Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Nursery - Part Four: Curtains

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Six years ago I purchased a sewing machine on a lark. At the time, I thought I would sew myself a sundress. I bought the fabric, the pattern and all the accompanying notions. I think I got as far as cutting out the pattern before I gave up and forgot about the whole thing. The sewing machine sat, unused and unloved, until April 2013 when I got it into my head that I wanted a satin pillow to go inside the ring-bearer box for the our wedding.

I picked up some fabric, wound the bobbin and threaded the machine. I cut out a simple square in the dimensions that I thought I needed. 20 minutes later, I had a lopsided, ridiculous looking pillow that simply would not suit for the wedding. I angrily tossed it aside and sent a text to my mom relating my sewing woes. The Friday before the wedding, she saved me and I had a perfect pillow for the box.
Photo by Tara Lynn Sen
So how did I manage to get from being completely incapable of sewing a simple pillow to sewing the curtains for Peanut's nursery?

Easy! I signed up for a class to befriend my sad little sewing machine. The class, run by Maureen of Sew with Maureen, was extremely helpful and I highly recommend it to anyone in the Metrowest Massachusetts area. After taking it, I realized that sewing is a lot like painting. It requires the right tools and knowledge, an attention to detail and lastly, patience. Feeling empowered by the knowledge that the class had imparted and aggravated that I couldn't find the curtains that I wanted, I began planning how to sew them myself.

Using the dimensions of the fabric I planned to use, I drafted a pattern in Excel (because I'm a nerd and this is what I do) and sent the pattern to my mom for a sanity check. Once my mom deemed my pattern reasonable, I ordered the fabric from Fabric.com, the correct walking foot for my machine and a cutting mat. Between these orders, I took yet another class with Maureen and picked up a lot of little tips and tricks to make my sewing more consistent and repeatable. I also discovered that a fabric glue stick and an iron are very helpful in achieving crisp, well-basted seams. 

Despite having the glue stick and iron, for the first two curtains, I still pinned all of my fabric. I guess I just wanted the practice? I'm not really sure why I did that. However, by the end of the second curtain I was sick of pulling all my pins out before I sewed over them and still having a bit of weird a gap to them. I switched over to using the glue stick and iron method; things went much faster from there.

Once the curtains were hung, I spent some time shopping around for tie-backs that I didn't hate. As seems to be the case with the entirety of this nursery project, I didn't find anything that suited me, so I made up a quick little pattern, bought some Velcro and set to work.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the results. They look presentable from the front and there are only a few spots in the back where I can tell that I made an oopsy with the machine. The only major thing I would change about the curtains is to use a lining. Fortunately, if I really, really want to add a lining to them later, I've left enough leeway in their design to do so.

The Nursery - Part One: Design and Planning
The Nursery - Part Two: Prep Work and Painting
The Nursery - Part Three: Furnished