Sunday, January 15, 2012

Curtains on a dime tutorial

Let me start by saying I am a novice seamstress. Before this year, I hadn't had my sewing machine out in years. And when I did use it, it was for quilts that only required a straight stitch. Pinterest has inspired me to clean the dust off my sewing machine and learn how to use it. So, with the help of countless blogs, I have started to using my sewing machine for something other than a foot rest.

I'm in the process of renovating the girls' room and window coverings, as always, had me stumped. I couldn't find any curtains that I loved and I definitely didn't want to spend $20 a panel for four windows for any of the curtains that I liked. In talking this over with my friend Lee, she suggested that I make curtains from a flat sheet. So, I went to Wal-mart and found that they had flat sheets for $5. I had fabric in my stash at home for the ruffle, which made my window treatments only $10. I will be adding a valance in a few weeks to dress them up a bit.

The great thing about using a flat sheet is that I only had to finish two sides. If I wouldn't have added the ruffle, I would have only had to finish one side. I have very large windows in my house and I only needed two twin size sheets to cover them. You may notice that they are a little thin. I decided to add light-filtering blinds to the window instead of lining the curtains. These blinds were under $4 at Wal-mart. I would perfer my daughter's room not be totally dark because I don't want them to need total darkness to sleep. Just my preference, the room darkening blinds were only a few dollars more. Do what's best for your family.

For this project you'll need:

A flat sheet (measure your windows to determine what size and how many)
Fabric for the ruffle
A sewing machine
Coordinating thread

Cut your sheet to size, allowing for a 3/4 inch seam allowance on the cut ends. Cut two four inch strips of fabric for the ruffle. Be sure to cur the ruffle double the width of the curtain.

Finish the unruffled edge of the curtain. Set your sewing machine to a large zig zag stitch if you don't have a serger. Adjust the length of the stitches to the largest setting. Sew down the edge of the sheet so the left side the the zig zag stitch is stitching the edge of the fabric and the needle is not hitting the fabric on the right side of the stitch. Once finished, fold over the fabric a 1/2 inch and straight stitch down the length of the curtain.

Using a zig zag stitch, finish the edge of the sheet that will be attached to the ruffle and both sides of the fabric that you're using for the ruffle. Fold over the outer edge of the ruffle over a 1/2 inch and using a straight stitch, sew the length of the ruffle.

Set your sewing machine to the longest length stitch possible (if you're up for it, you can also adjust your tension on your machine to help gather the ruffle, refer to your owners manual for the correct setting) and using a straight stitch, sew the length of the ruffle close to the edge that will be attached to the curtain. It may start to gather as you sew, this is ok. 

Once finished, hold one piece of thread in your hand and slowly start moving the fabric down the thread to gather the ruffle. Gather it as much as possible, its easier to spread it out than to gather it more once you start pinning it to the sheet.

Once the ruffle is gathered, pin right sides together to the sheet. Stretch the ruffle to achieve your desired look. Using a straight stitch, sew the two pieces together.

Press the seams to lay flat. If you want a more finished look, sew a finishing stitch above the ruffle to keep the seam flat.

To make the rod pocket, fold over the top of the sheet to the desired pocket size and straight stitch down the length of the sheet.

There you have it... $5 curtains that take about 2 hours to sew...totally worth it!

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