Friday, March 8, 2013

Curtain Call

After nearly three years of living in this house, I finally decided to take on the boys' bathroom this past January, and I'm happy to say that as of last night it is finally done!  I'm saving the full reveal for another post, but wanted to do a quickie on the final piece.

I'd been putting off window coverings for this room because a) the only people who get naked in this bathroom are under 4 feet tall and no one can see them through this window, b) none of the options were really speaking to me, and c) once I finally DID settle on something, I couldn't get over the fact that the rod I wanted was way more expensive than any cafe rod has a right to be. 

Then we found out that we were having house guests this weekend--ones that are over 5 feet tall--and I knew it was time to suck it up and move on.  Fast.

I considered everything--woven wood, slatted wood, roman shades--but just couldn't see any of them working.  Because we're surrounded by woods and all the second floor windows face northwest, the upstairs is very dark.  I wanted something that would let in maximum light while still preventing any unwanted peep shows.  I considered top-down options but didn't like the look (and they're hella expensive).  Then the lightbulb finally came on--cafe curtains!

It took weeks of searching, but I finally found the perfect fabric:  Schooner by Premier Prints.  It has a nautical theme, which is what I'm going for, but isn't too heavy handed, juvenile, or graphic (which would compete with another element in the room).  Sadly, the navy colorway only comes in an indoor/outdoor option, so it's a bit stiffer than I'd like but otherwise just too good to pass up.

I will not tell you how much I spent on the rod.  I wanted something in chrome that didn't look cheap--like most cafe rods do--and had very shallow brackets.  I found exactly what I needed in Smith + Noble's petite Cosmopolitan collection (with "compact" bracket), and I'm happy with the product, but cripes!  This thing isn't made of gold, people!  I would have bought the matching rings but had a small heart attack when I saw the price, so I opted for some $7 mini Umbra clip rings instead.  Problem solved.

So--lined curtains.  I'm telling you, these are simple to make, and once you try it, you'll be hooked.  The cost savings cannot be beat, plus your fabric options are unlimited.  Win win!

THIS is the tutorial that finally did it for me.  I've read countless descriptions of how to do lined drapes and it just never "clicked" until I saw this particular post. 

Yes, you will have to do some math.  Here is me trying to figure these bad boys out, and no, it's not pretty.

I wanted 2x fullness, so initially I doubled the width of the window, added some for seam allowances, and came up with 63 inches.  About 15 minutes later I realized I'd only bought one yard of fabric, and decorator fabric is only 54 inches wide.  Oops!  So some, um, modifications were made.  I also left the top unfinished until I could "test" the length with the actual rod and rings in place.  This allowed me to eyeball the curtains while actually hanging and decide exactly how long I wanted them before making any commitments.

I highly encourage you to review the instructions in the link above, but here are some Cliffs Notes from my bathroom (there's something I never thought I'd put in writing):

1. Make very important cape repairs first

2. Cut your fabric and liner per the instructions and your measurements and (for cafe curtains) make a 2" double fold bottom hem on each.  That means, simply turn up the bottom 2 inches--press this on the crease--fold up another 2 inches--press--and then pin and sew as close to the upper edge as possible.  Do this separately for both the liner and the main fabric.

3. With right sides facing in/together, line up one side of the fabric and liner, making sure to keep your liner shorter than the main fabric.  Pin and sew close to the edge.

4. With right sides still together, now line up the OTHER side of the fabric and liner (leaving the same gap in length as you did on the other side--symmetry is good!).  This will be weird.  The liner is narrower than the main fabric and you will have to sort of push the main fabric out of the way a bit in order to line the other side edge of the two up.  Just do it.  Pin and sew.

5. Turn the whole thing inside out and check out the back.  You'll have to futz with it a bit, but look--you've just made professional looking lined drapes!  Sort of… you're getting very close now and you can really start to see it.  Maneuver things around until they look like they should and then press the sides so they look like this.  (ignore that I've already folded and pressed the top here--just focus on how the sides look with the lining)  You rule.

6. Now you can be fancy and try to miter your corners like the tutorial shows, or you can simply fold that last bit of main fabric under, press, and sew that inch or so up with the machine like I did. 

7. To finish the top, simply do another double-fold hem like you did on the bottom, but here you can mess with the proportions to get exactly the total length and/or header size (the length from the very top to the top-most seam) that you want.  I played around and determined that I wanted my curtains to be exactly 21 inches in length, so I just measured up from the finished bottom, folded and pressed at  21 inches, and then folded and pressed again so that the raw edge would be hidden once I sewed the top up. 

Voila!  Now my in-laws will not have to expose themselves to my neighbors! 

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