lined curtains then go out and buy them or get someone else to make them for you.  If you ever hear me mention making them again can you please just say "DUNELM".


  1. You have definitely re-assured me that although we spent more on getting the work in the kitchen done than intended I am not going to scrimp and try and do my own curtains. I will be getting them made! Yours look lovely though so I'm sure it was worth all your hard work.

  2. Your windows look really pretty! I am in awe of your marvelous talent!

  3. No wonder you've not had a lot of time to come onto iPernity - you've been so so busy here. Your curtains are looking wonderful. So vivid colours and they really look wonderful.


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