Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Curtains for the Dining Room

I thought I would be waiting to get curtains for our dining room forever. I really did. As you know, the dining room has been one of my "project rooms" and little by little I have been putting it together. The earth wasn't built in a day and our house certainly won't be either. Let's just take a moment to reflect on the price of curtains. If you want decent ones and you want, you know, are looking about spending around $300. Ikea does have great ones for $25 a set (which is a great option and I may end up getting some for other rooms in our house), but I was looking for something a little nicer for this room. Anyway, I was having a really hard time justifying paying for something that cost just as much as my husband and I to have a really nice day at the spa. And for something that is made out of fabric! But I was also really not in the mood to try making curtains on my own. Well, I kept my eye open for both cheap fabric or cheap ready made curtains and what do you know, I came across this cream silk dupioni fabric at a great price at a local fabric store. I couldn't believe what a good price it was. So that took care of the issue of to make, or not to make! I had already purchased the curtain rod from Joanne Fabrics a few months ago, so all I had to do was mount the thing (which my wonderful husband was thrilled to do) and make the curtains. Hanging the hardware was a little scary (at least for me), but sewing the curtains turned out to not be so bad. It just took a lot of patience because there was so much freaking fabric. Our ceilings in that room I think are 8 or 9 feet tall!

Here is the how to:

You will need:
* Fabric from those big bolts of fabric. I got 8 yards of it. The bolts are about 55 inches wide. The length depends on how long you want your curtains to be and how high your ceilings are. I wanted to put my curtains pretty high, to make the room look bigger and then I knew I wanted a "puddle" (as they apparently call it) at the bottom. My window frame was 74 inches wide, so if I had two panels sides by side at approx 55 inches, that would give me 110 all the way across, minus some hemming space. For the length I measured from where the curtains would hang to the floor, then added a few inches on for hemming and for the puddle, then I got a little extra. I didn't want to come up short. Once the woman at the fabric store cut my 8 yards, I cut it all in half, so that I knew I would be working with 2 equal pieces. Sorry for the long explanation, but it may be helpful. 
* Matching thread
* Sewing machine
* Lots of pins
* Lots of patience

Step 1. If you read all that instruction above, you should have two, 4 yard pieces of fabric. Start with one of those. This will be your first panel. Hem down the sides of your fabric. So basically along the whole length of both sides of your 4 yards of fabric. I folded it about 1/4 inch, then another 1/4 inch, pinned and then sewed it. I didn't even cut off the ugly stuff where the fabric ends because you won't see it. Don't worry about the top of the panel just yet.

Step 2. At the top of the panel (along the width of the fabric) fold over about 1/4 inch and sew down. Then fold again about 4 1/2 inches and pin in place. Then, following each of the places where you pinned, pin 2 inches from there. This second line of pins is where we will make a pleat/ruffle. (If you don't want a ruffle, you can just sew the first line of pins down and then slide your curtain on). I made the pocket (where the curtain rod will go) 2 inches wide, (on the box it said the rod was about 1 1/8 inch) so I gave myself some extra space. Just in case.

Step 3. Sew along the first line of pins you did, removing the pins as you go.

Your curtain should look like this so far.

Step 4. From there sew along the second line of pins making a pleat or ruffle as you go. (I decided to not do the ruching ruffle method because I was too afraid of my thread breaking) It's not as hard as it seems. You just pinch a little bit of the upcoming fabric and tuck it under, then sew over and repeat. You will get into a rhythm and the ruffles will all look uniform.

Now your curtain panel should look like this.

Step 5. Try your curtain on the curtain rod to make sure it fits. If it doesn't you will have to pull out the threads and make a larger pocket. I had a nervous moment with this, because my ruffling made it a little tight, but it still fit! It doesn't slide super easy though, so if you want yours to, you will need to make the pocket bigger than 2 inches. I wasn't anticipating opening and closing these curtains a lot, because they are really just for show. The room (as you will see in a bit) is really dark already, so the purpose of these curtains is merely decorative. That's also why I chose not to do a lining on the curtain.

Step 6. Determine how long you want your curtain to be and where you want it to end. You may want it to end right at the floor or you can make a puddle effect like I did. I pushed the curtain up to the wall, then measured out from there and pinned about 6 inches. I ended up doing 7 inches on the second panel, because it just needed a smidge more. No one will know.....except all of you. Sew a hem along the bottom and then your curtain is finished! Repeat all steps above for the second panel.

My glorious puddle.

This room is so dark, so it was really difficult for me to get some good pictures of the curtains, but I tried! They say in photography that there is a golden hour to take pictures, but not so for this room. It's always dark! Anyway, that's why I chose to not make a lining on these curtains and why I was not too concerned that they don't slide easily over the curtain rod, because I won't be closing them.

Overall I am really happy with the outcome of these. And they only cost me........$50!

I have to say that now I am not that scared anymore to make curtains and I may be making some others for a few rooms in our house. It was not that bad at all and I was able to finish the project in 2 days. The hardest part was just finding the perfect fabric!

The curtains have really transformed the room and I am so thrilled with how they look. Just in time for the holidays!

That's all for today. As always, let me know if you have questions or need help with this project and I will be happy to answer!

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