9.08.2007

Little Suzy Seamstress?

Not quite. I would love to be better at sewing, but it's quite a struggle for me. I can sew a straight line, though, which came in handy in few projects in our new apartment.
First: the bathroom. After searching in vain for an extra long shower curtain that reaches from ceiling to floor (the bathroom had been renovated to accommodate the owner's need to push her son's wheel chair into the shower) I remembered that I had two of the same shower curtains that I used to swap for one another while one was being washed. I chopped one in half. I sewed the bottom half to the other shower curtain and came up with this:

The practical side of the problem is solved, but the obvious seam nags at me every time I go into the bathroom, so I'm thinking about sewing a ribbon or patchwork strip across the seam to make it look a bit more intentional. I'm also toying with the idea of finally taking an embroidery class (like the one Bolt is offering this month), and designing some little pattern to decorate that strip. To the real seamstresses out there, will ribbon and/or embroidery floss hold up well in the washer and dryer? Any other seam camouflage suggestions?
Oh, yeah... the top of the chopped shower curtain became a curtain for the bathroom window.

The next project: bedroom window treatment. We were hoping for some discreet blinds, couldn't find anything that we both liked and could afford, so we ended up buying fabric so I could make curtains. Not having any real experience in the curtain-making department (the shower curtain process so doesn't count), we picked out a horrendous burlap-like fabric that, when hung, blocked out light so completely that it made our bedroom feel like a cave.
On to Ikea. There we found a few curtains that were okay, but the ones we liked were on the pricey side (who knew Ikea did pricey?) and would still have to be hemmed. Feeling pretty defeated (the curtain saga has been going on for a month now), we were on our way out of Ikea when I spotted flat bed sheets for $2.99 a piece. Four of them, hemmed up to the perfect length (I had no idea curtain were supposed to "pool" - thank God for Domino Magazine) are now clipped to the curtain rods in our bedroom. Easy and breezy. And cheap. Perfect for non-seamstress Suzy.

And did I mention the funky lamp that we snagged at Ikea?

Happy weekend, all!

22 comments:

luv Abby said...

wow susan you have been so busy homemaking.... I still have a couple of rooms that I refuse to open the doors to and the man has hidden the drill and is too busy himself to hang mobiles and ornaments for me.... what is it with men and tools....
your appartment is looking amazing.... you can find some greattrims and things in the haberdashery (I think thats right) area of large material shops and the sales people can help u with washing questions.... hope this helps...
luv Abby

Robyn said...

I love your resourcefulness with the shower curtain and the bathroom curtain. the seam actually doesn't look so bad, but I think patchwork might be kind of nice, especially if you wanted to add some color to your bathroom, which it doesn't need from in my opinion. You could do embroidery, but I do think depending on how much it was and how often you plan on washing the shower curtain that that might not be a great idea, unless you hand wash it. Oh, ribbon would work really well, too.

Robyn said...

oh, and the sheets? Great idea!

Sonya said...

I have one word for you and it's not ribbon or trim (drum roll) IT'S BUTTONS! Sew some buttons across, spaced 1-2 inches apart. How cute would mis-matched vintage buttons be?

dash said...

The white is really simple and effective. I agree that the seam isn't so bad- it looks intentional. Or you could have used a different color fabric for the bottom part. Do you sew by machine or by hand? Now I realize how lucky I was to have my mom and grandmother teach me how to sew, by machine and by hand respectively. I learned the basics and that was enough for me- maybe you could take an intro class. Your place looks great!

erin said...

embroidery will hold up fine....the t-shirts the kids do go through the wash gazillions of times and we haven't had an issue. ribbon would be okay, too, but you need to wash it before you add it to your curtain to make sure it won't bleed and/or shrink. patchwork would be cute, too, and i really like sonya's button idea.

all that said, i think it looks great the way it is! nice job on your curtains, too.

Connie said...

good job susan! {funny... i made curtains today too...}

and may I suggest bias tape? you can get a bias tape maker, which can easily be used to finish off yucky edges in any color fabric you want.
like these: http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/accessories_notions_list/88

:)

OfTroy said...

um, did you know that i sew even better than i knit?

some options.
a bit late now, but a french seam (first sew with wrong sides together, trim seam allowance to 1/8 inch or so, then turn and place right sides together, and reseam.. you get a small ridge.. (with raw edges enclosed.

second a flat felled seam (these are what you find on blue jeans.)

trim 1 edge of seam (allowance) take the other edge and fold it (1/8th inch or so hem)
sew hem down (look at jeans.. (jean often have double flat felled seams.. both edges are folded and top stitched down.

bias tape. by premade bias tape and top stitch over the seam.

most embroider floss is 100% color fast cotton.. it will shrink a small amount, (you can prewash/preshrink hanks) and then machine wash.. (but no bleach!)

in the future, you can buy some trimming lace or flat trimming,and insert it (sew each edge of shower curtain onto trimming.. (or better yet, by sheets (queen) and attach grommets to head.. sheets often work well because they often can have coordinating bath linens to sheet sets.. (and you can match if desired)

sonya's idea of buttons is good too..

there are some great buttons to be found in crafts places.. (with beads sometimes, other times with scrapbooking material , other times with doll (making/clothing)

now you have lots of ideas!

ambika said...

I usually avoid Ikea like the plague but when we were on our curtain mission, I found myself admiring that lamp. If only there was room for it here!

capello said...

i heart your shower curtain -- the seam looks intentional as it is. and ribbon will make it "pop" too. :-)

mary said...

So smart! Maybe not a seamstress (could have fooled me), but definitely creative!! YOUR tips should have been the one in Domino!

kat said...

Looks like you have plenty of great ideas here! I am new to sewing so I can't really contribute much here!

The Lenart's said...

I love your "other" craftiness. I think you are very good with the needle. I second Sonya's idea of buttons. It will look intentional and they will hold in the wash. Then you could always try different trims. My favorite ones are at http://www.superbuzzy.com and I think they are located in Portland, OR.

amandajean said...

I have to vote for patchwork...you know me. But the button idea is a close second. Or you could leave it like it is. It's quite simple and lovely. I love how you used what you had!

and the curtains from sheets look wonderful. I loved seeing more of your apartment.

Ilka said...

seashells? I don't know how the shells look like at over there, but at the Nort Sea coast, we have lovely white seashells, rather smallish and polished, of you drill small holes in them, you have a sea-like feeling in your bathroom. let me know if you need an envelope full of shells, it would be my pleasure to search for them this Saturday (as I'm going to the seaside anyway)

beki said...

Wow, you've been busy! Oh, and sewing a straight line? In my opinion, that's one of the hardest things to master!

Erin said...

You are a woman of many talents, first earrings and now sewing!!! I have the perfect book for you. I am in the same boat as you regarding the curtains etc. See if you can get a hold of the book "Window Treatments" by Lucinda Ganderton & Ali Watkinson. I borrowed it from the library last week. They use a lot of ribbon, rickrack, and embroidery. I have a curtain too short and am going to do exactly what you did with your shower curtain and hide the seem with ribbon or band of fabric. They recommned it in their book! Good luck.

Andrea (Scout) said...

hello, my dear... i know i am waaay behind in commenting here, but just had to let you know that went to ikea this evening, and had the same problem on the curtain front: pricey faux-linen, who knew? also, we hung the same lamp above our kitchen table. LOVE IT. (your home is stunning, by the way.)

my vote for the shower curtain seam would have to be grossgrain. all the way. i used the same 'technique' on a too-short curtain and a nice 1" black grossgrain ribbon covered the seam and looked fab. it washes nicely too. :)

Village Vegan said...

Nice sewing job! I really, really, like your apartment. It looks retro and modern and it has enough stuff to look lived-in, but not cluttered.

And isn't ikea great? I was just there last week and it was so much fun.

amisha said...

the curtains look great. and there are so many good ideas here that i won't add mine (love the ribbon/ embroidery idea-- it will be fine in the wash after pre-washing). in FL we had all ikea gauze curtains... so cheap and easy. though we simply hacked the bottoms off with scissors... that was before i had a sewing machine. hee hee.
xo

Loraine said...

Hi Susan...oh you lucky girl :)

Lesley said...

That's a great idea for the bedroom curtains. I completely sympathise with your hunt for curtains and figuring out the best way to make them etc, because the exact same thing is happening here too! Your place is looking so amazing. You are putting me to shame! I just wish I had some of your resourcefulness. You are a woman of many talents.
:-)