October 19, 2011
I just moved to the eastside of Atlanta and am in desperate need of decorating, most importantly curtains, shades and window treatments. We live in a traditional style neighborhood which includes houses with zero property lines. This means that a few of our windows look out onto our neighbors' backyard and vice versa. While on the whole we love the house, we have decided that good curtains make better neighbors. So I am on a curtain making frenzy with the first up being café curtains in our mudroom/blog.fabric.com central (you can see where I think my thoughts concerning blog fodder). I wanted to let the light in but not feel so creepy when I accidentally looked out my windows into my neighbors' yard (which is really nice so I will miss it a bit). The walls are yellow so I wanted to tone down the traditional style some and bring in a more modern print. I paired some Waverly Sun n Shade fabric with some medium weight muslin to break up the busy print and (if I am going to be honest) stretch my fabric. To make this style of café curtain I needed at least 1 ½ times the width of the window which came out to be 5 yds. I had 2 yds of the Waverly and I REALLY wanted to use this print but didn't want to wait for more to arrive. The muslin perfectly matched the accent color in the print, so I felt I could pull it off. I used gorgeous French Seams (look for a post on French Seams early Nov.) to join the 3 panels because I didn't want to line the curtains- which would reduce the light- and I didn't want the neighbors whispering about my seam skills behind my back. I added a 3 in. hem on the bottom, because I really love the look of deep hems on curtains and a 1 in. rod pocket at the top. A quick tip on using Outdoor Fabric, keep the temp down on your iron because the treatment used to keep the fabric moisture resistant can become distorted at higher temperatures. To measure and make your own café curtains, measure the window(s) exactly how you want the curtains to hang (inside the trim, outside, etc). Multiple the width by 1 ½ times if you want some gathers and body, 2 times if you can lots of gathering and body. Add your rod pocket size plus a ½ in. for a double fold hem (ex: 1 in. rod pocket plus 1/2 in. = 2 ½ in.) Then add your bottom hem plus another ½ in. for double fold hem (ex: 3 in. hem plus ½ in. = 3 ½ in. to the length of your window (café curtains typically hang from the middle of the window but ¾ length also looks amazing). You can also hang your curtains with clips, ties or rings.
I also made the curtain rod. I was concerned about the lack of selection for basic curtain rods out there and the fancier rods that fit my style were pricey. To solve my problem, I ran to my local hardware store, purchased some ½ in. metal conduit and some conduit mounting brackets. You can trim the conduit with a hack saw or the hardware store can cut it for you (I opted for the husband cutting method and discovered that 10 ft of metal conduit JUST fits in a Scion Xb). You can also add some drawer pulls as finials using this tutorial.
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