It’s Curtains for Me

In the sense that I’ve finally managed to sew and hang my new living room curtains. What do you think?

Here’s the Before.

The same $4 IKEA sheers that have been hanging there for 6 years… ignore the mess, please!

And the After.

The After: again – mess – please ignore!

Big impact, right?

These were inspired from a post over at The Yellow Cape Cod, which showed how utterly transforming a pair of black and white striped curtains could be in a space. Black and white stripes didn’t quite seem right for my space, even if the goal was to refresh it and change it up, but I chose another high-contrast, graphic fabric for a similar effect and I’m happy.

You can totally do it, too – the sewing is all straight lines! Here’s how:

These navy and cream curtains were pretty simple to sew, since they’re hung with clip rings and they are not lined (they are more of a decorative feature, since we have the blinds). I didn’t even measure much, really.  I ordered 6 yards of Indoor/Outdoor Premier Prints “Twirly” (my ceilings are 9 feet, so I knew I’d have extra, but figured I’d rather have a little more than run short) – regular price is $14, but on sale, I’ve seen it at $7.18, making 9 yards just under $65. My only real measurement was from the rod to the floor. I subtracted an inch or so from that measurement to allow for a hanging ring (which I had not yet bought), then added 8 inches for seam allowances. I then did a rough measurement on the fabric (folded in half so that it was 3 yards long and 54″ wide) and cut off the excess, based on my rough calculation, from the folded end (so that I had just one wider piece of extra fabric).

Then, with the first panel, I just rough estimated 2-2.5″ folds. I folded over one 54″ edge (a top or bottom – it doesn’t matter with these panels) two times. That is, I folded down a 2-2.5″ flap and then doubled it over to hide the cut edge. Using my iron, I creased the folds and didn’t bother to pin since the fabric is stiff and the crease held well. Using a rubber band around my sewing machine to guide me (an awesome tip I picked up from this Prudent Baby post), I made sure my top and bottom hems would be equal for both panels (about 1.5-1.75 inches from the edge). I sewed a topstitch (i.e. sewing on the “right side” of the fabric) across the length, making sure to sew back and forth a little on each end to avoid unraveling. Repeat the process 3 more times for the other 54″ lengths on the panels. I did do a little check that my hem was pretty similar from panel to panel by just laying the already-sewn edge next to the edge I was newly folding and ironing.

you can see the stitching for the top and side folds

For the long sides, I did the same thing as the top and bottom hems, except I folded over just one inch or so and then double folded it. After the edge was creased with the iron, I unfolded the corner a little and snipped a 45 degree angle for the first inch only (to avoid seeing the unfinished edge). Then I simply sewed it in place with a top stitch (I moved the rubber band in for a half inch seam). Repeat 3 more times for the remaining long edges.

That’s it! Done! That was easy, right?

To hang, I took a couple of packages of curtain rings and clipped them onto the top edge of each panel at even intervals (my curtain rings came in packages of 7, so I just put one either end, folded in half to find the middle, attached one there, and then it was pretty easy to eyeball where to put the others, but you could always measure if that’s your thing).

Of course, if you don’t want to sew, you could certainly do the awesome striped curtain tutorial at The Yellow Cape Cod – it’s no-sew!

Yet to come in the budget-friendly living room refresh project: throw pillows, floor pillows, and the completion of the decor on the mantel and the TV stand (which is a mix of stuff I had and just moved to their new homes and stuff I bought to complement it). Hopefully, I’ll be adding posts about those in the very near future!

UPDATE: I’ve been shopping around for some decor for my son’s “big boy room” conversion from the nursery and came across these curtains from West Elm. They are similar to my DIY curtains – but they cost $99 per 84″ panel (and they’re flocked) – mine cost about $65 total and are fade-resistant. It’s like I stumbled on my inspiration photo after the project was done! And I saved $135!

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