Sewing Curtains (the Easy Way)

Over the past two and a half months since we moved, I have been slowly rearranging, replacing, and adding touches to the house to make it feel more welcoming, more like home. Sewing new curtains for the living room/dining room was near the top of my list of projects when we moved in. When we agreed to move into the house, Maggie had already hired a friend to sew fabric blinds for all the windows. After she finished the upstairs blinds, though, I asked if I could sew my own curtains for the first floor to let in more light and better match my vision for the space.

After searching for curtain ideas and feeling dissatisfied with the heavy fabrics of most curtains, I stumbled across this photo on Pinterest:

Curtain Inspiration

The bright light and colorful yellow edging caught my attention and became the inspiration for making curtains. I knew I needed something that offered some privacy (more than sheer curtains), but still let in plenty of light (an essential for me in a home space).

After some searching, I found a good deal on mini pom pom fringe in bulk from this site and ordered two spools. I bought five flat twin sheets from Wal-Mart, all in plain white. I cut open the ends of the hem to allow a curtain rod to pass through and re-sewed the edge to make it neater, which ended up being the most complicated part of the project (with the last two curtains I finally realized that I could just fold over that top part and not have to rip open any seems, which was so much easier). Then I measured and hemmed the bottom so it reached just to the floor. Finally I sewed the trim along the sides (if I had more of the trim I would have added a row of the trip along the top seem as well, but I only had enough for the sides). After pinning (and re-pinning) the trip to the first several curtains, I finally discovered that it was a lot easier to sew on and actually stayed smoother when I didn’t pin it.

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The stitching on the first couple curtains turned out pretty rough as I figured out the rhythm our housemate’s sewing machine (I’m not even going to post a picture of the horrible stitching on the back of those first curtains, even after tearing it out a few times), but by the time I finished the final curtains, things became a lot smoother and straighter.

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In the end, uneven stitching and all, I felt pretty proud of how they turned out. The white and yellow brightened up the room considerably, giving it a clean, peaceful feel, and the curtains drew together the two rooms.

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Sonroom

This is my fourth weekend off and I’m still relishing every moment of free time, especially now that school has started again. For the past few weeks we have taken advantage of this shared time together to do some things that we’ve talked about doing for a while. Last week we went thrifting. The week before we went down to the River Market, stopping at the Chinese market, Middle Eastern market, and spice vendors to stock up on some international seasonings and discount vegetables. And my first weekend off we painted our sunroom.

We have talked about painting since we moved in….almost six months ago now. Our school and work schedules rarely left us a full day off together, though, so our painting aspirations were pushed aside. Once I switched to working Monday through Friday, though, we resurrected the idea.

One morning in particular I woke up, distracted by crafty things and ideas for how to fix up our apartment while I was trying to spend some quiet time with the Lord. I was a bit frustrated about my inability to focus on the Lord and finally asked Him if there was a way I could possibly meet Him in the place of dreaming about beautiful spaces.

As it turns out, there was (imagine that, ha!). I begin thinking about my long-time dream of creating a space that combined prayer and hospitality, a dream that had fallen by the wayside for a while as I pursued work with children. Soon that led to thoughts of our sunroom, a space I had most often used for quiet time with the Lord. And all of a sudden, I found myself filled with dreams and ideas for turning the sunroom into a prayer room, filled with light and worship with its wide windows looking out east over the city.

(This was the original state of our sunroom:)

The more I dreamed about it, the more I could feel my spirit stirring as God responded to my invitation to meet me in that place of making beautiful space.┬áSo that weekend we bought paint and painted the room. It’s a relatively small space, with lots of windows, so we were able to finish the primer and first coat on Saturday and a second coat on Sunday.

 

As we responded to God’s invitation in this new year to return to intimacy with Him, consecrating this particular space in our house felt like a physical representation of our desire to consecrate our time to Him as well.

Since we finished painting, I have been adding to the room little by little. On our thrifting trip a couple weeks later I found a large sheet to cut in half to make curtains (I was inspired by the warm colors and old wood of this sunroom).

This chair in the corner came from the neighbors across the street at the Tracy House. They gave us some stain to fix it up, too, but I think I actually like the look of the old, weathered wood.

As we get more time and inspiration, I’m sure we’ll add more to the room. We’ve talked about possibly getting wall lettering to put Isaiah 56:7 (about how God will make them joyful in His house of prayer) on the wall. I’ve also though about making some toilet paper tube wall art (something like this). And eventually I want to repaint the red room divider (which we found by the side of the road and carried about fifteen blocks and up three flights of stairs; my husband is a trooper).

For now, though, I’m enjoying spending my early mornings in the rocking chair, with my bible, journal, and cup of coffee.

(By the way, I titled this “Sonroom” because one morning God described it that way, promising that it would be a place where we come to know our identity as His sons and daughters)

A Little Winter Craftiness

Today is snow day #9 in the past month (with school already canceled tomorrow as well). The limited days of work are still stretching my faith in uncomfortable ways (but we were able to pay rent yesterday, have bus passes to get to school and work, and should be able to pay utilities in a couple days — God is providing).

But that said, I’ve been using some of my ample free time to do some sewing and other crafty sort of stuff. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been working on:

1) Flower Necklace

I actually made this on New Years Eve (before all the snow days hit), but was finally able to take pictures of it just recently. I’d seen all sorts of fabric flower necklaces online for a while and had been wanting to try making one. A New Year’s Eve dinner seemed like a good excuse to try, so I pulled out my stash of freecycle fabric, which includes several different colors of sheer, silky materials that work really well for this type of stuff. I loosely followed this tutorial from Jolie, making smaller circles and only two layers for each flower. After I cut and melted all the petals, I sewed them to a piece of thicker red fabric (also from the freecycle stash), adding the beads as I sewed. I sewed three metal loops on the back for the chain (which I found on the ground walking to work one day – ha!) to go through, but it still needed more stiffness for it to lay right so I added a line of wire along the top to help it hold it’s shape. I ended up making a hair flower to match, too, but don’t have a picture of that.

2) Recycled Mittens

This has been another project I planned to do for a while, mainly for practical reasons: I consistently lose at least one mitten a winter, sometimes more. This winter I’ve been wearing one brown glove and one rainbow glove, because I’d already lost the matching mates to both in previous winters and my entire pair of mittens last winter. I knew that when really cold weather hit I’d need something warmer than the thin knit gloves. One of the girls from the Boiler Room makes these lovely, creative mittens out of old sweaters and when I saw them, I thought I’d try to make a pair, too. I did some research and found this simple pattern and instructions online. My first attempt (made with a hand-me-down sweater that I’d never worn) didn’t fit right, though, and was shedding black lint everywhere. So I set it aside, meaning to alter the pattern and try again.

When the snow hit and we planned our sledding outing, I decided that now was the time to try again. This time I cut apart a fleece sweatshirt that I’d worn for awhile but that never fit right. I lengthened the finger area to give some more room this time and left a bigger seam allowance.

For the lining I used….the sleeves from my work shirts! (I’d cut off the long sleeves of two of my shirts this summer when I first got my sewing machine, because there was no way I was going to wear long sleeves in the heat of a Missouri July). It’s not as soft as the fleece that the pattern suggested, but it’s kept me pretty warm so far.

All the pieces cut out and ready to sew together:

And here they are finished! I’ve since embroidered a flower on each one, too, and plan to add some leaves eventually. Maybe tomorrow with another snow day….

3) Nursery Curtains

A long-time friend of mine (who happens to live near Kansas City now, too) is expecting her first baby this spring and e-mailed me a couple weeks ago to see if If she could hire me to make curtains for the nursery. Her request definitely blessed us (wasn’t I just praying for provision?) and I was excited to sew something for someone else.

She brought over the fabric last weekend and I spent about four days working on the curtains, a little bit each day. Because I was sewing for someone else, I took the time to measure, iron, and pin (details that I sometimes bypass out of laziness, to be honest).

I was pretty pleased with how they turned out, though, and how (relatively) easy they were. It almost makes me want to make curtains for our house now (you know, like I’ve been planning to since before I made my 101 in 1001 list….)

I also sewed some curtain ties to go with them, basically simple tubes of fabric, ironed flat, with brown ribbon (left from our wedding) instead of plastic rings on the ends.

(P.S. Now that I have a camera again, you may be seeing more sewing and food posts again, because really, talking about food and projects is a lot more fun when you can include pictures :-D)

Some Simple Sewing

I’ve been working on a few little projects for our new place recently (I still haven’t started the curtains for our bedroom and bathroom, but hopefully soon). One project on the list was making a curtain to cover the trash area in our kitchen, because this is so classy looking:

I had planned on looking for an old sheet at the thrift store at some point to make it, but today Lindsey brought home this fun piece of cloth that she found at a little shop for 60 cents. We’d decided that we wanted something with some sort of print, so this was perfect. It took about ten minutes to hem it up. Much better: