Wednesday, January 16, 2013

HomeMade Curtains - Part 1

It hit me after I re-read my post about the drop cloth curtains, that 9 feet WAS the right size and I could attempt to make the curtains again, but wash them before I cut them.

Original Curtains

I contemplated buying another drop cloth, but after doing a cost analysis of what it would be to buy the cloth then buy paint to change the color of the cloth, it was not worth the effort because it wouldn’t save me money.

The first thing I did for this project was measure where my curtain rod currently is; 10 inches from the ceiling and 98 inches from the floor. I then re-hung the curtain rod to be two inches from the ceiling (I needed room to lift the curtain rod up and out.) I’ve always loved the floor-to-ceiling look of curtains.

I then set out to buy fabric. While I was in the fabric store, I browsed the off-white fabric and different textures. I found a fabric that was tea-stained. It had a hint of green in it that would go with Mr. Brigglesworth’s wall color.

I didn’t get it on the first visit, but took pictures to take home and think about. The pictures were bad (as seen above) but I still got an idea. 

Fabric laying on blackout fabric... foot and a half too long

I went back and bought 7 yards of the tea-stained fabric and 6 yards of blackout fabric. I had planned to use a coupon, but it was already 30% off. I could have gotten more with the coupon, but oh well. It was still cheaper than full-price. 

I might have bought too much fabric, but I wanted room to play with it length wise and width wise. I had to remember about my hems! I could have gotten away with 6 yards of fabric, but I rather have the room for error for my first try.

I laid out the blackout fabric to cut first. The plan was for the fabric to be hemmed “around” the blackout fabric. So, the blackout fabric was cut the exact length and width of each curtain panel.

First "roll" of hem before "catching" the blackout fabric

The blackout fabric was extra wide, but the tea-stained fabric was already a perfect width. I had an inch on each side to create a hem. Since my curtain rods were two inches from the ceiling, I knew my panels did not need to be more than 106 inches. Then I cut another inch off to give room for the curtain rings that would hang my new panels. The total length of the panels were 105 inches each. 

Second "roll" of hem pinned.

The first few steps of making my own panels took 3 hours all together. That included cutting all the fabric, ironing the fabric and pinning the hem. A lot of that time was spent figuring out the measurements and hem-style. Trial and error.

The next day, my only goal was to thread my sewing machine. It had been a while since I used it and experts say you should use it on a regular basis to keep it in tune; just like a piano or a car. After threading my machine, I expected the worst in trying to get the right tension and stitch length. The thickness of the blackout material made me nervous. But I think my machine likes being put to work. It had no problems! I was able to quickly hem both panels in 45 minutes and then hang them up! That’s one nap and some time to spare! 

I knew Mr. Briggleworth would be getting up soon, so after I put the curtain rings on the panels, I went into his room and hung them up. I was SOOOOO excited!

They blocked out the sun. They were the perfect length. They were the perfect color. They are just PERFECT!

I then woke Mr. Brigglesworth up to see his new curtains. He grinned but I could tell he wasn’t impressed. Just wait for those summer nights when it’s his 7PM bedtime and the sun is still out. Then he’ll be thanking me!

I keep finding myself popping my head in there to peep at my curtains. I’m so giddy. I got the curtains I wanted without the high price tag. Here’s the breakdown for two panels:

7 yards of fabric ($4.99/yd) at 30% off = $24.43
6 yards of blackout fabric ($5.99/yd) at 30% off = $25.14
2 sets of curtain rings ($4.74/ea) = $9.48

When I calculated quotes on custom curtains (which is what these are, since I picked a preculiar length and a precise color, along with blackout fabric added), the price was in the hundreds! One quote was around $300! 

I got many suggestions to just buy the curtains, but I was not about to let my 3-month-old have the most expensive window treatments in the entire house!

The room looks so “grand” now with the floor-to-ceiling curtains. Maybe I say that because I want to live in Downton Abbey and the curtains make me feel like I’m in a castle. But I honestly think they make a huge difference. I like them so much that I’ve already bought fabric to make Little JCrew a curtain panel. His will be a little bit different and half the price, but I’m so excited. It took me no time at all.

I was tickled at the fabric store clerk. As she was preparing my fabric, she asked what I was making (this was before I got out the blackout fabric.) She seemed so pleased to see a “youngin’” like myself making something. I like to think I’m holding on to what my grandmother taught my mother, but I still don’t do or know as much as my momma. If I had a daughter, I’d definitely be teaching her all that I know. It is still my goal to one day learn to knit. One day.

Until then, I’m making curtains!

Update: I took the curtains down Monday night and cut an inch off and re-hemmed them.

They look so much better!

I've already finished Little JCrew's curtain. This time around went MUCH faster. It took me half an hour to cut the fabric and pin it. Then I sewed the hem in another thirty minutes! Granted, I am only doing one panel for his window. Now, all I have to do is hang the curtain rod higher in his room and we're all set. I'll post pictures tomorrow.


  1. Congratulations on your curtain project, Lindsay! I saw the before and after photos and it made a huge difference! The previous look made the window smaller. After installing the new curtains, the window looks bigger, and definitely lovelier. It’s just amazing how little change can make a huge difference. It’s good that you decided to redo your project. I’m so happy for you!

    Roxie Tenner

    1. Thank you, Roxie! They say window treatments make a huge difference, and I see that now. Thank you for your encouragement!


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