Welcome, 2014: Getting Organized With a Pocket Curtain
January 5, 2014
Time for a little new year organization project!
When we bought our house, I was so excited about my closet. It was much more spacious than what we had available in our apartment, and it has its own window. I thought it was so magical and huge that I would never be able to fill it. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
Needless to say, I was having some sort of fever dream. My clothes never fit into that closet. And my organizational skills when it comes to closets are a little lacking, so things got out of hand in a hurry. Cut to four years later, and my very sweet husband is spending a couple of week's worth of free time helping me get a handle on the situation. In December, we took everything out and put in new shelving and things improved dramatically.
But still, not everything fit. AND I had never covered the window. So, I decided to combine my need for a window treatment and my need for additional storage all in the same project. Time for a pocket curtain!
This curtain is super simple -- all you need is a couple of yards of fleece and a couple of yards of a cotton print. (You can, of course, make it with more sophisticated fabric choices, but I wanted to keep things fun and be able to throw my curtain in the wash.)
I started by measuring the window, and decided to make my curtain 32x58 inches. So I first cut my fleece to that size, adding about 8 inches to the top to create my curtain rod casing later.
Next, I decided on my pocket depth and opted for about 8 inches. I cut 5 strips of the cotton print that were 9x 42 inches, using the full width of my fabric for the length.
To prep my pocket fabric, I first ironed in a narrow double fold at the top edged and stitched it for each of the five strips.
Next, I had to figure out how many separate pockets I wanted to create along each strip. I landed at 5, so I divided 32 by 5 and got 6.4.
At the bottom edge of my fleece, I marked every 6.4 inches with a sharpie. (You can see my cutting is not the least bit straight. I'll fix it later.)
Then I measured up 12 inches from the bottom and drew a line across the fleece fabric, and marked the same places 6.4 inches apart. I made a total of 5 placement markings for my pockets, including the very bottom edge.
This photo shows one set of my markings after the pocket segment below it has been attached:
Next, I marked the pocket fabric. Because I am using a busy print (I am in love with the movie "Frozen"!), I marked right on it with my sharpie. But if you have a more subtle fabric, you might want to opt for a fabric marker so it's not permanent.
I divided the length of the pocket pieces by 5, and marked the tops and the bottoms at equidistant points.
Next, I lined up the marks on my pocket fabric to the marks on my fleece and sewed vertical lines from the top to the bottom at each mark.
Then I folded the extra fabric of each pocket into pleats, and stitched all along the bottom edge of the pocket fabric.
Here's how the whole thing looks with pockets in place before I covered the raw edges:
Once I shooed the cat off of my curtain and got back to the sewing room, I set about adding strips along the bottom edges of the pockets. Here's a little tip for those times when you're dealing with large pieces of fabric: Roll the section that has to sit to the right of the needle into a tube. It makes things so much easier than letting it bunch up over there.
I cut 1.5-inch strips along the grain of my cotton print to use as both a cover-up for the raw edges of the pockets, and also to add some extra stability to the curtain. Because the fleece I chose is very stretchy, these strips keep things from getting super wonky.
First I ironed one edge of my strips, turning down about 3/16 of an inch. Then I matched the raw edge of the strip to the raw edge at the bottom of a pocket section and stitched about 1/4 inch from the raw edges. I use a medium-long stitch length anytime I was stitching across the stretchy width of the fleece because it helps keep the fleece from stretching out of shape.
Then I folded my strip down so it would cover the raw edges, and stitched close to the fold.
Lastly, I stitch close to the ironed fold to encase all my raw edges and make things neat and tidy.
Here's a section of pocket with the strip applied at the bottom:
I used this method to finish off the top four of my five pocket sections. I bound the bottom edge of the curtain, including the pocket edges. I also bound the sides. I used strips cut on the straight-of-grain for my binding, but I applied it just as you would bias tape.
Then I tested the length and made a rod casing by simply folding over my fabric at the top and stitching it. (I made two lines of stitching for durability -- I have rambunctious animals in my house!)
Here is the curtain hung in place, both empty and filled:
Mine is home to leggings and sports bras, but you could easily organize T-shirts, pajamas, stuffed animals, shoes -- anything that can fit in the pockets! These work great for kids rooms, and with more grown-up home dec fabrics, they can easily move into other areas of the house. You can further refine the look by coordinating your fabrics with new drapery hardware. A more utilitarian version can also organize hats, scarves and gloves in the mud room.
So, bring on 2014! I've got space in my closet!
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