Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Curtains - Take Two

It's true. I FINALLY finished the curtains for our living room. I started them waaaaaaaay back at the end of summer. As in - that's when I bought both the pattern and the material for this (unknowingly) ginormous project. Now, don't get me wrong, I knew this was going to be a big project. It's just that I had no idea how big it was actually going to be.
To be fair - I could probably have completed the curtains in a month or two if I had made it my priority and just buckled down and did it. There were steps in the process, however, that caused delays. Figuring out what size I needed each curtain panel to be was the first of many hurdles. My pattern wasn't clear on this, and I basically had to figure it out on my own (i.e. make an educated guess about what size the panels should be). Then cutting the fabric was a bit of a to-do becasue the panels were so large. I had to clear out most of the front room so that I had enough floor space to measure and cut the material. Once all 8 panels were cut (4 main panels + 4 panels for the lining) I had to figure out exactly how I was going to piece everything together. Was I supposed to seam the sides together first? What about the top and bottom seams? What about the tabs that would go at the top? It all seemed to complicated (no pun intended). So, what did I do? I did what any amateur housewife would do - I called my mom for help :)
Yes. I called her and she explained the entire process for what I needed to do, but I still didn't feel confident that I was going to do everything correctly. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and always worried I'm going to mess something up - especially when I'm sewing (as if I couldn't go back and fix it later...). So, instead I took everything home over Thanksgiving so she could help me solve this puzzle I was facing. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving ended up being pretty busy, so my mom was really only able to explain to me (again) what I needed to do. But this time she was able to visually show me with the pieces I had cut instead of just telling me over the phone. Even after this tutorial I still wasn't 100% confident I knew what I was doing.
The next few weeks passed with nary a stitch being made. This was mostly because life got busy just before Christmas, and I was still feeling wary about this whole situation I had gotten myself into. My lack of progress did not go unnoticed. Every time my mom and I spoke on the phone she asked how the curtains were coming along, and every time I had to tell her I hadn't done anything yet. I promised her that as soon as the holiday season was over I would definitely make more progress. My husband was also getting annoyed that we STILL had a random sheet hanging over the window that kept falling down (the sheet came after I donated the vertical blinds that were originally covering the window - it was a temporary fix :). So, I promised Will that I would make the curtains a priority in the new year - it would be at the top of my "to-do" list. And, for the most part, it was.
I made fairly steady progress in January and February. I started out by hemming the lining. I then sewed the front panel to the lining and ironed out the seams. 
Next came the tabs. I had to cut, seam, invert, and iron 32 tabs. This seemed to take FOREVER. It was a very tedious process - just making the 32 tabs took somwhere in the vicinity of 2.5-3.5 hours. 
This is the tangle of tabs after hemming 23 of them. I ran out of
thread on my bobbin after 23 and didn't feel like rethreading the
spool (is that what it's called?) for ONE  measly tab. So, I just saved
 that last tab for later (I had already completed the first 8 tabs).
Once the tabs were complete I had to sew them to the main curtain panels (between the front panel and the lining). The sewing part wasn't too challenging, but figuring out the spacing of the tabs (both vertically and horizontally) took a good bit of time and effort.
Notice the tape measure in the upper left hand corner. I had just
finished spacing the tabs and was in the process of pinning them.
The tabs had been pinned and were ready to be sewn.
Once I had sewn the tabs all that was left was to sew the final hem - this would determine the final length of the curtains and where they fell with respect to the floor. But, before I could do this I needed to hang/install the curtain rod. Luckily, I have basic drilling skillz, so I was able to put the curtain rod up all by myself :) 
Isn't that beautiful?
After hanging the rod I hung two panels at a time so I could pin them. This part was much trickier than I thought it would be, because the curtains didn't necessarily hang like I thought they would. If I had simply sewn a straight hem at the bottom of the curtains (which I was tempted to do) they would have looked AWFUL. But, I had my mother's wisdom to go by and knew to hang them before doing any pinning.
Here's the final product. The fruits of my labor :)
Now I need to decide what to do with the extra material.... I'm thinking I might make a few throw pillows to match :)

1 comment:

Lisa G. said...

You made those!?!? I was literally sitting on the floor next to them the other day and checking them out!! I was thinking about how pretty they were and how they would provide much more protection against the winter than my Ikea $10 sale bin curtains. I have no idea how to sew though, so I'll just have to admire yours and pay top dollar for an equivalent at the store!