Friday, August 9

It's About Time... for New Basement Curtains

There are quite a few things in the basement that we still haven't touched since we moved in almost 3 years ago. But we finally checked curtains off that list! And let me tell you, it was time. Not only were they outdated, but they were pretty gross and just kind of thrown up there. Take this guy for example. The curtains are hanging on a piece of elastic that's tied to a few nails. Nice. Not to mention some of the curtains were shorter and only covered half the window so people could totally see in when I did laundry in my underwear. No. I was not deterred. But I'm glad to have full coverage now.

The rest were hung on springs! Seriously, long springs stretched across the window. They at least hung straighter. But still they weren't too pretty and I'm not sure if these had even been touched since the house was built. They were pretty nasty. They came down and went straight to the garbage. Then after a good sill-vacuuming and window-washing, I was ready to get some new curtains up there!

I finally got motivated to check it off our list when I stumbled across a pretty set of sheets in the Wal-Mart clearance for only $5. Yeah, I can work with that.

So I crossed my fingers that I would have enough for all the windows down there and drew up a plan. I measured the window and added some extra for hems and draping. If you want specifics... I added 4" to the window height (so for an 18" high window I counted on 22" of fabric) and for the width I took half the window height (32/2 = 16) and added 10" for draping & hemming (so 26" total). To account for drape you always want to add at least half the width of the window (up to the full width, depending  on how much fullness you want). So once you find out the width of the curtain space (16") you want your total fabric cut to be 1 1/2 - 2 times that measurement (24 - 32"). I usually think more drape = better, but I was worried about running out of fabric so I cut it a little shorter here.

When I cut out the curtain panels, I lined them up so the finished edges of the sheets could work as the bottom hems = less sewing for me!

So my first step was a simple rolled hem on the sides of the curtains. I just pressed the raw edge under about 1/4", then about 1/2" and sewed right along the folded edge.

Since I was doing so many curtains I found it easiest to do it assembly line style. Cut all the panels, press all the edge hems, stitch all the edges, press the top hems, then stitch the top hems. B found it helpful to enlist some froggys for assistance.

When I pressed the top hem (I first double checked the window height, so I knew my curtains needed to end up 18" tall) I started by folding the raw edge under 1/2" and pressing it in place.

Then I measured to see how much extra was left above 18" (it was 2 1/2") and pressed that under.

I started by stitching right along the folded edge.

Then I went back and did another line of stitching a bit above that. Just for fancy.

Then I did a line of stitching 1" down from the top edge of the curtain to finish the curtain rod pocket. (the space to the left of my sewing foot will hold the curtain rod)

Then I just slipped them onto some tidy new tension rods and popped them into the windows. And it turns out it's really hard to get a decent picture of that. Oops. (and I promise we don't have stuff piled that high down there. It's on a table. And that makes it better.)

I admit it doesn't translate very well... but it's really better, guys.

Except for this one window. Double oops. It's a long story of us breaking our own window on our way to church. We're working on it.

But back to the curtains. ;)  We spent the $5 for the fabric, but still had to buy cheap tension rods to put up the curtains which ended up being about $3.50 per window. But still that works out to $22.50 total, or just $4.50 per window! And we still had some fabric to spare.

I feel like all of my posts end with "of course we still have a ton of stuff to do in there" but yeah, it's true. Baby steps, guys. Anyone else whipped up some curtains, worked on a basement, or just checked a few baby steps off your to-do list? What projects are you tackling this weekend?

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