Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Where the Lazy Way Actually Was More Work . . .

The curtains. The curtains.
They really are beautiful, aren't they?
Let me tell you their story . . .

Lazy #1:
I wanted grommet panels for this room, but I didn't want to sew the grommet part.
Lazy #2:
I found the perfect burlap panels at IKEA for $40 a pair.  Score. (only available image from the blurry camera day)
They were the right color and a great texture, so I got them.
Lazy #3:
Panels are eight feet long.  Room has ten-foot ceilings.  Hmmm.
Lazy #4:
I attached some almost identical burlap to the bottom, making the panels ten feet long.  New burlap is inferior fabric and not square in any direction.  Oh well, it's lining right?
Not Lazy #1:
I did make sure that all the seams would be hidden when the panels were sewn together.  That is not a small feat when you're wrestling with 20 feet of 57" wide fabric. Just sayin'.
Lazy #5:
IKEA panels were 57" wide. And the beautiful floral fabric?  Only 54", with giant printed selvages.  So I measured the top of the floral carefully, pinned it to the base of the grommets, and sewed the fabric together. I planned to overlap the extra inches of burlap to cover completely the selvages with already finished seams.  Clever, huh?
This was not as easy as it sounds.  Pictures can hardly do it justice, but it does show how well the two fabrics match.
Not Lazy #2
Then I top-stitched the floral, and this is where I knew that my decision had been a good one. Notice how the burlap and the floral play off each other?  Love that.
Lazy #6:
In my defense, it is EXTREMELY difficult to wrestle with that much fabric and get seams even.  After I had top-stitched, I was ready to sew the four 112-inch side seams.  This is where I realized my situation:  The print on the selvages didn't stay even the whole way down the fabric.  In fact, it was really quite wavy.  And there was no way to cover that ugly print with the burlap from the lining.  Now what?

Start over?  No.

Unpick?  For those of you who have ever sewn with me, you know this isn't EVER an option.

Throw it all away and never look back?  This option was actually considered but eventually vetoed.

Lazy #7:
Quick trip to the ribbon store (love that place) and probably QT as well for 2" sage grosgrain ribbon and a diet Pepsi to keep me going late into the night.  Solution:  Trim out each side with the ribbon to hide the ugliness. Eight more 112-inch seams needed (and two more bobbins full of thread, I might add).

Final result:

All the lazy stuff looks like it was purposeful.  And I love these curtains.  My favorite curtains I've ever made.  As much work as they were (hours and HOURS more than I'd planned--isn't that always how sewing goes?), they are the thing that makes the most difference in that room.  Ties all the colors together.
And I'd do it all again.  But this time, I would plan on the contrasting burlap and ribbon.  Just sayin'.


  1. Jen,
    They do look amazing. I am so impressed as I can only imagine how much fabric was bunching up in that machine. With the weight I bet they also hang really nicely. Job Well Done... planned or not.

  2. Beautiful work! The last thing I sewed was my wedding dress and that was 23 years ago! That was enough for me!

  3. I love them. I'm a curtain snob - really. I leave windows bare (we do live in the woods) until I can have exactly what I want for drapery. The right curtain makes a room and these ones are perfect. Well done!
    PS I'll be there when it starts to rain here in the winter!

  4. wow. can you come help me please? I'm so afraid of my sewing machine! :)

  5. ok jen...I really need new curtains! please come visit!
    they really look amazing
    I agree with Pam...I have the sewing machine, but it scares me:)
    have a happy day

  6. Wow, that so sounds like something I would do! (I mean the lazy way ending up being more work) That much fabric must have been a bear, even reading "eight more 112 inch seams" made me shudder at the weight and length of all that fabric to keep straight.

    Love the curtains though, absolutely fabulous!

  7. no one would ever know if you didn't tell them, and you are right they are just what the room needed to tie everything together!

    Wish we had a ribbon store. . .

  8. I've got material sitting in my parlor waiting to be made into curtains ... but I'm just SOOO scared to do them!

  9. Another decorating success for you!! You have great vision. Let me know if you need any more seams picked out - I will still do it for you. LOVE

  10. Those curtains, lazy way or hard way, are so pretty. I love the two fabrics and textures together.
    Hey, you might just have found yourself a new design career.
    I'll tell you what, I have a severly negative sense of style and design. I said it and I know this about myself. Some people are just born with a great sense of decorating style and you've got it.
    Goon on ya.

  11. You really rocked those curtains, Jen. I'm blown away!


  12. They look great and hey, you do what you gotta do - No one looks that closely!!

  13. You are so clever! Love those drapes!

  14. Isn't it funny how the lazy way always ended up to be more work that it's suppose to? It's a trap I tell you :)

    I am quite impressed with how your curtains came out! Love the color and the pattern :)