Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My first CSI Link Up

I've enjoyed looking at what other people have created on the CSI Project Link Ups, and decided to jump in and participate since this one is all about fabric and sewing. In fact, I'm going to post TWICE today as part of this challenge since I couldn't decide on one project so I'm entering two :)

First up: the curtains in our dining room. When we initially looked at this house it was winter and walking into this lovely room of windows with the sunlight flooding in made me want to rent it right then and there. I've mentioned a time or thirteen how much I love the sunny winter skies here (after twenty years of gray Michigan winters) but unless the sun is allowed into the house, it doesn't do a lot of good, does it? So yes, absolutely luuuuurved this room!
But then spring arrived, it got warmer and warmer and I realized I needed to do something -- QUICK! -- before summer hit and we sweltered in our un-air-conditioned house with all those lovely windows that would let the SEARING sun turn our home into a sauna.

Being a confirmed fabricaholic, I had brought a few *ahem* boxes of fabric with us when we moved overseas. Okay, okay, I brought something like a dozen boxes of the stuff but who's counting, anyway? That stash mentality came in handy when I needed to make these curtains! I scrounged through the boxes and found 12 yards of a lovely home decor fabric in a blue and green plaid that I'd bought on clearance for $3/yard at Joann Fabrics the year before. Also re-discovered 20 yards of blue damask I'd bought on eBay a good eight years before (one of those late night, insomniac impulse purchases that was a smokin' hot deal but then I had absolutely no idea what to use it for). Although the fabrics didn't match in appearance or texture -- the plaid is very smooth with a slight sheen while the damask has the slightly raised floral design -- they did coordinate quite well and I decided that was sufficient.
This room has a lot of windows to cover and I needed MUCHA TELA for the envisioned floor-to-ceiling panels and the combined yardage was perfect for my purposes. I had never made pinch pleat drapes before but found some great tutorial videos on youtube. I'm also not the greatest at math but after much deliberation I thought I had the right measurements and began cutting and sewing. I made one drapery panel first to see if everything was copacetic.
It was so I began a little production assembly to make the other eight panels needed. I think it took me three weeks from start to finish, since that wasn't the only thing I had on my plate. That was at the beginning when I was still spending a good portion of every day either in Spanish class or studying/doing homework. I had maybe an hour or two to work on it each day, and some days no time at all. Considering the level of my sewing skill -- I'd call myself an advanced beginner -- I was very happy with the end product. The fully-lined curtains do a great job of blocking the sun when closed.
 (excuse the clothespin but it was the only thing I could think of to keep the curtain turned in order to take the photo)
They slide open easily and hang nicely to the sides.
And I love how they look when closed against the bright summer sun.
The damask I'd scored on eBay was a great deal but it did come in three pieces (one large and two smaller chunks) so I did end up having to piece one of the panels but it was only an 8" section which I added at the top and it hardly shows. It's the one in the single panel photo above. Can you tell?

Not sure what we'll do with all these curtains when we build our own place since we've decided to go neutral throughout the main living areas with shades of brown from cream to chocolate with an aqua blue accent. After all the time I spent making them, I'm tempted to hang onto them "in case" but the practical part of me says it makes more sense to try and sell them so somebody else can enjoy them. Because when we build and move into our own home, I am hoping we don't have to move again for a LONG, LONG, LONG time.

Next up: a floral fabric purse and flower pin.


SmallTownRunner said...

You are much more than an "advanced beginner." I'd say you're at least intermediate, and perhaps an advanced intermediate.
I have spoken.

Kim said...

No, SmallTownRunner, I think advanced beginner is a better fit. I can't read a pattern to save my life, have never managed to sew a single piece of clothing without major angst and ripping out more seams than I put in (at least, that's what it felt like) and zippers completely DEFEAT me. But thanks for the vote of confidence Karen :)

Betty said...

Well I must be a real beginner with a big B! What a job! YOu did good Kim. I love the two fabrics together. Something I never would have thought to put together, but it really works.
Looks great!

SusanD said...

Ha! Is there a negative beginner? Cause that's where I'd be classified. ahaha. Non-sewer here. You did an outstanding job on those curtains. If you hadn't pointed where they were pieced together, no one would have known. Blessings, SusanD

Mari said...

You did great! I agree with the others - you are more than a beginner!

rita said...

You are ever so clever--beyond category! I never would have come up with that and it is perfect!

Nicole@Whimsy-Lane said...

Awesome job! I did two fully lined panels for my dining room as was DONE! It looks great!