It's Curtains for Me

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Don't fret. Not "curtains" in the melodramatic sense. It;s curtains in the entirely practical keep-the-neighbours-from-looking-in-my-bedroom sense. A careful observer will note that the new curtains in my bedroom are not finished. I haven't hemmed them yet. But hemming curtains isn't interesting to most people. I will do it one of these days, but the curtains work as they are and that is what is important.

Why would I even bother to write about curtains? And fairly plain brown curtains at that? The answer to those questions lies in the window itself. My bedroom window is a whopping 93" long (that's 236.2 cm). Pretty big when you consider that the longest length you can purchase ready-made blinds is 72" (182.8 cm). And then there's the issue of the new, nearby closet. Originally, there was no closet in this space because originally this was not a bedroom. The short distance between the edge of the window and the corner of the two walls eliminated the potential for hanging a curtain rod above the window on brackets.


This left me with some sort of inside-the-window-frame lightweight fabric curtain. Enter this clever little device from Ikea (whatever you have to say about them, they do know small spaces). I mounted this inside the window frame, fiddled around for over half an hour to get the length of the wire just perfect, and hung these little hook/clamps over the wire. Now I just needed to buy fabric and make curtains!

The walls in my bedroom are a peachy shade, the closet material is a dark brown as is the bedside table. I decided that a dark brown lightweight fabric would be just the thing. I bought many metres (5? 6?) of a chocolatey brown polyester dupioni/shantung. (I don't know the difference between dupioni and shantung, do you?) For a few weeks we simply clipped the unsewn fabric in the window to try it out. Guess what? You could see right through the fabric! If I were to be changing clothes or smooching my husband in my bedroom with the lights on and the curtains pulled, the whole neighbourhood could set up chairs on the sidewalk and watch the show! This was not acceptable. I have lived without any privacy for a long time, and that time was so close to coming to an end. Another layer of fabric was needed.

At my local crazy fabric store (shout out for the wackiness that is Dressew!) I found, with the broadcloth,  a very lightweight brown poly-cotton. It's as light as a batiste. In fact that's what I was looking for, but it was entirely the wrong season for batiste. Good ol' Dressew. And get this: it was only $3.99 per metre!! Unheard of in fabric stores in Vancouver! I bought many metres (6? 7?). We tried it out and guess what? You can't see anything through the combination of fabrics! Woot! Now I just needed to get sewing.


I should have done a little research first. But I seem to be the kind who likes to reinvent the wheel. Here is what I did:

I wanted the curtains to have a bit of a wave to them when they were closed (not a flat panel of fabric), so I think each panel is 93" wide. I think this is correct because I have lost that page of notes and I am too lazy to go measure the curtains. So I began by cutting the fabric into lengths that, when sewn together, would arrive at my desired width. I sewed those panels together and then hemmed the edges. I did not hem the selvedge edges on the lining where it met the edge of the window. I stitched a strip of interfacing about 3 inches high by the width of the panel to the top edge of either the lining or the outer fabric - I don't remember which now. I then placed the lining and the outer fabric right sides together and sewed a seam 2" from the raw edge.

This was then pressed, turned, pressed again, and pinned back together another 2" from the seam edge. Next came marking the placement of each hook/clamp. I think I put them 7 and 7/8" apart on center - whatever it was, I used eleven hook/clamps per panel. I then ransacked my supply of seam binding from my mother's stash, found a navy blue that would be unnoticeable from outside the window and pressed the decades of creases out of it. The seam binding was then pinned at each hook/clamp placement mark, and a generous 1/4" was measured out from either side of each pin (maybe it was really closer to 3/8") leaving about a 1/2 inch space.

At each of those marks I stitched a narrow zigzag across the seam binding, completely backstitching for security. After all of the spaces for the clamps were made (and checked, and fixed, and checked again), I stitched the top edge of the seam binding to the curtain in the spaces between the clamps (to keep them from getting caught on anything).


I stuck the clamps in their little spaces and hung the curtains up! I could probably cut six inches off the bottom and still be able to have a nice three inch hem, but that will wait for a day when I have a couple of hours to sew and nothing else to do. No breath-holding, please.

Comment (1)

I never get excited about sewing curtains, but it sure is nice to have them. Yours look great!