Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MaryAnna's Curtains

Wow, it's been a BUSY weekend... Wait, It's Wednesday and I am just now commenting on the weekend!??  OK, so it WAS a busy weekend, and now it's been a busy start to the first week of the Christmas Season.  My full time "pays for the groceries" job is in Retail, so I am hopping busy all the time from September through Christmas.

So, I did get a few things finished over the weekend, one of them I'm going to share with you today...

MaryAnna's Curtains.  Lots of Photos...

The Fabric she chose for her curtains.  I decided to make reversible, two sided curtains.  So I told her to choose two fabrics.  She chose the prints on the left and right, but the leopard print is practically see through, and the brown print, while a nice dark color, was also fairly thin.  Together they blocked the light of a 60W bulb, but that big burning orb in the sky puts out a little more light than a 60W bulb, so I added a black material to the mix that blocks out the light very well.

The Primary Print.  This is a very soft material, almost like a blanket soft, but it is to light to make a blanket from.  It is VERY soft, and a nice print, but it would provide very little warmth.

The black was used as a "batting" between the two prints.  Here the leopard print lies face up with the brown print facing it, and the black laying on top.  I layed them all out, and spray basted the black to the brown.  Sewed all around the top and side edges, leaving the bottom open to turn the whole mess right side out.

After turning it right side out, and pressing it, I started quilting MaryAnna's Curtains.  I started with a 1/4" stitch line all around the whole thing to keep the edges clean.  I didn't want "Edge Creep", and this step secures the edges very well.
Then I needed to strengthen the top of the curtain where I would be securing the hanging hoops, so I sewed three rows of stitches, 1.5" apart straight across the top.  I LOVE the guide on my new machine!  I set it to the width I want, and as long as I keep the previous row of stitches directly under the guide, I get parallel rows of stitches every time without tape!!
The parallel lines on the backside.  I was using a new type of thread, so the first few rows of stitching I did, I layed it out and looked a the bottom side to insure that the stitching was acceptable both top and bottom.

Quick digression... This is Leah, MaryAnna's cat.  She has ventured between MaryAnna's room and our room upstairs, but she has been afraid to interact with the other cats.  She has been in our home now for three months, and she chose to make an appearance near the bottom of the steps while I was working on MaryAnna's curtains.  I heard her "Meowing", and grabbed my camera to capture the moment.  She layed there relaxing three steps from the bottom, until Espresso rounded the corner, then she bolted back to the safety of MaryAnna's room...

While photographing Leah, Mocha (who NEVER takes interest in my quilting) jumped right up on the table and started cuddling in the curtains, while they were still on the machine!  I couldn't believe it.  She KNOWS she is not to get up on the kitchen table, but there she was refusing to move.  You can see my hand there preparing to lift her off and forcibly remove her!  Stubborn Cat!!

After completing the rows of stitching at the top to strengthen the part from which it would be hanging, I needed to put in some vertical stitching.  So I marked where I wanted stitching with some pins...
And THEN I had to resort to tape.  The stitch guide is good for stitches closer than three inches, but I needed stitching further apart than that.  BUT I did put the tape 1" away from where I wanted the seam and then used the guide at the edge of the tape instead of trying to sew right next to the tape which ALWAYS ends with a gunky needle, because I inevitably stitch on the tape at some point instead of NEXT to it.
After I had all the vertical stitching done, I took a break and left the room for 5 minutes, when I returned, look who was back on the table!  And notice, she is refusing to look at me.  She KNOWS she is guilty, but maybe if she avoids my gaze I won't see her... Maybe.
I removed her and went to the garage to get the hanging hardware for the next step.  I was not gone 1 minute and there she was again!  This is the GOOD cat, that NEVER gets on things she is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ON!!  Right there on the kitchen table, looking at me as if to say, "I know I am not supposed to be here, but I simply can't resist this material!"
The mounting hardware.  This is the backside of the front and back pieces.  I had to cut holes in the curtains and then secure the front and back through the holes...
So I marked the hole size with a sharpie, and sewed all around the hole with a zig zag pattern, and then I stitched a straight line on the inside and outside of the zig zag to strengthen the portion of the curtains that would be bearing the weight as they hung on the rod.
Selecting Zig Zag on my new machine is SO EASY... One button to push.  No plastic dials, no opening up the machine, no manually turning the machine to line up the lines on the dials with the gauge in the machine, just push a button!

And after sewing the reinforcements, the center hole gets cut out.
Then the front side is pushed through the hole to the backside...

And the backside is then secured to the front side, completing the process.  Repeat 7 more times...

I alternated the three sided shape so every other one is pointing up and every other one is pointing down.
After I finished, I went to get MaryAnna so we could take them up and hang them... When I returned, Frappacino had assumed her usual role of "Quilting Supervisor".  Frappy is ALWAYS climbing on things she is not supposed to and she LOVES it when I quilt.  She is always nearby.  But it's the look I'm getting here that cracks me up... "Mocha told me this was comfortable, and I JUST got here, don't you DARE move me..."
So, I am almost embarrassed to say, but for the past two months, this has been MaryAnna's window...

And THIS is her window NOW.  I was a little skeptical about her fabric choice, but I think it works well.

Close up of the curtain and rod.

MaryAnna is happy with her new curtains, and that makes me happy.  She is still a little "weirded out" by having a Dad who sews, but she is beginning to like the idea of having things made for her.  She recently picked out a shawl type thing that I am going to try to make for her.  I've never done clothing before.  Costumes, curtains, table runners, quilts, no problem... Clothes for some reason scare the heck out of me!

Until Next Time,


  1. I was fascinated by the process of making this window covering. I've never made one quite this involved before. I salute you! I think MaryAnna is going to be very grateful for a Dad the sews!

  2. You should completely take the leap into clothing! And I love the curtains. Great tip about using your stitch guide next to the tape! I'll have to remember that!

  3. The curtains turned out great...I am with you on the clothes...scary for sure!!!

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  5. I think this is so nice! I never once saw my mom sew, but my dad sewed a lot of things. Mostly rugged-man-camping sorts of things, but still. I grew up with the belief that I could sew anything because it was just what people did when they wanted something specific.

  6. Stopped by after reading your guest post at Sunni's. Don't want to win anything, just enjoy seeing what the men quilters are up to. I love your stuff, it is amazing!


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