Thursday, February 21, 2013

Curtains on the Cheap

Confession: I'm cheap. I'm not crafty, although my Pinterest boards would tell you I get jiggy with crafts. I never had a single Home Ec class in high school-- and I'm southern! How the heck does that happen?! I mean, I'm not sure a southern woman will be let into heaven without knowing how to make a mean banana puddin' and having been presented at a cotillion, but I digress... Long before Pinterest, I was young and newly married, with a desire to make our starter home as cute as possible. I knew the basics of how to sew with a machine, by watching & helping my mom. However, reading a pattern was something entirely different.

Second confession: I am a sewing pattern flunky. I mean, truly. All those goofy notches and whatnot... just show me where to cut and sew, for the love! After a couple of times of trial and failure, I finally branched out and have never looked back. I make my own patterns... on paper grocery bags. Yep... you read right.

Five years ago, we built our current house. Our kitchen windows have been sans curtains since moving day, until a couple of weeks ago. I've mentioned how cheap I am. I'd been looking at Goodwill for curtains, but never could find any that didn't just reek of (among other things) 1977, so I started looking for sheets and/or material there, as well. This went on for about 2 years. We live a handful of miles from Joann's craft store, where they have material run amok. Don't judge. I'm cheap, not to mention I struggle with making decisions. About a month ago, I found 3 sets of floral valences at Goodwill. The colors were perfect, but I was uncertain as to whether they were too "country". My friend Kim said, "they aren't blue with ducks", but I still wasn't convinced. Ultimately, I decided to basically remake them.

I whipped out my bags, scissors, & ruler and cut out the pattern for the curtains. Next, instead of leaving the material bunched, as the intended valence, I pulled it taut.

And bless... you can see from this picture that before I stretched them out, I tried every trick I knew to use those doggone curtains the way they were. It just wasn't happening.

The valences were not lined and heaven forbid the neighbors --that do not live behind us-- be able to see the fabric through unlined curtains... potentially this is a southern thing. I definitely wouldn't want folks doing a drive-by, shaking their heads, tsk-tsking, and saying, "Can you believe she didn't line her curtains?!". Using an old, white bedsheet for the lining, I lined the new curtains, and sewed in a tassel. Voila! New curtains. Sidebar: the cheapest material to use for lining is often times inexpensive sheets, especially if you can get them at Goodwill. My total cost-- $4 per valance. I bought 3, could've gotten away with just 2, $1.50 x 4 tassels (on sale at Joann's), $2 x 4 spring rods to fit inside my windows = $26 for 4 windows.

You can't really tell from this picture, but the window that is off by itself is considerably smaller than the other 3. Because of that, I had to whip out my crazy-sick Geometry skills and adjust the original bag pattern. This is why I love using bags: If I screwed up the dimensions, no big deal-- just cut another one! Financial Guy, who knows my history with math (suffice it to say, we ain't necessarily BFFs), sneered & said, "you think you're a Geometry teacher or something?". Well, as a matter of fact... Three new cuts later, ta-da... a smaller pattern.

My friend Kim sent me a text a couple of days after seeing the new curtains & said, "there's a house (in a high dollar neighborhood) that has triangular curtains with tassels! Go on, Mrs Southern Living". Well, I don't know about all that, but I do know that when I stand at the pearly gates & am asked if I've been to cotillion, I'll whip out pictures of my homemade curtains and hope they pass. :)  Do whatever it takes to stay cheap and save on, friends! :)

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