Planet of the Drapes - How to make easy curtains
Railing at winter is fun for the first 8 months, and then it gets tiresome. But I've heard that the best way to end anything painful is to build your emotional maturity to the point where you feel neutral. So today I ignored the great outdoors. It must be working, because people tell me that the snow is melting.
But if I'm going to be mature for an entire day, I need something to do with my hands. So I made curtains, which is the ultimate mature act. Why? You're investing in your home, plus you get to jam on your sewing machine pedal until the feed-dogs are pulling so fast you feel like you're water-skiing behind twin Evinrudes.
As it turns out, curtains are easier than I thought. Here are some tips for making your own mature statement. (If you need to know how to install curtain hardware, see my how-to article,and if you want to make the copper trellis that's hung on the wall, download the instructions here.
TIP: The fabric width of your curtains should be at least twice that of the window width. So if you have a 24-inch wide window, that means a total of 48" of curtain material, whether it's one 48" panel, or two 24-inch-wide panels.
1. Start by squaring the fabric. It's easiest to do this with a rotary cutter. It also helps to have a cutting mat with a grid so you can lay one selvedge along a line and then trim it so that everything lines up. If you don't have a rotary cutter and cutting mat, try using a big metal carpenter's square to help even up the cloth.
If you're using a rotary cutter, get a blade that cuts a 'pinked' (wavy) edge - it'll stop the material from fraying.
2. Figure out how long you want your curtains to be. Cut the fabric the finished length plus 8 inches for the bottom hem and another 2" for the top hem. (i.e. the lenth of the raw material should be exactly 10 inches greater than the finished length). Lay the fabric out and turn up a 4-inch hem, followed by another 4 inches to make a double-fold hem.
Pin (and sew) the hem close to the upper edge.
3. Cut the lining material to length. The length of the lining should equal the finished length of the curtains, plus 2-1/2 inches. The lining must be 6" narrower than the width of your curtain material, so trim off the appropriate amount.
5. At some point the cat will feel the need to supervise. This may be a good time to take a break. (If you were born with good decor sense, avoid alcoholic beverages during your break, as they may compromise your esthetic judgment. If, like me, you never had any design ability to start with, feel free to drink; you won't notice any change in your style sense. It may even improve.)
7. Pin along one edge.
10. After sewing the side seams, turn the whole thing inside out and iron it. It'll take some manipulating to get an equal amount of curtain fabric to show on both edges, but it's easier than rebuilding a VW engine.
11. Mitre the bottom corners where the lining joins the curtain fabric. Use a fine needle and a single length of thread to blind-stitch along the fold line.
13. Attach clips approximately 4 inches apart and hang that baby.