Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Custom shower curtain: you can make one!


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.
  1. 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.
  2. I use three very important tools: a seam gauge, an iron, and good pins. Lots and lots of pins.
  3. 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.
  4. Whenever I come to something I can't do, I improvise.
And here's something I made using these techniques.


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!

34 comments:

Beachbrights said...

Cute! Love the red!

XOXO-

Great job and thanks for the tutorial!

Beth said...

I can't sew. Well...I haven't really tried. However, if I start I'm TOTALLY putting painter's tape on mine :). Great tip and great project.

Traci said...

Love the fabric! Great job!
Blessings,
Traci

Sara said...

I don't sew either, but this is an encouraging post. After seeing all the wonderful things that some of the "non-sewing" bloggers out there are creating, I may just have to release my machine from it's job as a doorstop in my closet...
Beautiful!

Sarah { abeachcottage } said...

great post, I dabble with sewing and yes we can do it!

jojo said...

fantastic! I love how you improvise..it gives me inspiration to try more things. Thanks...;p

kirstin & jordan said...

gorgeous! love this idea! :)

Denise said...

It looks wonderful Richella :) I am a novice 'sew-er' too and can't read a pattern. I did just make a tote bag at a class and I went to a 'know your machine' class yesterday. I can sew curtains and pillows too (which I just did recently) but I want to take some lessons to get the basics for pattern reading. Not sure if or when I will do so, I prefer to knit!

Fawn said...

What fun fabric! I'm a beginning-ish sewer too. Love the idea for the painters' tape!

Misti of Studio M Designs said...

Love the fabric. Anything red is my kind of red! Oh...and I use those exact same sewing techniques, although I don't have the painter's tape guidelines. I will be adding the tape on the next project! Great job on the curtain!

~Misti

Magic Brush said...

Fantastic job! Wish I could sew!!!!

randee said...

that turned out great! & putting the painter's tape guideline on the sewing machine - what a clever idea. my #1 sewing tip - go slow.

peace -

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

You are my kind of seamstress!! ;) I can only do straight lines, and so far I'm a little intimidated to try much more than VERY simple projects. This one is great, and I like your fabric! :) Visiting from Kimba's party! :)

Southern Fried Gal said...

Cute and very inventive of you to use the painter's tape on your sewing machine!

Jen R. said...

Beautiful! Love the color!

Jennifer Juniper said...

Hmmm, mental note...make a shower curtain. Great job!

Jennifer Juniper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Morning T said...

Great job Richella {such a pretty name}- love the trim! I have really gotten into sewing lately, I love it.

Rebekah said...

That's lovely, Richella! I love the hot air balloon print. Dare I say, "Uplifting"? (I know. I know. Terrible.)

I am that kind of sewer, too. Only I usually don't bother with the iron! And I wind up doing so many things by hand because machine sewing frustrates me tremendously, for some reason. And yet somehow things seem to turn out fine. At least they're good enough for me! :)

Terri said...

Fabulous. Absolutely fabulous. Just like you! I use those same techniques. Blessings!!!

Better After said...

hi there! I'm loving your blog! I'm a follower. c'mon over and check mine out too! :)

Kim said...

My kind of sewing. I love the blue painters tape on your sewing machine. Works for me!!! And it obviously works for you too. Thanks for sharing.

Kelli said...

I am so impressed!! Great job!!

Tricia Anne said...

Very nice! Love the tape lines too!

Heather said...

love this, very cute & great job!

pk said...

Great job! Sounds like we have similar sewing skills and methods. :-) Believe it or not, I also have painters tape on my sewing machine!

Half of the Style Sisters said...

Super cute shower curtain. You did a great job!

The Scooper said...

Hi Richella! I'm so glad you stopped by to say hello. Thank you for your sweet comment. It prompted me to come visit. And girl, you have been busy! Can't believe all the creativity you've been churning out! Want to come to my house?

Hope you're doing well, that the Fall transition for you and your family is going smoothly. I'm going to add you to my blog list (don't know how I haven't done that) so I can check in more often.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Love, love your shower curtain. You did a great job. I'm getting ready to do something to one of my bathrooms too & need to get a shower curtain that will be really cute.

Older and Wisor said...

Striaght lines only for me too....although I would NEVER know looking at this! I did the tape thing long ago, but with duct tape. You know, so anytime somebody stopped by and it's out they can (and do) ask "what was falling off?" as if I tried to fix it with the tape. How's that for refined and classy?? HAHA

artisticblend said...

Brillant! It is absolutely gorgeous! And I love your sewing techniques...just flying by the seat of your pants! ;) Awesome!

The Persimmon Perch said...

Cute shower curtain! I love that you put painter's tape on your sewing machine. I will have to try that- I don't use patterns either.

Stitch in Time said...

I thought that I was the only person out there who hates reading patterns! Thanks for the inspiration. I've got my fabric store coupons and I'm out the door!!

DonnaMac said...

I'm not much of a 'sewer', but your blog has given me inspiration. I just recently bought a sewing machine solely for the purpose of making things for my house...table covers, valances, simple curtains...maybe some pillowcases and decorative pillows. I love the idea of a 1 inch seam...I really don't do well with 1/4 inches. I end up running off the edge..LOL. Thanks for your encouragement.

Post a Comment

Did anyone ever tell you to keep your comments to yourself? That wasn't me! I LOVE to hear from you. Thank you so much for visiting!