I am like a lot of you – sewing curtains is not my idea of fun. I have sewn many, many curtains over the years and even though I tried to keep it simple, I almost always had to take them back down to fix something wonky. When we moved into our condo a few years ago, I thought I might buy custom-made draperies. I rationalized that we didn’t have many windows, so why not splurge? When the time came, I still sewed my own. I still wanted to divert those funds to things I can’t make. So there it is – I must make curtains from time to time.

Here is my latest effort:

2016-09-11_14-27-07

I will hem them so they can be opened and closed easily. This window has a southern exposure and this photo was taken mid-day when sunshine is the strongest. The curtain rod is from West Elm. 

My husband requested velvet, so I went down to G Street Fabrics in Rockville and searched through the $15/yard wall for a bargain. This fabric isn’t velvet, but it’s fuzzy and the color is right, so it came home with me, along with these plastic grommets:

2016-09-11_15-00-26

I already had light-blocking lining in my stash, so I was glad for a chance to use it up.

This project was smooth sailing, and these factors contributed to my satisfaction:

  • instruction – I’ve been winging it too long, so I purchased a craftsy class, “Sewing Custom Curtains & Draperies“. The class opened my eyes to a few things:
    • With a very large table, you can lay things out and work without getting a backache
    • Wrestling huge pieces of fabric at the sewing machine is never fun –  you can avoid that by hand sewing
    • Even though it’s not a garment, you could conceivably work with *very beautiful fabric and that is always fun
  •  fabric selection – some choices can make life easier
    • Solid colors bypass the extra work of pattern matching or calculating yardage for the repeat (although the class shows how to do it for the brave)
    • A slightly looser weave made it very easy to locate the grain – making for accurate cuts and folds.
  • exercise
    • Since I don’t have a huge table, I had to work on the floor
    • I had to be willing to stand up and sit down and crawl around a lot, so I decided to embrace it
    • I was careful to get up and move instead of getting into awkward positions
    • I called it exercise and patted myself on the back a lot
    • In fact I compared my dedication to that of an elite athlete -could Michael Phelps make curtains? No, I am better than Michael Phelps. And I took frequent stretch breaks – Simone Biles’ backbends are better than mine, but hey I am really old, so it’s OK. Do the Olympics affect your sewing, too? ha hah

In particular, I was a little worried about getting the grommets onto that thick fabric, but that part went really well. The trick is to cut away excess bulk – even the buckram (interfacing) if necessary. Here is what it looks like, right before applying the grommet:

2016-09-11_15-36-42

2016-09-11_15-36-42a

It can be a real annoyance to keep layers of fabric together while handling it, so I inserted pieces of fusible interfacing. I was so glad to have this stuff in my stash. I first bought it to use in a Halloween costume and I have found so many uses for it – when it runs out, I will replenish my supply:

2016-09-11_14-28-59

In the final analysis, I spent very little time at the sewing machine. The project didn’t seem to take more time than any other curtain project, so I will definitely stick with these methods. There was a lot more information in the class, and I highly recommend Sewing Custom Curtains & Draperies for more in-depth discussion of techniques.

In other sewing, I finished a jacket recently. I was thinking about making a jacket from the special Dolce & Gabbana fabric I bought at Mendel Goldberg. I had sewn the Style Arc Stacie Jean Jacket before, but I wanted to be REALLY sure about it – so I made it up from one of the linens I got in NYC. I was SO GLAD I did that. I refreshed my memory of construction techniques. The only problem is that once I made the linen jacket, I ran out of mojo to make the D&B jacket. I’ll probably get motivated again at the end of winter when I want something new and fresh for spring.

2016-09-11_14-21-46

pattern: Stacie Jean Jacket by Style Arc fabric: linen from B&J Fabrics, NYC

2016-09-11_14-23-24

This is the only back view I have of this jacket. It’s a wee bit longer than I wanted – I can fix that easily next time I make it. Also, this pattern doesn’t include pockets, so I will add them next time I sew it. It’s a great TNT pattern for me.

*Beautiful fabric is always fun: I bought a yard of this recently and decided to make myself a lap quilt:

2016-09-11_16-16-48

close-up of the stitching

2016-09-11_16-19-36

I could make pillows, but I think I will enjoy a lap quilt more. That way I can pet it and look at it all the time!

I hope you are stitching away and enjoying it – Happy Sewing!2016-09-11_14-15-56