Sunday, March 28, 2010

Curtains for the Jungle

I spent Saturday afternoon making curtains for my youngest sons' room.  The bedroom came with non-functional aluminum blinds on the windows and walls painted white.  Here is a "before" picture of my older son's room, which is a mirror image of my younger sons' room.  

How fun or practical is white on the walls for two rambunctious boys?  A change was called for!  I painted the room a jade-colored green a couple of weeks ago.  Welcome to the jungle. 

I had to really think about what kind of print and fabric to use for the curtains.  It needed to be medium-weight, so I didn't have to line each panel, and preferably fade-resistant.  I found a striped, green and blue, all cotton, indoor-outdoor fabric from Fabric.com that I thought would work nicely for this room.


A Short Tutorial for Tab Top Curtain Panels

First, figure out how much fabric you need.  To begin, measure the windows and decide how long you want the curtains to hang and how many panels you need on each window to cover the width.  My windows are 37 inches tall and about 76 inches wide and I wanted the curtains to sit right at the sill. So my finished length would need to be about 38 inches, when you consider the curtain rod sits about 1 inch above the window.  I needed 2 panels per window, 4 total, since there are two windows and my fabric is 54 inches wide.  Multiply 38 by 4 to get 152 inches.  Divide that by 36 inches to see how many yards you need.   Don't forget to add at least 1/3 yard to match stripes for the tabs if your fabric is striped.  At a minimum, I needed about 4.5 yards. 

I cut the curtain panels 38 inches long and left the width 54 inches.  I put a narrow hem on the top of the panel.  I folded it over 1/2 inch, then again 1/2 inch and top-stitched it down.  I folded the bottom up 1/2 inch, then 1 and 1/4 inches and top-stitched it down.   The finished length of the panels were 35 and 3/4 inches.  I had planned to have 2 1/4 inch tabs at the top to make up the extra inches.    I turned the panel sides in 1/2 inch, twice, to have a nice finish on the edges.   

Once my panels were cut and hemmed I started on the tabs.  I wanted the tabs to match the stripes in the fabric.  The blue stripes were spaced perfectly; 7 inches apart.  Each tab at a blue stripe would allow the curtains to hang nicely.  I cut 4 blue stripes out in 45 inch lengths (since I would need 7 of them per panel and would cut each tab 6 inches long) with about 1/2 inch extra fabric on the sides for turning under.  (I had bought extra fabric, so I was able to make 45 inch strips.  If you only have a little extra fabric you will need to make more tab strips.)

Next, I cut the hemmed strips in 6 inch lengths,
folded each 6 inch length in half and used my serger to hold
the tab together at the bottom.


I then sewed the tab to to the top of the curtain panel, at each blue stripe, leaving 2 1/4 inches of tab above the panel.  For strength, I sewed the tab on with a rectangle of stiching that overlapped the hem stitch already there.    

And here is the final result.  Practical, colorful, curtains for two of my little monkeys.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Champagne Crinkle Rayon

I have finished Butterick 5218.  I made view A.  This pattern is very easy.  I used some buttons I have had in my stash for many years and the crinkly, champagne-colored fabric came from FFC.  I really love the sheen  of the fabric, but it is a little thick, so it is not quite as drapey as I would like.  Also, the fabric was terribly fiddly when it came to cutting the pattern pieces, and this made sewing the blouse more difficult.   I am able to wear the collar up or down.  I used Pro-Weft fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, to give the collar just enough stability to stand up.  I tend to like closer fitting clothes, so the look of this feels a little uncomfortable to me.  I think it's the dropped shoulders seeming a little stiff that bothers me the most.  Otherwise, I really like the front closure, slight gathering at the back of the neck, and self-tie.  I am not sure how much I will wear this.  Time will tell...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sneak Peek

I'll be ready to post my opening project created in the new sewing space very soon.  I'm not sure I love the cut of the pattern on me, but I love the fabric and buttons.  Here is a sneak peek with all the details to follow...hopefully tomorrow.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nearly There

I am still in the unpacking, figuring out where everthing goes phase of my move.  But I am making progress.  Good news, I have my sewing machines set up.  Who cares if the rest of the room is in shambles?  Anyway, thought it might be neat to share these three pj sets made for my boys a while ago.  While shopping for fabric locally, the boys picked out the colors for their shorts, and then went on to request a theme for the top.  My youngest wanted "grass", the middle "waves", and the oldest "fire".  I set to work drawing out the stencils.  Once I had them drawn and approved, I might add, I cut out the fabric and fusible web to make the applique.  I fused the cut-out to the t-shirt and used a zig-zag stitch on the edge to reinforce.  Normally I like to use a satin stitch, but these were big appliques, and the zig-zag has held up fine.  I used a Kwik Sew pattern for the pj's, and I bought the t-shirt fabric from The Fabric Fairy.  Hope to be able to get some "new" sewing projects underway soon! 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Beginnings


My family and I have been living in the middle of a farmer's field in an old plantation house for the past year or so while we worked hard to save the last little bit we needed to purchase our own home.  Well the day has come to move into a new beginning and we will miss our farming neighbors.  They are a warm elderly couple who have blessed us in practical ways by sharing bananas, zucchini, and green onions from their harvest.  But more importantly, they've blessed us with their friendship.  When Mrs. "Farmer" found out I sewed, she made a gift for me.  It is an Aloha Hat pincushion.  I will proudly feature it in my new sewing room. (I have my own large sewing space now!) She had no idea my favorite color is green and did you notice how she placed the pins in the shape of my initial ("S" for Shannon)?  We will miss living next to you, our farming friends.

On another note.  Moving means no posts for at least a week.  Until then, keep creating.  I will enjoy seeing what everyone has been up to when I get back.  Protea flower arrangement compliments of Mrs. "Farmer".  I'm really going to miss her!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Retro Florals

A super cool messenger bag for a super cool niece.  I made this last summer using Simplicity 5527 view C.  I chose this style bag with the idea that DN would use it for books or a lap top.  I was happy to find that the size was perfect.  The instructions were very easy to follow and the bag went together perfectly.  I used hardware originally designed for denim suspenders to attach the bag strap so that it could be adjusted and I padded the bag with fusible padding.  Don't you think the bumblebee zipper pull is a perfect finishing touch? I would highly recommend this pattern.