Monday, January 5, 2015

How hard is it to sew your own curtains?

This is the question I posed myself.  Being a fairly experienced sewer, I suspected the answer would be - straight forward, but not without its challenges.

Conclusion number one:

What curtain sewing is not - sewing miles and miles of boring straight seams. It's actually not that easy.

Conclusion number two:

What curtain sewing is: very precise work. As I found when I sewed the seams sometimes with the lining on the top side, sometimes underneath. The thermadrape lining tended to stick to the feed-dogs causing itself to gather in to the outer fabric. Well the curtains just won't hang that straight if the lining is pulling them off grain.

There's loving hands at home and then there's just bloody awful. I could not leave the edges looking that wonky. So there was the gentle sound of unpicking and resewing to be heard in our house this afternoon. But no swearing, either I am now too accepting of "what is" or more likely, simply expecting large amounts of resewing to be part of the creative deal - like Karl Largerfeld and his frequent liaisons with a ginormous rubbish bin, nothing ever goes that smoothly.

These curtains are for my son's bedroom. They are a beautiful burnt orange linen/viscose fabric from Nicks where I got them for $10 per metre. I lined them with blackout lining because he's still young enough to think dawn is the time to get up, but with the idea that when he's a teenager and won't get out of bed before midday I can whip them out and the sunrise will blaze him out of bed.

I can't show you more exciting pictures yet of his room because it is still under going transformation - and that transformation will be slow, because the cost of the renovation has cauterized our spending capacity.  

I must say I did enjoy the challenge of forced thriftiness as I channelled my late father this week by rescuing two perfectly good cushions from the skip down the road. Polyester fill, not my favourite, they will break down, but not yet, and until then I can make the cushions to bring together the orange of the curtains and the bright green of the walls.

I have been reading design books to get ideas about how to decorate our house.  Check out this quote from Farrow and Ball, Living with Colour: 

Fans of Farrow and Ball come in all shapes and sizes - Jo Berryman is a particularly glamourous version. Young, extremely pretty and formerly married to the bassist of a super group, she has worked her way through fashion styling on magazines....

Did you stop dead in your tracks at that?  I quickly checked the publication date. 2010. Yes that's right. In 2010, a successful business woman is first defined by her level of attractiveness and then by her (ex)husband's job.

So much for progress.

At least my curtains are coming along.


  1. That really is lovely fabric, I am rather envious of your access to Nick's. I too have grappled with curtains, and often spot the row of unpicking on the thermadrape that left ugly needle holes. I'm the only one that notices, but there it is.
    Comment posted by a moderately attractive, although greying, woman in her early forties who is married to a DOC worker.

  2. ha Miss Smith, I did exactly the same thing! I thought, "written by a woman whose waistline testifies to her middle age and who is married to an IT specialist." When you see it like that it seems ridiculous to define someone that way. What's more, imagine spending your adult life being defined by your ex husband's job. I would so hate that.

  3. We very rarely go to the sort of party where you get introduced by the hostess to others. it always fascinates me how she introduces me according to what I may have in common with the other person.
    One time I was introduced, "this is Miriam, she grows vegetables"
    but usually it is something else.
    last time I sewed curtains I got the 2 lengths wrong and was out by a foot. I couldn't be bothered taking them down so I set the machine up by the window and took up the hem. Our tenant replaced them while we were away!

  4. I am admiring your curtains. I am particularly admiring because the curtains in my daughters' room have an unfinished hem, and they have both now moved away to attend University so you might guess that there are a few years of fashionable raw hems going on.
    Fortunately I can share your ire at the magazine article, if not your finishing accomplishments.
    My sister in law once introduced me to her friends at a party as " the one who cooks and sews". This was quite amusing as she had introduced my husband to the same people by his profession - which is the same as mine, and at which we work the same hours in the business I started whilst supporting him through his Masters degree.
    I'm glad you're blogging a bit again.

  5. You're blogging again and didn't tell me????
    It is SO good to see you blogging again! Just last night I was thinking about your jeans with the hot dog pockets.

    Love, from a woman who is clinging desperately to the last 7 months of her 30's and chose not to get married nor have kids; somewhat of a societal anomaly.

    1. p.s. Your pinch pleated curtains look perfect!