Igniting That Ol’ Sewjo

Who puts a window in a location like this?

Sewjo being your sewing mojo of course. I don’t remember where I heard the term first, but a lot of sewers have to take time away from their sewing for whatever reason. And whether you’ve been away for a long or short while, it can be hard to get back into your groove.

As you know, I myself have moved to a new home, in addition to which, the home itself needed a lot of updating and care. That caused a lot of frustration and anger for me – most of which has been expressed in movie form in The Money Pit, starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Ok, it’s not as disastrous as that, but the something-new-every-day-that-makes-me-want-to-cry part is quite accurate. Even knowing going in, everything that was wrong as stated in the home inspection we got, it was worse (it always is, isn’t it?) Very much worse. Unfortunately, Texas’ housing lemon law only applies to new builds, else we’d be all over that.

Steering back to this post – after finally being able to set up my sewing room and unpack all but five boxes (seriously, it all fit in my storage at the old house, why do I need to buy more for this house?) I needed to excise the negative energy and get some good vibes going. I decided to do what I call a “quick’n’dirty” project. Quick because my attention span is a bit short right now and dirty because, well, I wanted to make it pretty quickly, and didn’t have time for excellent technique.

I chose one of the awaiting curtain projects, and I chose the one that was most irritating. Our master bedroom has a window that is a half moon, at the top of a 12-foot wall. The purpose of the window seems to be to let in the light from the overly bright street lamp, as well as the light from four different neighbors’ driveway flood lights – which all turn on and off all night long. (And not in a good way like the song…) While the window does let in some nice daylight, it doesn’t have a view of anything so I decided to put up some light-colored curtains.

Said curtains though, upon arrival, turned out to be an open-weave and thus semi-sheer variety. What to do? I had some white fabric to hand, so I did a quick lining and hem.

Definitely See through!

Since these curtains are going at the top of a wall, where no one will be able to inspect or disturb them, I did a bare minimum to them. First I shortened them on my serger to a suitable length (I picked 50 inches; there’s lots of math on how to do curtain lengths. My window is 35 inches tall, plus the rod is 6 inches higher than the window, plus a nice hem.) Then I pieced the lining on my serger; the curtains were 49 inches wide, and my fabric only 42.

Then I pressed the piecing seam, then pressed a half inch or so at the top of the lining. This made a nice clean edge to attach the lining to the curtain. Then I turned under and pressed the sides of the lining so the raw edge wouldn’t show.

I then used a straight stitch to attach the lining to the top of the curtains under the rod pocket (which are actually loops on these panels.)

Then I turned up a hem on both the panel and lining in one pass, attaching it with a straight stitch. It’s not terribly clean, and there’s a small bubble in one of the panels, but this was supposed to be quick and dirty, remember?

And now I have perfectly acceptable curtains finally blocking all that night-time light pollution…!

How would I have done this the “right” way? The better things to do would be:

  • Opening the top hem, and slipping in the lining there, re-stitching to enclose the lining edge
  • Which edge should have been finished all-around with the serger or zig-zag stitch
  • Those side edges of the lining then tacked down either by straight stitch, or machine blind hem for an extra-fancy finish
  • The lining would then hang free, not be caught up in the panel hem
  • The panel hem could still have a finished inner edge with the serger or zig-zag, but then the hem would be completed with a machine blin-hem stitch, or maybe even a hand-sewn blind hem, for extra-fine fabrics.
  • The outer panel would have gotten weights, and if it were a very long curtain, the lining would be weighted as well

So yes, I know how to do curtains the better way – but if anyone is examining these curtains that closely to complain, I think I have bigger problems than quickie curtains, don’t you?

Stay tuned for a future installment on curtains for your new home!

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