Friday, October 31, 2014

Sewing: Lined Curtains (Steps 1-5)

While it's easy enough to buy curtain panels, they typically only come in standard sizes and windows tend to be anything but standard, which is why you are probably here trying to decide if it's worth making your own.  

If you have a sewing machine (or can borrow one), the answer is YES! Try not to be intimated by the outrageous pricing of custom drapes.  The online quote for drapes in the exact same fabric was $1,992.  Sewing a few straight lines is child's play compared to that sticker shock.  



If you are following along from my last post where we calculated fabric needs, you hopefully have your curtain rod or curtain track hung with the hooks/clips to make measuring easier for the next steps.  If you don't, no worries, I didn't have my curtain track up, so I found its measurements and the measurements of the carriers for my curtain track online to help me plan (carriers are the equivalent of a drapery ring when using curtain tracks).

The steps below assume you have purchased the amount of fabric needed, found in the previous post explaining how to calculate fabric needs.  I've tried to cut down the explanation to make it easier to just follow step by step without getting too lost in the details, but included links to tutorials I found helpful if you need more explanation.  And amazon links are affiliate links.


STEP ONE: CUT THE FACE FABRIC


Add the following numbers:

+ length of finished curtain
+ fabric pattern's vertical repeat (omit if using solid fabric)
+ 18" hems (8" for top hem, 8" for bottom hem, 2" shrinkage allowance)
= total length of fabric to cut* 
(B in previous post)

* Hint - pull a selvage side thread to get a perfectly straight cut line across.  This video explains how. 

* Be sure to mark the top and bottom of your cuts of fabric, this will make pattern matching easier later.
I used my new Pilot FriXion Erasable Gel Pens for the first time and they are fantastic as an erasable fabric pen, except longer lasting (so many times my water soluble pen marks disappeared before I was ready).  Bonus, the ink disappears when pressed with an iron!  


Cut the amount of fabric widths you need based on your own curtain rod or track width:
(rod width x fullness required per the drapery header you selected)
÷ fabric width
= total number of fabric widths needed
Round up to next whole number (A in previous post)

Example:
+ 107" finished curtain length
(= height of window from floor to top of track is 109" - 1" track height - 0.5" exposed track carrier - 0.5" clearance from the floor)
+ 4.5" vertical fabric repeat
+ 18" hems
= 129.5" Cut fabric here

(133" rod width x 2.25 fullness required by my clip-n-wave drapery header tape (Rowley TT31)) / 54" fabric width = 5.54 rounded up to 6 fabric widths.  


So I will then cut 6 pieces of my face fabric measuring 129.5" long from my roll.



STEP TWO: CUT LINING FABRIC

Add the following numbers to determine amount to cut:

+ finished curtain length

+ 14" hems (less than face fabric since using a 2" double hem at the bottom instead of 4")
= length to cut lining fabric x number of fabric widths needed

Example:
+ 107" finished curtain length
+ 14" hems
= 121" cut lining here x 6 fabric widths (calculated above)

Sidenote: I used Hanes Outblack Lining for the first time, it's actually really nice to use.  It's heavyweight, but not overly plastic-y like other types of blackout linings.  And while I'm sure it's not recommended at all, I was able to pass an iron on low heat over my seams without issue.


STEP THREE:
JOIN THE WIDTHS OF YOUR FACE FABRIC & PRESS OPEN SEAM


If your window only requires 1 width of fabric, you can skip to step five.  For those of you with wider windows, you will need to sew down the selvage sides of 2 pieces to make a larger panel of fabric.

If you are using a solid fabric, you don't have to worry about pattern matching, but still need to finish your fabric edges before joining the widths of fabric together.

METHOD #1 SERGER

Look at this tutorial on matching patterns, she will show you how to pattern match and serge the edges at the same time!  The linked tutorial has two different methods and hers was the most straight forward.  I never knew that the "+" sign on the selvages could be used to match selvage edge to selvage edge until now.
METHOD #2 WITHOUT SERGER
If you don't have a serger (I don't either, this is my improvisation):
  • Trim the selvage off each edge of the fabric.
  • Stitch an overlock stitch down each edge, the thread goes over the edge to prevent fraying.
  • Then I straight stitched the fabric lengths together after matching the fabric pattern.
  • Press open your seam (see above photo, perfect pattern match.)





If you are using a pattern, go ahead and trim your top and bottom edges to be straight.








STEP FOUR: 
JOIN THE WIDTHS OF YOUR LINING FABRIC & PRESS OPEN SEAM



Same method you used for your face fabric, except you won't have to worry about pattern matching.

I used quick passes with my iron on the Hanes Outblack Lining on a level 3 Rayon setting and it did fine (after testing on a scrap first of course!), but use your own judgement and test it with your iron and a scrap of lining first.  






STEP FIVE: HEMMING THE FACE FABRIC


We are using a 4" double fold hem on the face fabric.
  • Fold your fabric edge up 4" and press it.
    Then fold the fabric's edge to meet the seam you just pressed.
  • Alternate: Some people fold the fabric up 4" press, fold it over 4" again and press.
    The results should be the same, but when ironing mine, I preferred the results from pressing the 8" seam first.
  • At this time, you should add a center weight if desired (see #4).  I noticed European methods placed them in the center and not just the corners, but American based tutorials mostly added them only to corners.  Since I had extra, I figured why not?
  • Pin your hem and use invisible thread for the top thread and your regular thread in your bobbin to blind stitch it (video tutorial here).  Remember to do a few practice stitches on scraps to adjust for any tension issues, but I only had to nudge the dial down one stop.  
It was my first time using invisible thread and combined with the blind hem, the results were really impressive.

POST EXPLAINING FABRIC CALCULATIONS

POST WITH FINAL SEWING STEPS 6-10


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