One of my favorite things about this summer has been DIY Day every Thursday at A Soft Place to Land. It's been so much fun to have a show and tell party to attend!
I'm going to be honest with you, though. . . sometimes I love seeing DIY projects--I get all inspired and full of good ideas and confidence. . . and sometimes I look at the awesome DIY projects and feel silly and incompetent. Kind of like Napoleon Dynamite hanging on to his numchuck skills.
But that's my own insecurity talking. The spirit of DIY Day is sharing and encouraging. Not just look-what-I-did, but look-what-you-can-do! That's one of my favorite things about bloggers: they'll show you what they did, and they'll tell you how they did it, and they'll rejoice with you when you do something.
So, for my show-and-tell today, I'm going to show you something that I sewed. But first I want to tell you that I'm not a seamstress. When people say, "Do you sew?" I usually reply, "What do you mean by 'sew'?"
You see, sewing is something that is sometimes done a certain way, according to well-defined techniques. There's a right way to set in a sleeve if you're sewing a shirt. There's a correct way to attach a waistband if you're sewing a skirt. There's an appropriate way to sew in a zipper if you're sewing a dress.
So I don't sew shirts or skirts or dresses or anything else that requires this kind of technique. Why? Because I don't know how to do it, and right now I don't have the time or inclination to learn how to do it. But I DO sew things for my house--pillows and bedspreads and bedskirts and window treatments and shower curtains.
And here's how I do it. I have four secrets.
- I do not use patterns. Why? Because I can't read a pattern guide to save my life. I just create things that can be stitched up with straight lines.
- I use three very important tools: a seam gauge, an iron, and good pins. Lots and lots of pins.
- I have cheat lines on my sewing machine. I cannot for the life of me sew a straight line, so I put painter's tape on my sewing machine. When I need to sew a straight line, I just guide the fabric along the tape. Works like a charm.
- Whenever I come to something I can't do, I improvise.
Isn't it pretty? I needed a shower curtain for my guest bath. I wanted something vibrant and colorful but refined and classy. You know, like me. So I was thrilled to find this fabric.
I love this fabric. It was $7.99/yard at my favorite discount fabric store. My tub enclosure is 58 inches wide. The fabric was 54 inches wide, so I sewed two panels together to make a nice full curtain. I made the curtain 78 inches long, which seemed like a good length to me. No rule here: some people like their shower curtains to hang from a higher rod than I used, and some people like them to hug the floor on the bottom. You can do whatever you like.
So how did I do it? First, I carefully cut two identical pieces of fabric for the main body of the curtain. (You know the old saying: measure twice, cut once.) Then I pinned and pinned and pinned those two panels together to make the curtain. (Believe me, sewing the seam is a breeze when you've pinned things together well.) I hemmed the sides and bottom by folding the fabric over one inch (using a seam gauge to measure one inch all the way), ironing the fold into place, pinning the hem in place, and sewing a nice straight hem by following along my handy-dandy tape lines.
Second, I made a second panel for the top of of the curtain--a little valance that just lies right on top of the main body of the curtain. Why? I don't know; I just thought it would look nice. I made this one just like the big curtain except in length. It's about 1/5 the length of the overall curtain. I stitched both panels together, one on top of the other, to make the finished product.
When I had the finished product, I thought it needed a little oomph. So I bought a couple of yards of trim to attach to the valance. I tried to sew it on, but I just couldn't do it. No trim-sewing skills. But I do have glue-gunning skills, so I glued it on.
There are lots of ways that you can make a shower curtain hang from a rod. Usually a curtain has buttonholes or grommets into which shower curtain rings can fit. Sometimes a curtain has loops made of fabric or ribbon. Now, I don't know how to make buttonholes. I don't have a grommet tool. And for this project I didn't want to attach loops. But I did have an extra tension rod. So I just folded over the fabric and sewed a rod pocket at the top of the curtain. I hung the plastic shower curtain liner from rings on one rod and the decorative curtain from a separate rod. Like this:
I love the finished product. I love that I can say that I did it myself. And now I love that I can tell you that you can do it, too. If you have a sewing machine or have access to a sewing machine, you can make something like this. And if you don't have a sewing machine, you could sew these straight lines by hand or use Stitch-Witchery or glue to make those straight seams.
You can do it! And I want to see what you do!