This is a sponsored post. I was given free material from Online Fabric Store in exchange for my work, but the opinions are 100% my own.
When it came time to replace the oh-so-stylish window treatment in our upstairs bathroom, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do. I did NOT want another full length curtain obstructing the afternoon sunlight, which meant that I had to apply some privacy film over the windows. I was going to write up a tutorial for that DIY, but it would have been exactly this long: Follow the package instructions. It was that straightforward.
Once the privacy issue was out of the equation, I could make a window treatment that was only decorative. I am definitely more of a straight, clean lines kind of a girl, so any curtains with frills or poofs wouldn’t work. I loved the roman shades my parents had in their old house, so I decided to make a simple faux roman shade for our bathroom’s window.
I chose Premiere Prints Ikat Domino Canal Slub Duck for the window treatment in the bathroom. The colors in the fabric tied the cabinet, shower curtain, and wall colors together, and the print was a good scale to play off of the feather pattern of the shower curtain. I like sewing slub duck fabric because it is nice and sturdy and not at all slippery. It’s a great decor fabric for novice sewers like myself.
Since I had applied a privacy film to the window glass, the window treatment didn’t need to cover the whole window. I have always liked the look of roman shades, but I was too intimidated to try sewing a functional roman shade myself. I settled on sewing a faux (aka stationary) roman shade for the top third of the window.
I began by ironing out my print fabric and another piece of white cotton fabric that I used as lining. This project involved far more math than I am comfortable with, couple that with having to use both my sewing machine AND my iron, and I was completely out of my comfort zone. Part of me wanted to just use a staple gun to stick the fabric right to the wall and be done with it.
To minimize my angst, I tried to keep the curtain measurements as simple as I could. When you are measuring for your own curtain, you will want to find the exact measurement of your curtain rod (or the width of your window) and add 2”, so that you can have 1” of fabric on each side to fold over for a hem.
Measuring for the length of your curtain is less exact. Functional roman shades need to be as long as the window when they are finished, so I just decided to go with that plan. The formula then for the length of my fabric was: measurement from top of curtain rod to bottom of window + 2” of seam allowance + (2 times the height of curtain rod + 1”). I know that seems like way too much algebra, and it is, but let me show you with real numbers.
For our window the formula was 39” + 2” + 4” = 45” in length. I hope that makes sense because that is the most exact math you are going to get in this whole post.
Once the fabric was cut to size, I pinned the slub duck to the lining and gave all four sides a 1” hem. Then I pinned, ironed, and sewed a pocket for the curtain rod. All of it was simple straight line sewing, so it wasn’t too intimidating.
I did some research on faux roman shades before I started my post, and there were so many different opinions on how the folds should fall. Should they be even? Should they all fall right at the bottom of the shade? Should the folds be relaxed (droopy) or straight? It was overwhelming. Finally, I decided that I would just play around with the fabric until I liked how it looked. Fortunately for me, the large repeat on my fabric’s pattern allowed me to make two nicely sized folds in the curtain so that the pattern matched up. No long division required!
Whether you decide to create your folds using your math skills or by eyeballing it, there are two crucial things to remember:
1) The folds need to be of consistent height, especially at either end of the curtain. Measure when you fold, measure when you iron, measure when you pin – all the way across each fold.
2) Use way more pins than you think you should. I don’t know how many times I had my folds nice and straight, and I picked up the fabric and the folds drooped and fell and I had to start over again. Save yourself the curse words and use lot of pins.
There may be better ways of holding your folds in place, but after my own trial and error I found hand sewing to be the easiest method. I didn’t use any fancy hand sewing techniques, just a simple tack stitch. This is where I hand sewed:
For the top row of sewing, I was tacking the back of the top fold to highest drop of the curtain. Because of that, I had to be careful that I was sewing the back of the top fold to the lining ONLY. If I would have sewed all the way through the top drop of the curtain, the stitches would have been visible when the curtain was hanging. When I tacked the second fold to the drop of the first fold, I didn’t have to be as careful. Again, this will make more sense as you are actually working through the process of sewing your own curtain.
I considered using stitch witchery to hold up the folds instead of hand sewing, and that would have been much faster – if I knew what I was doing. As it was, I was doing too much experimenting and starting over, and ripping out stitches is easier than peeling off melted stitch witchery.
Once the folds were secure, I ironed the curtain one more time, trimmed off any hanging threads, and slipped some wood dowels into the fold pockets to make sure they stayed straight. Thankfully, the curtain looked fantastic on our bathroom window. If it had been crooked or otherwise wonky, I probably would have cried.
I love the way the two fabrics work with each other, and I am so happy with the nice bright light that streams into the bathroom now. It’s a win all around!
I’ve gathered links to the materials I used in this tutorial. If you purchase after clicking one of these links, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!
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