january plans, take two

Hmm… seems like right about this time last year I boldly claimed to have tackled something on my long suffering to-do list.  I picked a fabric for F’s curtains.  I think I even went into nauseating detail about how I arrived at my choice in this post.  Take a moment to look, and then come back.

Confession:  That’s as far as I got.  I chose a fabric, and then I just let a 1/4 yard of it hang there for one whole year.  I got into other things, and needed to spend money in other places.  Plus, I wanted to tackle a few sewing classes first to see if I could make them on my own.  But still, I never took the plunge.
And then I noticed that I really didn’t like it that much anymore.  The room is so calm and serene – completely unlike the child that resides in it – and so I just wasn’t feeling it anymore.  Also, the background really seemed cream in some lights – like late afternoon lights – and that bothered me as well with all of the white woodwork.
I got a postcard in the mail for a fabric / drapery / upholstery sale at a shop here in town.  The sale runs through next Saturday, and so two weekends ago, after I put F down for a nap, her sister and I headed over to take a look at what they had.  We found lots of different options and brought samples home.  But our favorite was the one they didn’t have in stock, and so they had to order a sample and they shipped it to our house.  Perhaps because it wasn’t on a large bolt, or because we added it to the pile at the last minute, the saleslady helping us neglected to write down the price.  
The sample arrived and it was perfect.  And this time I mean it.

It’s the softest, grayest aqua – if that’s really a color.  And it has these really nice leaves – almost like palm fronds, and so similar to the way that I doodle on paper when I’m sitting in a meeting or in church.  (I’m always doodling.)  It feels subtle, modern, with nods towards some of the other things in the room.  It doesn’t scream little girl’s room.  I could see it going in multiple places in my house if I ever tired of it in here, or we moved rooms, or moved houses.  It seems like a long term kind of thing.

The pattern isn’t printed on, it’s stitched on, and it’s in this charcoal gray thread that matches the couch in the box bay perfectly.

It also looks amazing with the carpet.

And it’s strangely reminiscent of the fabric on F’s pouf I made her last summer.

I had a backup plan too – this one was a great color with a nice crisp white pattern.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it at all.  It’s hard to get a great idea of the pattern from this small swatch, but it’s a really pretty fabric in person, and muted enough that the big pattern isn’t distracting.  It’s also a tremendously good deal.  Like super inexpensive – on sale on top of another discount.  But once that other sample arrived in the mail… it just didn’t measure up.

The chevron and the big pattern on the right were cool, but the left was a little too busy and trendy for me, and the right was too tan once I got it home.  Plus it had some large birds in the pattern, and that was starting to feel like theme overload.

This one was kind of cool on a large scale, and it picked up on the aqua and the gold in the room, but the gray looked more tan at home and it really seemed overpowering in the space.  There’s fifteen linear feet of curtains here, so we’re not talking about a small amount.

I even liked this simple gray and white one – it was sort of feathery / botanical, in a sort of chevron-style pattern.  But I worried that at a large scale it would look like zebra stripes, and animal prints aren’t really my thing.

Nope – I had the perfect one, and so I went back over to the store this past Saturday to price it up, figure out yardage, and see how much the labor would cost to have them make them.  (I was getting cold feet about doing it myself.)

Holy sticker shock.  Never order a sample for a fabric, price unknown.  That’s a surefire way to guarantee that you will absolutely love it and nothing else.

Crap.  So here’s the deal.  I’m going to have to make these things, because no matter what fabric I decide to purchase, I just can’t justify paying for custom drapery right now – not when I’ve got a slew of other home related expenses at the moment and in the near future.  And second – no one that I’ve talked to about this little project seems to grasp the fact that these curtains will be open a majority of the time, and pulled to each side of the bay.  They will only be closed when guests are staying in the room and want some privacy (from the birds, because it’s a million feet off the ground), or when F is napping in the dead of summer.  She hardly even needs them covered for napping in the winter right now.  And at both of those times I don’t really care how perfectly full and drapey they are – all this talk about 2.5 times fullness.  Thirty-one yards of fabric is a crazy amount, no matter what the price.

So now I’ve got to do some math and some scribbling and some figuring before Saturday and pick fabric A or fabric B.  If I make them myself, and I keep them simple – no ripple folds or pleats, etc, then either option is affordable – one is just more affordable than the other.  You can check out this post to see a quick how-to for the same type track we have (scroll down to the bottom.  (We won’t use the clips that you see above, the hanging hardware will all be hidden when they are done.)  Time to get brave and do it.  It was a resolution after all.

I’d really love your thoughts on this.  Have you made your own curtains before?  Have you splurged on something that you just couldn’t get out of your mind?  Is it completely ridiculous to talk about bravery and curtains in the same sentence?

5 Responses to january plans, take two

  1. I’ve made curtains for a friend before. I did not make them to my satisfaction (the patterns did not line up perfectly when the curtains hung side by side) but she loved them. I also made curtains for C’s room (with a much more subtle pattern that did not need perfect matching).

    You should TOTALLY make these yourself. Especially because, as you said, they will be pushed open most of the time. It would be crazy to pay someone else to iron and hem straight lines. PLUS store-bought drapes have flaws–I was so paranoid about hemming the set I bought from West Elm because I didn’t want to mess them up. Then I looked closely at the existing hems and saw they were no where near perfect.

    You don’t need 2.5 times the fullness… but I’d bet that you probably need 2 in order to be happy with it (I know because I scrimped on this with the curtains I made for C’s room thinking, “They are open all the time, who cares?” and I totally care. Drives me nuts.)

    I’m all for being frugal, but you’ll never regret choosing the fabric you love. And you know what’s more expensive than making those curtains with that fabric?

    Making two sets of curtains because you’re never quite happy with the first ones and you decide to replace them later.

  2. I would also vote in favor of the fabric you like. And, I would suggest that you line the panels with some cheap muslin which you can buy around $1/yard, depending on the width. It will allow you to get away with less of the expensive fabric (because it adds body) plus protect that fabric from fading. The lining process is not hard. Just make sure there is enough to comfortably overlap when they close and then I think you can even hang them straight (no times the fullness, or like 1.25 times) particularly if they are open much of the time.

    PS I love your blog

  3. Did you get around to making these? I love the fabric and was looking for an update to see the wonderful long panels.
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