If your apartment is anything like mine, it’s cozy (not small) and has nothing to hide (just a tad shy when it comes to closet space). I utilize all the storage I can get, from my fire escape to under my dresser and behind mirrors. What my apartment lacks in cabinet space it makes up for in charm, so I crafted a patchwork curtain to add to the enchantment while simultaneously masking clutter below my kitchen sink.
Maybe one of the reasons I need so much storage is because I obviously have gypsy in my blood- I often find treasures on the side of the road (like an awesome African mask valued $100), for next to nothing at a thrift store (antique Victorian walnut framed button back chair upholstered in gold velvet…you wish), on their way to a landfill (middle eastern hanging beads for my doorways), or am gifted with them by strangers (not trying to brag, but, seriously, who else do you know like this? early 1900s ceramic-tiled freestanding counter with a dark mahogany wood base). In this case, I came upon a shopping bag obviously abandoned in the hallway of my old building in Brooklyn, NY. The bag was filled with fun fabric scraps adorned in patterns I couldn’t resist taking home. I washed the fabrics, ironed them, and hid them with the rest of my loot until their fateful day of usage. That day came about a year later when I wanted to add some pizzazz to my kitchen and conceal storage at the same time. I had never sewed before, but figured it couldn’t be that hard, right? Right! And so I present to you:
Six Simple Steps to Fashion a DIY Patchwork Curtain
You will need:
measuring tape / ruler
Step 1: Choose your fabric
This is the fun part! Start with one main color (in this case I chose green) and consider your available fabrics to decide on a color scheme. I chose a tetradic scheme, which forms a rectangle on the color wheel to incorporate blue-green, green, mustard, and red. This scheme is fun and easy to work with as it offers plenty of possibilities for variation, and balances warm and cool colors. You can use all patterned fabric, or throw in some solid colors to mix things up.
After you have chosen your fabric, make sure all the pieces are clean, dry (to ensure against unexpected shrinking later on) and free of wrinkles (to facilitate measuring and sewing).
Step 2: Calculate the size of your curtain
With a tape measure or ruler, measure the length and width of the area or window you are sewing the curtain for. Add at least 10 inches to the total height (5 inches for the rod pocket and another 5 inches for seams and the bottom hem). To account for vertical seaming and hemming add about 1.5 times the breadth of the space to the final width calculation.
Step 3: Arrange your fabric
This step is like putting together a puzzle. You can map out several vertical columns of a specific width, or several rows matching a particular height, then sew the columns/rows together to create the curtain. This lets you mix and match blocks of different sized fabric.
Another option is to cut each scrap of fabric to the same height and width so that all the scraps are uniform in size and shape. Then sew all the scraps together accordingly.
You can go the route I did and not measure each individual scrap, but instead shuffle your available fabric around until you find an appealing arrangement that matches the total height and width needed for the curtain. Rotate the pieces, slide them around, and create pockets to squeeze smaller scraps into. This lets you piece together random scraps in just about any layout you can dream up. I also prefer this route because I do not have fancy tools like a rotary cutter and am horrible at cutting straight lines.
Step 4: Sew your scraps together
Content Disclaimer: I am a novice sewer. I resort to the old way of crafting: by hand. I also could not care less about how even the stitches are or how the back of the curtain and its seams look. Neat freaks and perfectionists, consider yourself warned.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to my simple way of figuring things out.
I started with my corner scrap and worked my way across attaching patches. For each seam:
Place the two pieces of fabric to be joined with raw edges aligned and front sides facing each other. The backside or “wrong” side of each piece should only be visible. You can pin the pieces in place to keep them from moving. Sew a side together with at least a 1/4 inch seam allowance (1/4 inch from the edge of the fabric to create a lip). Trim off half of the seam allowance. Now you can spread the sewed-together scraps apart so that you are looking at the front side. The seam should only be visible in the back of the curtain. Place your next piece accordingly and repeat the seam sewing steps until the entire curtain is complete.
Step 5: Hem the curtain
Hem the side edges first. Place the curtain face down and fold up a side edge 1 inch. Press with an iron. Fold the edge over itself another inch and press again. Stitch the hem in place on the folded-under edge. The seam will be visible on both sides of the curtain. Repeat on the other side, then the top and bottom edges of curtain.
Step 6: Sew the rod pocket
With the curtain face down, fold the top hem down 2 1/2 inches and press with an iron. Sew a seam across the folded-under hem to form a casing in which to slide a curtain rod.
To create a ruffled look for your rod pocket, slide the fabric on the left side of the curtain towards the right side once the pocket seam is threaded through completely. This will bunch up the fabric. Then space out the fabric according to your ruffle preference. Knot the seam and cut off any loose threads when you are done sewing.
Your curtain is now ready for hanging!
Do you have any tips or suggestions? Share your latest DIY project with us below!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License