New Curtains

Jennifer —  November 28, 2011 — Leave a comment

I posted a few weeks ago that I started to work on my living room.  I am not wanting to spend very much money on this living room.  $100…maybe $200 but no more.  I decided that I needed some color in this living room.  Its has grey, black and white furniture and Camel colored walls.  Here is what the curtains looked like about a week ago:

Not bad.  I made these curtains after one of my yearly trips to Ikea.  I bought this fabric there.  I found about 4 yards in the sale bin because that is all they had left and for some reason that store was not selling it anymore.  I used a gift card and came home to make curtains.  Low and behold 4 yards was not long enough especially for the extra needed to line up the pattern.  So, to remedy this misfortune I added some white fabric I had leftover from this project.  I never loved them but for free.  They worked.  In fact they have worked for about two years.  I decided this room needed color.  This room also needs some stripes.  I dug through my fabric stash and found these remnants.

Note:  this is what was left after the sewing but none-the-less these are the three fabrics I found that had enough to manage some curtains

  • Blue:  about 2 yards leftover from my dog beds and this artwork.  I originally bought this fabric 3 years ago to recover the laundry room chair.  Since the dogs have claimed it, I decided not to put the effort into it and at some point in time just buy a slipcover. The blue is upholstery denim fabric.
  • White:  White leftover from this project AND ripped off  from the bottom of the above curtains.  This white fabric used to be a Wal-Mart Sheet.  It is a light weight cotton.
  • Black:  Leftover fabric from the curtains in Asa’s room.  I didn’t have much of this at all.

The trick:  The white and black fabric is a different weight than the blue.  If not done right, the fabric would hang weird.  The heavier fabric needed to be at the top and the bottom to anchor the curtain.  Of course it’s not ideal but I am working with what I have.

I had no idea if this would be enough to make two curtains.  I knew that it would be close.  The most annoying part of this process was that I had to spend my time cutting and making accurate measurements.  To do this I used the following:

  • Large, Metal Right Angle Ruler
  • Metal ruler (these ensure straight lines where wooden rulers might be off due to the wood bowing)
  • Pencil/Chalk

Accurate Measurements:

  1. Since all these remnants were remnants I squared off every single one of them.  To do so I used hemmed edges or selvage edges that were already there and you know are straight.  You will lose some fabric squaring it off this but its vital for an even pair of striped curtains.
  2. Use the right angle ruler to make an accurate straight line.  Iron your fabric and place one part of the ruler against the edge you know is square (selvage edge or hem).  Draw a line with the ruler.  Keep drawing a line all the way across the length of the fabric and cut it.  Do this at the top and the bottom of the fabric.  Once you have drawn one square line you can use that to create another.
  3. Repeated Pattern fabric makes this process EASY.  Use a ruler and line it up along the pattern and draw your line.
  4. If you don’t have a square edge to begin with then make your own.  Draw a line on the fabric from a ruler and use that line to square up your fabric as I explained above.  Make sure the grain of the fabric goes the right direction.
  5. I figured out how much total yardage of each fabric I had and then determined the plan.

Problem #1: I didn’t have enough of the blue to make equal blue and white stripes.  The white fabric that I had was an odd yardage too.  I decided that the blue would be the same width of stripes, the black would be the same width but shorter than the blue and two white stripes would be different widths on the curtain.  If I cut the white too much I wouldn’t have that much fabric due to hems.  I knew that it had the potential to look funny but I thought….why not try.  As long as the pair of curtains where the same…maybe it wouldn’t matter.

Problem #2:  The total without hem would be 88 inches.  I needed the curtain to be 88 inches hemmed.  I would not have enough to make a hem at the top and the bottom.  My curtains would be too short if hemmed.  Dang it.  I pressed on anyway.  I figured that I could figure something out or maybe just be pleasantly surprised that my measurements where wrong.


  1. I cut all the pieces according to my measurements (plus adding a 1/2 inch for a 1/4 inch seam on both sides.)  Since all my pieces were square I could cut my pieces the same way I did with these curtains in my bedroom.
  2. I cut all the pieces for BOTH curtains.  This is how I get a curtain that lines up well with its pair.
  3. I sewed the first two pieces of one curtain and then I would sew the first two pieces of the second curtain.  I did this for the entire curtain because you can see if your curtain stripes will line up and immediately fix the problem if they do not.
  4. Since I had accurately measured pieces it was easy to sew a 1/4 inch seam.  I used my sewing machine as a guide. If that doesn’t help you..chalk off a 1/4 inch line on each of your pieces.

My finished curtains turned out great!  I loved them but they were too short.  My rod is a track system from Ikea so I could clip the curtains but I didn’t like the rod showing or clips showing with this system.  I did not want to spend moolah on another system.  I searched through my third bedroom and found my “AHA” moment.  I found these roman shades that I have had since I moved into this house.

They are from Ikea and they don’t make them anymore.  They were once on my bay window in my living room but I moved them to my guest bedroom before its transformation.  They were once plain white but when I put them there I added a black 4 inch grosgrain ribbon border by glueing the ribbon with hot glue.  When I rehabbed the guest bedroom these were stored for when I someday rehabbed the 3rd bedroom.  That has not happened and I figured that I could rip that black ribbon right off and use it to hem my curtains.

Off the black ribbon came.  Since I had two roman shades 72 inches long there were 4-72 inch pieces of black ribbon.  Score!

The Ribbon:

  1. I hemmed the sides of the curtains.
  2. I sewed the black ribbon directly onto the top and bottom of the curtain with invisible string.  ( I always use invisible string when I have multiple colored curtains.)

To hang the curtains

  • I used the existing clips that go with the Ikea track system to hang the other curtains.
  • I made a “fake” french pleat by clipping 1 inch down of the curtain.  Doing this allowed the curtain to hide the rod and clip.

Here is the end product:

Move In Pic:





The best part about this is I did not spend a dime on these curtains.  Not one.  Are you proud of me hubs?

The great things is that I lined the blinds so I don’t have to shut these curtains.  I can if I want to and probably will on freezing cold days but their main purpose is to give some softness, stripes and color in the room!

You can transform some scraps into something great.  It takes a little time but you can do it.  If you want to recreate these curtains you do it with sheets from Wal-Mart.  They have all these colors.

Thanks for reading!,


If you like this post check out these:

Bed Sheets to Curtains

I Am Sew Close to Finishing

Asa’s room

Bed Sheets to Curtains….again





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