Catching Up Part 4. AKA Attempting some patchwork curtains

September 5, 2013 at 9:47 pm Leave a comment

I know from reading other crafty people’s blogs that we do have a tendency to hoard save things which may come in useful in the future and my fabric stash is starting to overspill out of the cupboard. I bought some new curtains in the sale for my daughters’ bedroom but as we live in a Victorian house, they were just not long enough. I rummaged through my stash but had no fabric nearly large enough to make curtains. It seemed an obvious and simple solution to go the patchwork route. Please note the ‘seemed simple’ thought was prior to any experience of a larger patchwork project. The most I’d rustled up was a small pencil case and a small baby blanket for a friend but how hard could it be?

I measured the window, scribbled down the measurements, drew out a rectangle and worked out how many squares and at what size they’d need to be. I worked out about 96 squares and remembered to include the seam allowance in my calculations. Then we got busy choosing and starting to cut out the squares.

patchwork curtain squares

20 squares cut out. Just the 76 to go then…

I think at this stage, I should fess up that this cutting out stage actually took me weeks to do. I know all you who have any experience at all of patchwork would have been laughing at my naivety the second I mentioned the words ‘simple’ and ‘patchwork solution’ in the same sentence… Well I learnt the hard way and I’m sure some googling would have probably turned up a faster method of cutting out the squares. I did get a rotary cutter which was a revelation to me. I felt like I suddenly got a super power of super accurate slicing ability.

patchwork square curtain preparation

Eldest daughter helps count and organise the squares for me

Finally about a month later, all the squares were cut out and it was time for the fun bit of planning the layout.

patchwork curtains planning

planning the layout of the patches

Also it seems that Dylan, the cat doesn’t seem to have lost his super power ability of being able to lie in the most inconvenient spot at any given moment.

Dylan 'helping' guard the patches while I try to use them

Dylan ‘helping’ guard the patches while I try to use them

Then it was just a case of sewing each line into strips and then sewing the strips together. I actually managed to complete this step in just one evening and was v grateful again to the rotary cutter as with the nice even edges, it made it much easier to sew nice straight even seams. Eldest daughter was most helpful too and happily pressed each of the seams open for me. She was desperate to get them finished and is still at the age where ironing seems a lot of fun.

patchwork curtains

Almost there. The 96 squares finally all sewn together

Amazingly the 96 squares are finally all together and mostly all lining up despite my admittedly starting to rush a bit. I do like how it’s been possible to use a number of favourite fabrics in these and both girls were able to choose some of their favourites. Owls and deer seem to be featuring heavily in all their favourite fabrics right now.

Then I made tabs for the top, cut out some lining fabric, sandwiched the tabs between the lining and the patchwork curtains and sewed the top of the curtains. It was at this stage where I decided to bind the edges in silky ribbon for the contrast of texture and also because I realised I hadn’t allowed for a wider seam allowance at the edges and didn’t want the outside squares to look a bit squashed and out of balance with the others. I like how sometimes mistakes can end up with something even better than would have ever happened if it had all gone to plan.

Finally it was time to hang them up and when the sun shines through, even with the fairly thick lining, you get a patchwork stained glass type effect. If they start to fade, I may put some blackout fabric behind them but the girls like how they look right now and I’m happy they’re happy and it may be some time before I tackle a larger patchwork project again. Although now a few months on, I’m already thinking how nice a patchwork throw would look on the bed…

Ta Da! Thank goodness the seams are reasonably even  and my cutting wasn't too wobbly. If it hadn't been for that rotary cutter, this would have been a lot messier.

Ta Da! Thank goodness the seams are reasonably even and my cutting wasn’t too wobbly. If it hadn’t been for that rotary cutter, this would have been a lot messier.

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