This curtain is the result of my OBSESSION for VINTAGE LACE, love for BOHEMIAN STYLE, joy of creating something UNIQUE, and awareness for the benefits of RECYCLING. Ah yes, I forgot to mention the BIG NEED for the curtains in the bedroom (actually, in every room)…
I have couple of how-to-make-curtains books. They show many wonderful curtains that I would like to have. But so far I have not made any. Reasons? There is a serious, detailed and precise (read: complicated for me) work that needs to be done to get to those curtains. And usually I like curtains that need A LOT of fabric. I live in a place where fabric costs way too much. Ready made curtains are cheaper, but I do not like them. As you see – I have countless excuses why windows at our home were naked for a way too long time.
In my obsession for vintage lace I have collected quite some amount of lace: ribbons, lace collars, decorations for bed linen, doilies and different other bits and pieces. They are stored in a box (well ok, three boxes). Whenever I have a craftiness attack to create something unusual, I open my lace treasure box and happily let me my hands and eyes play with the lace content. I love each item which makes it really difficult to force myself to make something out of those precious pieces.
My collection kept growing (read: so have been the costs of acquiring this collection) andit became more and more difficult to justify this obsession that sat in a box (yes, right, three boxes).
Continue reading to explore more….
One day I was trying to choose some lace ribbons that I would probably use for a so needed curtain in the bedroom. I rediscovered some wonderful lace collars and decoration pieces for bed linen (picture 1).
I was wondering what were the reasons that I had bought so many of them, knowing that even in my wildest sewing attack I would make only one or maximum two tops with lace collars. While wondering I started to play with those lace treasures, arranging them in different ways to create something. A nice flower image appeared and became the beginning of this BOHO curtain. I was surprised how nice the lace looked when the light was coming through from the back of the curtain.
The bohemian look of this curtain evolved step by step. There was no plan of how its shape, looks or construction order should be.
Maybe the description of my creation process might serve as an inspiration to create your own unique bohemian curtain when using the materials you have at hand.
HOW TO MAKE BOHEMIAN VINTAGE CURTAIN:
Materials I used:
* Middle weight cotton fabric (I had found it in thrift store some time ago and thought that one day it would serve for some then-yet-unknown craft project.)
* Lace treasures: ribbons, collars, doilies, table runners etc (I cut some of them into smaller shapes (pictures 7, 8, 15)).
* Basic sewing supplies. I used two stitches on my sewing machine – straight line and zigzag.
STEP 1: Decide on the length of your curtain – consider the looks not only when the curtain is open, but also when it is gathered in different ways (read the side note from my experience written at the Step 4).
Hem the edges of curtain (fold twice each edge 0.5 cm and sew it).
STEP 2: Make straps.
My curtain is 145 cm wide, it has 32 straps arranged in 16 pairs. Ready made strap is 2.5 cm wide and 40 cm long. I chose to make rather long straps so I could change the length at which I tied the curtain on the curtain rod. Distance between each pair of straps is 7 cm. One could do with fewer straps (it would have been enough with straps attached at 10-12 cm distance from each other).
For straps I cut the fabric into 7 cm wide and 42 cm long panels that I folded lengthwise in half, sewed long sides together- about 1 cm away from the edge, to create the tube. I folded each tube in such way that the seam would be in the middle and sewed one short side of each tube together to create a sharp tip (as in picture 2 – see the strap on the green surface). Then I turned the tube inside out (so that the seam would be inside it), and ironed it flat.
Step 3: Pair the straps and pin each pair on the curtain´s front side upper edge with the straps´unfinished edge towards the top of the curtain.
Cut 5 cm wide fabric panel that is as long as the width of your curtain plus 2 cm for side seam allowance. Hem the side edges and one long side of this panel by folding them twice 0.5 cm and sewing them. Pin the panel on the top of straps and curtain. Panel is being pinned with the facing side down (picture 2). Sew it about 1 cm away from the edge of curtain. Turn the panel to the back side of the curtain, so that straps would be on the top of curtain (pictures 3 and 4) and pin the panel on the left side of the curtain, then sew it on (picture 5).
Step 4: FUN PART Play with your lace! Create an image or shapes that you like. If needed – cut the lace into more detailed shapes to fill up your image.
I used the lace (picture 6) to arrange it in the shape of flower with butterfly (picture 7). It looked as if something was missing, so I cut out small parts from the “leaves” (marked with small circles on the picture 7) and arranged them as stem (place is marked with big circle on picture 7). The result was the final image of flower (picture 8).
Once you are satisfied with the image or shape that you have created – pin it on the curtain (picture 9) and hang the curtain up on its place to check if the lace is in the right place – considering how the light shines through it (picture 10). If needed – repin the lace and check again until you are happy with the location of your image. (I repinned this flower image 3 times until I was happy with its location).
Sew the lace on the curtain with small size zigzag stitch.
I added lace ribbon to the sides of the curtain (picture 11).
SIDE NOTE: After this step I thought (and was wrong) that my curtain was ready. I was happy with its length when it was open (picture 12) or when it was gather with straight side lines (picture 13). But then I figured out that BOHEMIAN curtain became more bohemian when it was gathered in a way that the side lines had curvy shape (picture 14). However, the problem was that such gathering decreased the length of the curtain – it was hanging above the floor. I could not do much about it because I had used the whole length of fabric that I had. But I still wanted that even when it was gathered with curved edges- curtain would reach the floor.
The solution was to add extra fabric to increase the length. I planned to add it with the lace ribbon connecting original curtain to the prolongation. Then I figured out that I wanted to add the volume to the bottom of the curtain, so it would look richer when it was open and part of it was on the floor, as well as when it was gathered. I sewed ruffles (picture 18) on the extra fabric panel that I added to the curtain, and it created the desired length as well as volume.
This curtain has 6 ruffles. I cut out 16 cm wide panels that were twice as long as the width of the curtain, then hemmed the side edges and bottom of each panel. I made the ruffle on the top edge of the panel and then sewed each ruffle with 13 cm distance from the previous one, so that each ruffle´s lower edge would slightly cover the top of the following ruffle.
STEP 5: Keep adding lace on the curtain. It is a good idea to continue at first pinning the lace on the curtain (picture 14) and then checking how it looks. Maybe it is necessary to adjust the lace. Experiment with lace pieces that you have. If it makes sense – cut them into smaller motifs (picture 15). Sew the lace on the curtain with zigzag stitch.
SIDE NOTE:While planning to add ruffles, I kept playing with lace and decided to add more of it (picture 14) so that lace on the curtain would have a rich look (picture 19). When deciding on the height of newly added lace pieces – I tested the look of the curtain not only on the open curtain that I hung on the curtain rod, but I also checked how the lace images looked when I had gathered the curtain together.
The big oval table runner lace (sewn under the flower – see picture 19) was sewn on the curtain not only around oval edges, but also inside it. I used the same zigzag stitch to sew around several flowers within this table runner. It helped to keep the big lace piece in its place when the curtain was hung vertically.
One can cut the fabric of curtain out inside the zigzag stitch for each image, so that there is no fabric below the lace. For my curtain I did not do it because I wanted it to cover the window as good as possible, and I was very happy how the lace looked on it when light was coming through it.
I confess – this curtain has increased my wish to create more with lace, and to create more bohemian items for my home and myself. To be continued….
Let me know if you have any questions or comments about this tutorial!