Altered Curtains

My brother is coming for a visit soon. That, as well as putting away the Christmas decorations, has me on a cleaning binge. It’s a good time of year to rearrange and re-do, no matter what the cause.

Funny how ideas pop into your head when you really didn’t know you were thinking of them. Below are the curtains in the spare bedroom. I found the fabric when we first moved into the house and I thought it would be really fun; sort of a designer look. It’s an Indian inspired fabric and the sequins sparkle in the light at night. I sleep in there when I am sick but I don’t close the curtains; I like to see the morning light. Most of our guests do and I have discovered that when you close them, the room turns red! I have been mulling over a new look but hadn’t come up with any great ideas.

I found some Ralph Lauren fabric that I liked at a big craft store, but a) it was expensive and b) the print seemed too tiny to make a large curtain out of. I kept looking at fabrics and ready-made drapes ( boy have they gotten expensive and they all seem to be silk!) but nothing appealed. Then one day the idea popped into my head – to make altered curtains! I think the idea may have come from Sarah Richardson. I love her show and she does use purchased panels and adds decorative details. So I went to another big box store to buy cotton panels. I then took the panel off to the fabric store to look at it with Ralph’s fabric and it was a good match. I bought two yards (on sale) just to experiment. Here is the panel out of the package – it’s not a looker! I don’t really like tab top curtains …

So I started to alter. I got out a seam ripper and undid the tab end. It seemed like a good idea to use the hem end for the (new) top to clip on the curtain rod. One mistake I always make with curtains is to make them too narrow. I am always a bit cheap when buying fabric and that 2x to 3x the width of the window rule seems so extravagant. It’s isn’t. I bought two 50″ wide panels for our bedroom windows which are 100″ wide and they barely shut. And it’s that sliver of sun that peeks through the middle of the curtain that hits Peter’s eyes each morning. So since the panels were about $15 each with the 20% coupon, I decided to be generous and ripped the side seams on two panels and sewed them together. I added 1/2 yard of the pretty RL paisley fabric to the new bottoms – and viola!

It was snowing (finally) on Thursday, Peter was in Holland so it was a good day for a project. And I made myself finish them, meaning I hemmed the curtains. I often don’t get around to the hemming part (Peter’s office curtains, hanging for 4 years aren’t) but they are finished! Now I have to work on the small window which will only need two single panels. (Please note how nicely they close!)

Perhaps this undoing and redoing seems silly. Perhaps I should have just bought many yards of fabric and begun at the beginning. In thinking it over, this process did seem easier – there was little cutting and ripping out is easy.  And I do like the panel at the bottom of the drape, which I probably wouldn’t have done had I started from scratch. And after all, if Sarah does it, why not me?

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