Friday, June 1, 2012

Souvenir from Shanghai: Custom Curtains

We love that our living room has floor to ceiling windows and planned to live with them open, but sunny days meant it was hard to cool the room and there was a glare on the afternoon football game (that convinced the hubs!). And so I started looking at options.
Store Bought Window Panels?
Nope, panels are sold in standard 50" widths, would require way too many, and that many panels would not be the least bit attractive.
Made to Order Curtains?
Online quotes were around the $4,000 range. Um, not even a consideration, no way!
Sewing the Curtain Panels Myself?
Free labor! I can sew, so I just buy the material, easy peasy, right? But the realities of working with that much material made me very nervous.  And very very scared.
Fly to Shanghai for Custom Curtains? WINNER!
I'm traveling to China anyway and I remembered having a custom window seat cushion made at the Textile Market while we were living there - and they sell curtains too. SCORE!

Ordering from the Shanghai Textile Market
Selected Material
My very first day back in Shanghai, with my measurements and plenty of photos in hand, I headed to the market in the Putuo district. In case you ever decide to go, it's about an hour west of Shanghai's downtown area by car. Shanghai Textile Market: 1618 Cao An Lu (上海市曹安路1618号轻纺市场一区一楼1054#-1058#). The shop I used was just to the right of building entrance #3 in suites #1054 - #1058 (
After visiting a few shops, they had the largest fabric selection were super patient with my lack of Chinese, although my iPhone's iTranslate app came in super handy dandy. I paid for half of my order and then paid the other half at pick-up a week later. If I had paid in full, they would have had them delivered to me. A week later, I wished I had done just that and saved 2 hours in the car just to pick them up. But it gave me the opportunity to make sure I was getting the correct order & potentially correct any issues since I was leaving town very soon after.

Price Comparison
I priced by the foot when doing my homework so I could try to compare apples to apples.
  • My finished curtains (lined) cost about 6.9 RMB per foot (around $1.10/ft depending on exchange rate) and they even included curtain hooks too.
  • An UNlined panel at PotteryBarn withOUT hooks runs about $2.68/ft.
  • Custom order from the Shade Store (unlined) was about $9.96/ft. Ouch.
Getting them home
Believe it or not, I was able to squish the 3 bags of curtains into that big suitcase, but then realized the bag was over weight (~70 lbs!) so I bought a suitcase in Shanghai (cheaper than the airline's overweight fee). And since I only took one bag with me to Shanghai, I was still within my baggage allowance. Whoo hoo!
Next Step - hanging them!
It's been a month and they're not up yet! Agh! I know! Hubs is starting to ask. Planning to visit a local shop for a quote for the ceiling tracks & installation on Monday.

Can't wait to post a photo of them installed!

1 comment:

  1. LOVE your windows! and the material choice! Please post pics when they're finished!


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