Friday, July 9, 2010
Now that the book tour and Disneyland craziness is over, I can get back to the long-delayed curtain tutorial!
As you may recall, this is what the finished product looks like:
Here's what we started with: a $20 set of curtains purchased at Ross.
We bought them because we liked the copper rings on top and the waffle-weave texture:
1) It turned out the curtains were the exact same color as the walls, so they looked big, blank, and boring.
2) Someone else really liked the waffle-weave texture, too. This someone:
all the right claw-holds.
Within a week, our poor curtains looked like this:
Since the destruction only went up about four feet, though, I decided to try and salvage the top halves and replace the bottoms with faux leather.
The process was pretty simple. First we cut:
Then we trimmed the vinyl (purchased at Jo-Ann's with one of their 40% off coupons - woot!) to the same width as the fabric panels, allowing extra for a hemmed edge:
The trouble came when we tried to go back and hem through the edges. The carpet tape is insanely sticky, and gunked up the needle. So, we nixed the hemming idea. Fortunately the tape is strong enough that it looks and holds up just fine.
To attach the vinyl to the fabric curtains, we first taped/hemmed the sides and top edge. (We left the bottom for the time being.) Then we used our machine to stitch just below the top hemmed edge of the vinyl to the fabric panel, as you can see here:
Because the stitching is below the adhesive, and is only on one layer of vinyl, there were no needle-gunking issues. Of course, this also meant that the top 2 inches of the vinyl gapped open, like a flap. Enter the penny buttons. I had to hand stitch through all three layers: the doubled-over vinyl and the fabric panel, so that the buttons held the vinyl flap taut. And yes, it was a real pain to do. (Thank goodness for thimbles.)
Lastly, we hung the curtains, measured where we wanted the bottoms to fall, and cut and hemmed them with more carpet adhesive tape.
At this point, I thought we were done.
Then I tried to open the curtains. Heh.
It turned out that the vinyl was too thick to allow the panels to scrunch together very well; the bottom halves just didn't want to stay open. So, necessity being the mother of invention, we started brainstorming tie-backs.
In the end, I'm glad we hit this speedbump, because I think the tie-backs are the coolest part. :) Plus, they were fun and cheap to make.
Here's what you need:
The cotton rope you may have to order online, since you want something pretty thick. (This is a one inch diameter rope.) We found ours at KnotandRope.com for around $13 with shipping.
Other than that, you'll need copper caps and tubes from the plumbing section of any hardware store, two wall hooks, and some heavy copper wire. (Ours was salvaged from old electrical wire John had in the garage.)
To make your tie-back caps, first bend your wire around a broom handle or stick to get a good circle:
Then snip the edges:
And bend them out, so you get this shape:
Next drill two small holes (just slightly thicker than your copper wire) into each copper cap:
Now insert the wire ends into those holes...
And use a thick screwdriver to bend the edges out inside the cap, so the ring is held firmly in place:
The finished caps:
Ok, now we're on the home stretch!
To cut your rope, first wrap some masking or painter's tape around the area you want to cut, and then saw through the taped area with a sharp blade.
Your tape shouldn't show. If it does, you are using some insanely wide tape. Stop that.
Next, I dunked each tie-back in coffee to age it a little.
As you can see from my test swatch of rope in the picture before this, the coffee only darkened the rope by a teensy amount - but it's still better than the stark white is used to be.
And finally, we hung the wall hooks where we wanted them, and, voila!
It's hard to get a good shot with my dining table in the way, but you get the idea.
And that's our curtains! Hope this was helpful/entertaining for some of you. Let me know if you try any of this yourselves; I would *love* to see what you guys come up with!
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