Sew Curtains

December 14, 2012

So I’ve taken a break from clothing sewing and branched out into a bit more home decor. It’s taken a year but I’ve finally done some decorating in our house. My Christmas gift to my husband has been to redecorate his gaming room so he can use it as an office as well. I took the opportunity to make it into a room that a video game geek would love.

One of the key elements to this was the window treatment. The game room has a southern exposure so it gets a lot of light during the day and the light causes glare on the TV screen making it difficult to play. For the past year, we have dealt with this by draping an old rubber backed curtain over the window and holding it in place with thumbtacks. It was functional but looked awful.

BEFORE:curtainThere is clearly room for improvement.

I decided that the curtain would be a focal point for the room and went looking for some fabric that would appeal to a geeky gamer. I struck gold at Spoonflower.com where I found the design 8 Bit Memories, created by ilikemeat.  I had the option of different types of fabric and different weights. I bought two yards of the pattern in cotton poplin.


Of course the fabric is 42 inches wide and the window is 49 inches wide because that’s one of life’s rules, so my first step was to add a side border to the fabric to make it wide enough. I chose to do mine in black broadcloth.

DSC04921I think the black helps bring out the colours and images in the fabric as well.

I googled around for directions on making one’s own Roman Shades and eventually decided to follow the ones written by Steven and Chris who have a design show on CBC. I particularly liked their use of doweling and their helpful diagram.

I bought rubber blackout curtain lining because I knew the grey poplin would be pretty see through. I knew I should buy extra lining to allow for the creation of pockets for the dowels. Luckily this was easy as Spoonflower, like most American stores, sells fabric by the yard, and my local fabric store sells it by the metre so I had a built in length cushion.

I measured the fabric and marked out evenly spaced pockets for dowel rods. At first I made the pockets 1 inch in circumference but that got rather tight for the dowels so I increase them to 1.5 inches and spaced them about 8 inches apart.
Then I sewed the pockets in place and inserted the dowels.
DSC04926I used 7 dowels in  total. I didn’t use one right at the top because the instructions suggested using velcro to hang the curtain and a dowel would get in the way. I inserted one right across the bottom to weight down the last section and ensure it hung well when both open and closed.

Next was the hardest part. I had to centre the decorative fabric on the lining and ensure that the sides were straight and square. I did not have enough room in the sewing room to lay out the whole piece on a table so I wound up laying it out on my dining room floor.
DSC04928Stitching it together with the dowels was also a challenge
DSC04930 …and required some correcting
DSC04931But finally I had it all together.

The next step was to sew curtain rings at evenly spaced points across and down the curtain. I chose to do five rings across and six down to ensure there was plenty of support. The rings are clear plastic and are nearly invisible against the lining. I stitched each one to  the dowel.

Then I strung white string up through each column of rings and across to the top left and stitched velcro to the top of the curtain.
I stuck the other side of the velcro to the top of the window frame and hung the curtain.

This is how it looks when closed.
DSC04941I practiced pulling the strings to pull the curtain up and had to play with the tension on the different strings to make sure both sides of the curtain pulled up evenly. At first, the uneven strings cause the velcro to come undone, but once I made it even, that stopped happening.

When I had it right, I tied a knot in the strings to hold them at those varied lengths.

This is the open shade
DSC04945I then bought a curtain  tie holder that would hold the curtain in place when it was open.
I’ve noticed that my husband has started opening the curtain during the day to let the light in while he is at work. This, no doubt, makes the room more attractive to the sun seeking kitty cats.

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