Simple curtain panels

These curtain panels are so simple to make, I did not bother with any “during the process” pictures.  Also, I was in a rush when I made the curtain for the half bath about a year ago.

On the “south” side of the house, I have a laundry room and half bath that are off the “mud hallway” entrance from the garage.  I painted the hallway and bath two shades of the same blue.  I believe, it’s Caribbean blue by Benjamin Moore.  It does make the space a bit darker, but I love the richness of the hue.  The half bath and laundry room each has one little window, overlooking the driveway and a tree line.  I’m not really worried about privacy here, but I did want the bathroom to have some privacy in case of visitors.  And, since we were getting married and having a bunch of people over for a bbq rehearsal dinner, I thought it might be time.  So the day before people started showing up, I quickly sewed this panel and put it up with a simple standard curtain rod.

Half bath curtain panel

Half bath curtain panel

I decided to use a simple (and cheap) rod because I knew it was not important for this curtain to ever be open.  Also, there is so little space between the window and the wall that I’m not sure a decorative rod would have fit.  If anything I may have had to leave off one finial to make it work, and I thought that would look cheesy.

So! To make this curtain, I took about a yard and a half of fabric (I originally bought two yards of 45″ wide fabric), and pinned and ironed the edges, and then sewed them down.  I folded about four inches over the top to make the pocket, and sewed it.  But, you don’t usually need a pocket quite this big.  Next, I measured the window from where I wanted the curtain to hang, and I transferred that size to my curtain and hemmed.  For me, sewing is really easy (straight line across).  But, I know lots of other people like to use hem tape.  It works just as well and only requires an iron.

Detail half bath curtain fabric

Detail half bath curtain fabric

The blue in the fabric is an exact match to the color on the walls.  I was lucky that it happened that way, but I loved his pattern anyway and would have used it regardless.  The deep turqouise color reminds me of the Peacock room (at one of my favorite galleries), and I wanted to get a Chinoiserie vibe.

While shopping a huge sale at Joann’s over Independence Day weekend, I found this fabric that I just really loved.  Originally, I was meaning to make an apron out of it.

Detail laundry room curtain fabric

Detail laundry room curtain fabric

But after I got home, I realized it has the same colors as my hallway and kitchen!  Hmm…if only there was someplace I could put it…aha!  The laundry room.  I had completely forgotten, and neglected this room since we’ve moved in.  The only upgrade it has ever gotten was to replace the appliances.  I haven’t even painted the room yet.  However, there was a pair of curtains up, left by some previous owner.  They were hideous, but I just sort of draped them up on themselves to let in light.  But now, I had a fabric that would compliment the nearby rooms.  I purchased a yard and a half which was just enough to make this curtain.  I did the same thing as I did with the other curtain, except I made the pocket just big enough to accommodate the rod.  It wasn’t until I was taking the old curtains down that I realized there was a nice little brass rod.

Laundry room curtain

Laundry room curtain

Thankfully, the fabric was just the right length with everything finished, and it brings a pop of color into the room.  Someday, I will share more pictures of the laundry room when I have a chance to make it pretty, but right now it’s too ugly.  really.

And because Peanut apparently has to be in every single photo shoot I do in the house:

Peanut looking out the window

Peanut looking out the window

She even got on the toilet and stuck her head under the curtain in the bathroom while I was trying to take pictures.  But she just rubs up on me and starts purring, how can I not love her.

I can’t believe how long it took me to make a new curtain for this space.  It’s such an easy fix to personalize the space a bit more, and help it tie in to the rest of the house.  Maybe it will get me motivated to paint this room and put in actual baseboard (right now, it’s what the builder originally put in, window and door moulding).

Yay for simple projects!


Who would’ve thought….these used to be curtains

I wanted a quick and simple update to my eat-in kitchen and family room and I was itching to bring in some fabric.  There aren’t many options for trimming out your kitchen in fabric, and I felt that I could use a really beautiful fabric as the showpiece on the windows.  I debated and pined and scouted and waited for sales, and finally decided on a Better Homes and Gardens fabric.  I waited until there was a 50% off sale at JoAnn’s, and I had a 10% off everything coupon, so my total for this project (four curtain panels) ended up being about $115.  Not bad for super thermal, super beautiful curtains.

Unfortunately, this was the only before shot I had of the previous curtains in the kitchen:

Summer Dining Table

Eat-In Kitchen Before

I hoisted the curtains up for maximum light for the shot.  But you can see there’s not much to them, just a gold silk-like fabric.  I believe they were by Chris Madden at JCPenney’s. I needed to keep a thermal barrier at this window because it gets full south-western exposure.  In the summer, it can get very hot here in Virginia, and I want to keep my house as naturally cool as possible (and keep those cooling bills low).  I had no other plans for these curtains, and so decided to reuse them, and just sew directly over top of them.

The fabric I chose is called “Wicklow Indigo” by Better Homes and Gardens.  I love this fabric.

Detail close up of fabric, Wicklow Indigo by Better Homes and Gardens

Detail of Wicklow Indigo

I had already purchased the rings, and decided not to worry about keeping a fancy top.  Instead, just a simple single pocket (just in case). I also wanted to sew these together for added strength, durability (we open and close the curtains daily), and looks.

First I laid the fabric out, and cut the appropriate amounts.  Ideally, you want about 2.75 yards for 84″ curtain panels.  At this point, Peanut wanted to help.

Peanut my furry little helper

Peanut, my furry helper

After cutting and lining up the fabric, I pinned the edges over.

Edges of fabric pinned

Side of fabric pinned down to old curtain panel.

Next I ironed the folded and pinned edge for a nice crease.  This helps the fabric lay flat (and stay in line) while sewing.

Ironing fabric flat

Ironing the edges flat

Sew a straight line with you sewing machine!  I sewed right over top the old pockets because I did not feel up to taking the whole curtain panel apart first.

side of one edge sewed

Side of fabric sewed onto old curtain panel

Getting close!  I then folded and pinned the top and bottom.  I used the original curtain as the guide to keep a straight, even line.

Bottom edge of fabric pinned

Bottom edge of fabric pinned.

At this point, you can iron again, and then sew.  And voila!  New, thermal curtains!

Eat-in kitchen drapes

New thermal curtains in the kitchen.

I then did the exact same treatment on the curtain in the living room.  No before shot, but they were exactly the same as the kitchen drapes except they were a ruby red color.

family room curtain

New family room thermal curtain.

This fabric is called “Indian Grass Batik- Red” by Lauren Ralph Lauren.  I’m especially proud of this fabric because it was in the clearance bin, marked at $15 a yard, but with the sale I got it for $6.75 a yard!  Sweet.  Detail for you:

Indian Grass Batik- in red, by Lauren Ralph Lauren

Indian Grass Batik- in red, by Lauren Ralph Lauren

I’m so glad I updated my curtains.  I like them so much more- as they provide more interest to the rooms they are in.  I even like my dining set better in the kitchen now with the new drapes.  (Although I’m still debating whether or not I would like to milk paint the chairs).  They also feel awesome- super heavy and rich.  Slowly turning this place into something that will sell.  :)

New thermal drapes in the eat-in kitchen.

New thermal drapes in the eat-in kitchen






One pillow, Two pillow, old pillow, new pillow

Who says you have to go out and buy new pillows every time you want to change something in your decor!  When my husband and I bought our (ridiculously awful) sofa set, it came with a crazy number of pillows.  I think the number is something like 10.

The pillows were all made in the same fabric as the sofa set- a medium brown microsuede, and chocolate brown leather.  Most of the pillows were just made out of the microsuede, and not the leather.  I put most of them in my closet, as there really is no need for so many pillows.  Although I think I found out why they give you so many later– when the sofa starts coming apart you can just pile up the pillows instead.  Yuck.

After I finished making the twin-sized headboard, I realized I had more than a yards worth of fabric leftover, and could make some new pillow covers for a couple of my very ugly pillows!  It’s very easy to do and it was nice to NOT have to spend money on new pillow forms.  The fabric is from Ikea.

Old, bland pillow

Old, bland pillow

So boring!  First step, measure your pillow.  Mine was 20″ square.  So I wanted to cut my fabric a bit bigger.  Ideally, give yourself an inch, but I gave myself half an inch and it worked out really well.

I used a large marked cutting board so that I could make sure my form was square.  Cut two pieces, and place good sides together, pin.  If you have a pattern that is dependent on straight lines, or matching print, line up the best you can before you pin.  I forgot to do this on my first pillow, but I made sure I remembered on my second.

Place the good sides of fabric together, pin.

Two good sides together.

Sew three of the sides together, keeping it as straight and even as possible.  I had guidelines marked on my pillow to keep my form square.

Detail of sewn pillow cover, good sides together, corner

Detail of sewn pillow cover corner, good sides together

I sewed into the fourth side just a little bit, and tripled the stitching for strength.  (Just go forwards and backwards and then forwards again on your machine).

Turn the cover inside out, and poke out all the corners.  Here’s a detail of the matching seam:

pillow seam matches

Pillow Seam, it matches!

Stuff your old pillow into the new cover, and fold both edges in, and pin together to sew.

old pillow in new cover

Old pillow in new cover

The next step, sewing the fourth side shut, I usually do by hand.  However, I was a little impatient with these pillows, and decided to use the machine.  The first one took a few tries to get it to look halfway decent.  I had to very firmly keep the pillow in place, and stuffed way inside, so that I had a flat surface to work with on the machine.  It’s not completely even, but it does the trick.  And it certainly doesn’t look any worse than what the pillows originally had!  I am very happy with my bright, new modern looking pillows!

New pillow cover

New, modern pillow cover!

Happy new pillows brighten up the drab sofa.  Hopefully this will help me live with it for a few more years until we can afford to replace it!

New pillows on sofa

New pillows on sofa.