It gives me great happiness to present to you: new curtains in the Houseproud kitchen. [Sound of trumpets] Isn’t a finished object a lovely thing, my pets? I have NO idea when I cut these out, but it was at least nine months ago. The curtains have languished in my to-be-completed pile since then, but I finally finished them last Wednesday. They’re cut from the most marvelous vintage fabric, scored at the Oakland Museum of California’s White Elephant Sale some years back. Ain’t they a vision? This fabric is soooooo kitschy and kitcheny that it makes me irrationally happy every time I walk into the room. I like a bright, cheerful kitchen, don’t you?
I fussily made sure that the pattern repeat of both panels matched at the top, which was easy enough given the fabric’s well-balanced repeat, and with helpful tips from my 1984 copy of Reader’s Digest’s Complete Guide to Sewing*. Fun vintage fabric like this can make lovely kitchen curtains – but the fabric needs to have a white background, or the curtains will make the room too dark. Each of these curtain panels is almost the width of the window, which makes for a very full curtain. They could have been cut down into smaller panels, but that would have wasted fabric and required hemming both sides (see below for more deets). My next set of kitchen curtains will prob’ly be less full, but it really depends on the fabric, yes? I’ve developed a hankering for gingham curtains in blue or red for next summer…
But back to the present, the sides of these curtains were the selvage edges, so there was no need to hem them. Bonus! The bottom hem was a ½” double-fold. I used white sheeting for the casing, for two reasons: firstly, because the band of white calms down the busy pattern; and secondly, it looks cleaner than folding over the top, as the pattern would have muddily shown through.
The casing was attached by sewing one long side to the top of the curtain, wrong sides facing, with a ½” seam. I opened the piece and, from the right side, pressed the seam allowance towards the bottom of the curtain. I then pressed a ½” seam along the casing’s other long edge. The piece was folded over to enclose the exposed seam allowance, pinned into place, and topstitched. When I’m a more confident sewist, I’ll topstitch the casing right at the edge of the fold instead of my more cautious sewing this time ‘round. I like the way the casing looks from the front: the seam is very neat and crisp.
I learned how to do this the hard way by originally sewing the casing to the right side of curtain, which was wrong. I discovered this after carefully folding and pinning the piece into place. I softly cursed, carefully ripped out one very loooooooong seam, and started over.
Also, at the same time I discovered that I’d attached the casing incorrectly, I realized that the sides of the casing itself would need to be hemmed, something for which I had not taken into account. Oops! I fudged and nudged things into shape on the first curtain panel and planned appropriately for the second by making the casing an inch wider than the curtain panel. The extra fabric was pressed into a ½’ double-fold hem before the casing was topstitched. It will be hand-sewn into place before its first washing, and machine sewn on future curtains.
I was very pleased with myself when I finished these curtains, as you can imagine. Unfortunately, when I put the curtains up, a critical part of the curtain rod disappeared behind the fridge. Said fridge weighs a ton and is solidly wedged into place. The best way to describe my reaction to this minor household crisis is to say that I had a temper tantrum. So undignified, but alas, so true… Fortunately, the Mister was home and could lend his far-greater upper body strength to the cause. 30 minutes later, the missing curtain rod piece had been retrieved and glued into place, and the curtains were hung in all their retro glory. I tidied up the kitchen, apologized to the Mister for being a cranky so-and-so, and called it a day.
And on that note, I bid you adieu. Tune in later this week for a mini-post about brining tofu. No, really – you ought! Brined tofu is sooooooo yummy: it’s the vegan version of feta, and that’s a very good thing. Speaking of good things, I have a Thanksgiving menu to fuss over this week. Perhaps I should share it with you next Monday? Hmm, yes, I think I will. Well, until next time and very fondly, yr little munakins
* For those of you who are following along at home, see instructions on pages 430 – 431. Reader’s Digest, ed., Complete Guide to Sewing (Pleasantville, NY: Reader’s Digest Association, 1976, 10th printing 1984).