Monday, 13 August 2012

How to Make... Lined Curtains!

The time had come. Another few curtain hooks had broken. The end was hanging down. The edges were frayed. The material just didn't go. New curtains just had to be made.

So off I went to the Rag Market to peruse the material shops! I found some gorgeous white cotton, with skulls and roses on, but at £8 a metre it was just too expensive. I settled on some red cotton from another stall, which you'll see later on ;-)

So! Destructions for making lined curtains! Please bear in mind that I'm not at all qualified in sewing - I didn't do textiles, I hand sew everything and I'm not very patient. Therefore, this is PERFECT for an absolute beginner, because, well, I am one!

First thing's first; take pictures of Crappy Old Curtains. 
Crappy Old Curtains

Relocate to somewhere bigger, I.E., somewhere large enough for measuring, cutting, swearing, putting cups of tea on... (as in, not my double bed, which is where I had planned to do it). Enter, the Front Room.
Front Room. Big table!

Gather your material! Good eh? £4 a metre, 60 inches wide. I got 4 metres - more than enough for my curtain requirements. Also pictured is my HUGE new dressmakers chalk - my brother reckons it's actually a giant guitar pick. Also note 50cm ruler from when I was in year 8. Also also note, the material is inside out, so I can draw all over it and not worry.
Nearly 24? Me? Nooo...

Measure, measure, and measure again!!! It's easier to remove excess than it is to add more. MEASURRREEE. And then, cut. Awesome scissors below are 'proper' dressmakers shears. They're heavy, very sharp and very orange. They are flat on one side for cutting against a flat thing! They were my inheritance from my Nanny a few years ago.
The first cut is the deeeeeeeeeeeeepppesstt...

Blackout lining. Wonderful stuff. I do not, can not and will never understand people who have unlined curtains!! How do you sleep? My lining also came from the Rag Market, from a different stall. It was less than £5 a metre I think. (I can't remember). Note also different chalk. Can't use white chalk on pale material ;-) (Also from Rag, also from different stall. I love the Rag.)

You want your lining to be slightly smaller than the curtain material. From each edge, mine was 2cm narrower, and the height was 4cm shorter from the top and 2cm from the bottom. I cannot emphasise measuring enough!! (More on this story later).
Measure, measure, measure!! I have drawn a line on it because I cannot cut straight to save my life. Cut along this line. The lining is pinned because I had folded it in half to fit in on the table.

Lay your lining on top of your curtain material! Woooooo. Sounds simple? Wrong. You want your curtain material wrong side up (so nice side against the table, underside facing you) and the lining is smooth side down, so the furry side is facing you. I have no idea if this is the correct way to sew lining, but it's how my Crappy Old Curtains were done, so I did it the same way. To do the edges, I folded them twice, so that I had a neat folded edge (looks sweet, doesn't fray). Pin every few inches. Don't prick yourself.
Fat fingers for scale. My sides were 2cm, so folded into a 1cm border (folded twice for neatness). The top (to the left) is more like 4cm, which folds to about an inch.

I folded the top part afterwards. Check out my corner! Sweet. You can also see the difference between the top fold and the side fold. The lining itself is not folded - it fits neatly to where the material folds around it. That makes no sense.
Hospital corners also work.

Realise that you haven't actually cut the right length. Rectify. Look at all that spare material!

Get yo' momma to wind a bobbin, set up and then teach you how to use a sewing machine. You could hand sew (I was going to but then Nice Lady sets it all up for me) :-)
Mommy <3

Sewing!! I haven't used a sewing machine since.... 2003?
If you do the pins the same way that I did, do not sew over them!! Remove them just before they get to the foot. If you insert the pins perpendicular to direction of sewing, you should be able to sew right over them.

Ch-ch-check it out!
Neat. (OCD).

Do this for all the edges and corners, and then take a photo! Your (possibly) first ever curtain is DONE.

Now you're a Pro, and you'll decide to rush the next one, because the first curtain has taken you nearly four hours already. You'll miss measurements, and your head will be working in cm, mm and inches. You'll forget numbers and pin it wrong, and then this will happen:
Turns out that First Curtain is too long, and, err, not straight. At all. What ensued after this was A LOT of measuring, re-measuring, measuring again, measuring against Crappy Old Curtain, swearing, measuring and re-pinning. I then decided I was too tired, so I left it.

Enter next day! I got my mother to check it all, and we decided that it was fine. I rectified the problem above, by stitch-picking the whole side, separating the two fabrics, cutting, measuring, folding and re-pinning, before re-sewing. I then laid Second Curtain on top of First Curtain and voila! They matched! Mostly.
Woo! Progress.

Now it is time to add the curtain hook strip material stuff. Also from the Rag Market. Also from a different stall. I like the wide stuff because it helps to stiffen the top of the curtain. Although it is pinned a distance away from the top, in actual fact, I sewed it with a 5mm gap from the top. I laid it onto the curtain, pinned it, and left about 2-3inches sticking out either side.
The end is in sight!!

Sew along the dotted lines!
You can see that I have already sewn along the top line - that's my 5mm I was talking about. Sew along the bottom line the same way. At each end of the strip there are three strings - do not sew these down. You want to pull them out of their holes, which will be an inch or two into the curtain width (so away from the edge of the curtain). Sew underneath where these strings were, to fix down the strip edge. This will prevent fraying. Cut the hook strip so you cannot see it from the front of the curtain. Leave the three strings loose (for now).

Check out your sewing!

In the interim stages, sew both curtains and the hook strip stuff. Add curtain hooks to the curtains and attempt to put them on the curtain rail. Realise that the lady in the Rag sold you four mismatched bags of hooks, so only one bag fit on the curtain rail. Go to Wilkos to buy more. They don't have any. Decide to buy a complete new curtain track, with fixtures and hooks included. Come home. Take down old rail. Put up new rail. Take down new rail and cut to size. Put it up again. Add new curtain hooks to curtains. Put curtains on rails. Be amazed at how they fit and how perfect they are and how awesome you are and how great they look! Play with them a bit - new curtain rails was a good decision.

Close your curtains so they are fully extended. Remember those three white strings? They're used to gather the curtain material, to make it look good (or something). If you want your curtains to be gathered at the top, pull these three strings to get the amount of gather you want - my curtains were not long enough for this - and then tie them in a knot to keep them that way. As my curtains were too short, I didn't pull these strings, so I just tied them off to stop them pulling through. Trim off any ends. Admire!

Woohooo! My first ever pair of curtains that I've ever made! Also note - the length difference between left and right curtain. Oops. It's all good though, because the right hand curtain was my first curtain, and I had already hemmed it, but thought it was longer so turned it over again. All I had to do was unstitch the second hem I did, and voila, equi-length curtains of awesomeness.
How exiting!!

*sXe = youth speak for straight edge. Yeah, I was an emo once.

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