Thursday, July 14, 2011

Practical Sewing: The Kids' Room Curtains

The other day I asked Mr. Skooks when he was planning on re-tiling the bit of back splash that was torn out when we installed our over-the-range microwave awhile back.  This led to a bit of a discussion about our endless list of "home projects" and where they fall on our mental lists in terms of priority.

Me asking him about the backsplash = high on my priority list.

Mr. Skooks revealing that he doesn't even notice those tiles missing anymore = obviously NOT high on his priority list.

This got me to thinking about the list of home projects that are more in "my realm" and therefore more on MY list . . . and helped me to see with new eyes the ones I wasn't even noticing anymore.  Projects like this:

Curtains Before

Now, because this is not your home, you are allowed to admit that YES . . . you DO see that the curtains in the kids room are:
  1. Ugly.
  2. Ridiculously too short for the windows.  (For those wondering, yes.  They were the right length for the windows at our previous residence.  Sort of.)
  3. The same color as the walls.
There were a few things going on in this space that have been bothersome since we moved in but had sat unremedied for so long that I no longer truly saw just how craptacular they really were.  For one, we bought paint for the kids' room before we even moved into the house (let's review - over a YEAR ago).  And no . . . what you see is not the color we chose.  This is the color that was painted on 95% of the walls before we bought the house and so far we've only managed to paint the downstairs bathroom and the kitchen.


So we haven't painted the walls.  Fine.  But the curtains . . . oy.  Though they are horrendously ugly, I just have not been able to get rid of them.  And no . . . it's not because I harbor crazy hoarding tendencies for ugliness.  It's because they are "blackout" curtains, and without their room darkening capabilities my kids might never go to sleep.  Especially in the summer.  (Yes, a common bedtime complaint from Little Miss these days is, "but it's not even nighttime yet!"  Thank you, Michigan in the Summertime, for your 9:30 pm sunsets.

So ok . . . blackout curtains . . . which are not cheap.  And my budget for new curtains has been . . . oh, I don't know . . .  zero.   Nothing.  Whatever the system is.

So here's where the jerry-rigging came in.  I'd love to say, "here's where the lovely handmade curtains that I whipped up for $0 came in", but I'd be lying.  These things were most definitely jerry-rigged.  And here's how I did it.  For $0.  (Well . . . $0 NOW, these items were bought by me in the past so technically at some point I paid money to own the materials . . . but you know what I'm saying.)

I had a few white curtains from Ikea . . . you know, super cheap ones that I bought around the same time I bought paint for the kids' room thinking I'd hang them up in the living/dining room.  Except I got them home and Mr. Skooks just wasn't feeling them at all.
Vivan curtains from Ikea

To be honest, I wasn't either.  Not because they're objectionable.  They're just plain white sheers.  But  I've got 2 bay windows in that space and so far I have had zero clue how to put curtains in either of them.  I've even got the special bay window rods, but I have no idea what look I'm going for at all, so no progress on that front.  And since Ikea is just about a million hours away from my house, I didn't return them.

Anyway - - their light airiness was completely wrong for the space because as I said, I like children that sleep sometimes.  I also had the curtains that originally came with the Hungry Caterpillar comforter I bought for Little Miss' bed eons ago.  Just sitting there all lonesome like.  They, too, are way too see through and way too short to accommodate the windows.

And don't forget - - I had the butt-ugly blackout curtains.

This is NOT Little Miss' bed . . . but this is what her bedding set looks like.
I spent some time picking all the stitching out of the blackout curtains to get the fabric as long as possible.  It was just barely long enough.

Dodged a bullet there.

Then I chopped the white curtains off at the bottom where I thought it looked right (how's that for no instruction at all), chopped a couple of the red curtains up to make up the difference, and sewed those 2 together.  Then I sewed the blackout curtain to the back of my white/red hybrid curtain.  And yes . . . it's a bit thick.  Whatever.

At this point, I realized how junky the tops of the white curtains looked because of the overlapped stitching I did to attach the blackout curtains.  (Remember how I said jerry-rigged?)  To "fix" this, I decided to chop a skinny strip of the red curtains, pressed it under on both sides so it was about 2" wide and sewed it over the top for a clean finish.

Well - cleanER finish.

In short, after some snip snip here, snip snip there, and a couple of tra-la-la's, the kids now have some less vile curtains:
Curtains After

I'm glad I can finally check this off my list.  Practical sewing just feels so boring when compared to pretty much every other type of sewing I do.  Wonder when Mr. Skooks will get to painting the kids' walls now . . .


P.S. A million points to whomever caught the comedic reference in this post.


♥Duff July 14, 2011 at 2:07 PM  

ah, MUCH better! Those other ones were a bad pun waiting to happen! I hate these dang bamboo-y type window blinds I have. They DON'T actually block the view form outside at night. HUH? What the heck were these things made in the first place? I don't get it. They were on EVERY window in my house when I bought it. I can't even tell you how long I changed my clothes in the bedroom before I found out that you can see right in. Crimeny! I bought some Valori Wells' Wren dec fabric to make righteous curtains for the kitchen--wish me luck!

Rachel July 14, 2011 at 3:28 PM  

Love it and laughed all the way through!!

Ronni and Sean July 15, 2011 at 4:03 PM  

Seinfeld describing his ability to ride a horse ;)....great job with the curtains!

Jacey July 18, 2011 at 12:32 PM  

First, it may not have been intended, but I've been watching episodes of Ally McBeal on Hulu, so that's what I thought of with your bygones comment.

Second, the Very Hungry Caterpillar bedding is so cute! And I love the new curtains. It's so nice to feel accomplished and make something lovely for the home.

Anastasia July 18, 2011 at 11:00 PM  

The curtains in my daughter's room are two different lengths from the last house. We moved here almost two years ago. Do I notice? Nerp.

Leah July 19, 2011 at 1:45 AM  

This is hilarious because the origin of "whatever the system is" was on the tip of my tongue, and I thought to myself, "I bet if Ronni commented on this post, she'll have guessed it." BINGO. Can I get half a million points?

Sara July 21, 2011 at 2:16 PM  

I thought I'd get a million points for the Wizard of Oz reference but I wuz WRONG!

Nanette,  August 31, 2012 at 9:32 PM  

This is so funny! You made me laugh way out here in California where I'm looking to "jerry-rig" some bedroom curtains for my 4 month old grandson's bedroom so he will nap for longer than 20 minutes and my daughter can save her sanity.

Skooks August 31, 2012 at 11:00 PM  

N - Oh, hooray! I'm glad you enjoyed my post. :)

I know EXACTLY what your daughter is going through. I moved my son into his own bedroom awhile back and there are NO blackout liners on his curtains. It is the worst! I really need to get on that.

Good luck with your own jerry-rigging! Hopefully my post was at least mildly helpful in that vein. ;)

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