Sewing curtains

I love to get inspired by the beautiful pictures of homes I see in magazines, catalogs, Pinterest, and established blogs. I imagine that the people who put these rooms together instinctively and reflexively know how bring all the elements of these rooms together to feel inviting, calming, and effortless.

I don’t know that it actually happens that easily for those pros, but I know it doesn’t happen like that for me. If I see something I like, I can’t always envision how it will look in my house. Or often I like things about a rug, a chair, or some fabric—it’s lines, texture, rusticity, or colors—but I’m not sure I really like it as a whole. Or it’s a great look, but it doesn’t work with what I’ve already got.

So, you see where this is going.

after shot 1

I just finished making curtains for my dining room. I found great, medium weight cotton fabric at I love the neutral background, the weight, and the weave of the fabric. I also love the nutmeg color of the design. It reminds me both of seaweed and acorns at the same time. The fabric I bought is Bella Damask in Cinna. It’s no longer available, but it’s similar to this one.

The fabric has a 24 inch vertical repeat, and a 22 inch horizontal repeat. The pattern is huge, and it was tough for my inexperienced mind to visualize just how big it would be. Even though I measured it out, I was still surprised when the package arrived and I saw it in person. Fortunately, I think the large-scale size works.

fabric overview

The thing I’m not sure about is how traditional the pattern is. It’s a very traditional damask pattern, and my house is very casual. But the fabric was on sale for $5 a yard. Five dollars a yard! You know how hard it is for me to pass up a good deal. So, even though I could have sent the fabric back to for free, I wasn’t—and still am not—so sure it doesn’t work that I wanted to send it back. I didn’t love it, but I loved a lot about it.

The weight of the fabric was awesome to sew with. For those of you who sew: I bought six yards, had to trim off about 6 inches for the pattern to align, and sewed 92 inch drapes with a 3 inch header and a 2 inch hem at the bottom. I had enough left over to make a throw pillow for the adjoining room. I didn’t cut any off the sides, so they’re about 52 inches wide.

I hung the curtains with drapery hooks and rings. Here’s a picture of me attempting to get the hooks spaced somewhat evenly apart. These kinds of tasks make me seriously question my sanity. And it gets worse.

drapery hooks

The fabric keeps a crease so well, that I was able to press creases into the header to kind of simulate the look of pleats. And they hang better with the creases. This actually took hardly any time and it gives them a more neat appearance. But I think it’s safe to say I have OCD tendencies.

creasing fabric

This picture shows a close up of the creases.

close up of creases

Here is a picture of what I had hanging up before.

curtains before

And here are a few more after pictures.

after shot room

after shot 2

So in the end, do I love them? I’m still not sure. But nor am I sure that’s the right question. I think they work in the room, I like a lot about them, and they only cost me $30—it’s hard to buy even one panel for that, especially one longer than 84 inches. And, for that price, I don’t feel like I have to love them. They can just be something that works for right now. Plus I learned a lot about working with fabric and visualizing repeats. And I will be more careful to consider things like whether a pattern skews more traditional or more modern and whether loving little parts adds up to loving the whole when I take on bigger, more expensive, and more time-intensive projects.


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