Monday, March 28, 2011

There's a baby on the way!

And that, my friends, is why I have been absent for...3 months? Has it really been that long?! Well, let's just say my energy was completely zapped by the bean-sized embryo taking charge of my belly. All for a good cause, of course. However, this means a host of fun projects to share! Including the most recently completed project - curtains for the nursery! (Did I mention we moved since the last time I think I posted?) We have a nursery, and the curtains were the first step.

I'm pretty proud of myself, because I didn't use a pattern and am happy with the result. And they were easy, to boot! Not to say I wouldn't change some things next time around, but overall, they're exactly what the room needed - a bit of what I'll call 'inspired cuteness.' I found an adorable print by Kokka at Crafty Planet with different fairy tales on it - Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Thumbelina, The Musicans of Bremmen, and Puss in Boots. We're not finding out the sex of the baby beforehand, so it was important to find something that would work for either. This print fit what we were looking for.

Materials needed:
Fabric (I used 3 yards)
Coordinating thread
Grommets (mine came from Joanne's)
Measuring tool for seams

The windows in this room already had curtains, so I measured the curtains that were already there to determine how much fabric I needed. And by measured, I mean I took the 1/8 of a yard sample and counted how many of those I would need to get my yardage. There are easier ways. Like a yard stick. Which I don't have.

Moving on! I washed and dried my fabric to pre-shrink it. How many times do you wash your curtains? Yeah, that's what I'm thinking, too, but when I DO want to wash curtains I certainly don't want my seams to pucker due to shrinkage.

Then ironing! Secretly, I find ironing to be quite relaxing. We actually couldn't find our iron for the longest time after moving here, but it turned up in the one box we hadn't actually opened up. Imagine that. I pressed the wrong side of the fabric (the side really doesn't matter) using high heat with steam since the fabric is cotton. The steam really helps ease those creases out of the material.

Once the fabric was pressed, I folded it in half and cut down the middle to get my two curtains. The pattern I used was printed differently than most are, so if you decide to do this yourself, you should make sure when measuring for your fabric that you're measuring the way you want the pattern to appear (hopefully that makes sense). Then I spread my material out on my table and placed the curtain I was using as a pattern over top to determine how large my seams could be.

Next I measured and ironed my seams. On the bottom and top, I folded the fabric up 1/4 inch and ironed in place, and folded over again - this time 1/2 inch. Once the seams were marked, I went to the sewing machine and sewed a 1/4 inch seam...afterward realizing another go-round would ensure my seams were secure and laid flat. So I sewed another seam - approximately 5/8 this time (you'll see in the picture).

Repeat process for side seams. Although for the sides, I folded up 1/2 inch, ironed, and folded up another 1/2 inch. Sewed the double seams...but this time there were corners to contend with. How to make corners look decent? My method is one I made up, so if you're an experienced sewer, use whatever works for you. If you're looking for tips, here's what I did:
1. Fold up and press your first 1/2 inch; open

2. Fold in one corner until it meets the crease you just created; press

3. Keeping corner tucked in, fold up and press the second 1/2 inch

Voila! Sew your double seams. In addition to sewing the length of the fabric, I sewed the corners shut, too. Maybe that was overkill, but I didn't want those corners moving.

Then for the finishing touches. I pressed the curtains again, this time on the right side of the fabric, and placed one on my table to prep for grommets. I got these grommets at Joanne's and they were super easy to use. Four for each curtain. I placed the ones on the ends first and worked my way in following the instructions on the back of the package. Cut out my circles, placed my grommets in the circles and snapped them into place. All done! Word of the wise: place your end grommets within an inch and a half of the edges. My table wasn't big enough to not have some fabric hanging over the sides of the work area - so even though I placed them an inch and a half in, there were 2.5 more inches hanging off both sides of the table. Oops! Not a huge deal, and I could bring in the side seams (particularly the ones in the middle) a little more. For now, they're fine.

The rod that's in the nursery right now is one that wraps around at the corners. It works, but I'd like to get a straight rod that matches the grommets as I think the curtains would hang just a little bit more nicely. I'm pretty happy with the end result though! Easy curtains for the home.