Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Bathing Beauty

I don’t know about you, but I have a heck of a time finding a shower curtain I like.  Several years ago I found one I liked for my master bathroom, but it is time to replace it.

I began looking for a new one in January, but have found nothing I’m willing to shower with every morning for the next 5 or so years.  Everything readymade has a bold, graphic design or has that plush spa-look.  Neither style works for me.

While at the fabric store the other day, my eye was drawn to a gorgeous toile on the remnants table.  After a quick measurement, I decided to take it home—there was just enough to do something with it. 

You see, I have a problem with fabrics.  I love them. I always envision wonderful projects I can create with the fabrics I find.  I purchase yard after yard of these beauties, only to stack them in the pile with the other remnants—hoping against hope I will find time to work them into the pillows or table clothes I imagine them to be.

This time, however, it was different.  On the way home, with “my lovely” sitting on the seat next to me (so I can glance occasionally at my great find), I decide this beautiful linen fabric will become my new shower curtain.

As soon as I got home I tossed the fabric into the wash on a cold and gentle cycle.  Here’s the thing—it was labeled dry clean only, but I’m not going to dry clean my shower curtain!  So, I had to wash it to shrink it before I cut it to length for the shower curtain.  Let me tell you—the only thing I love more than a beautiful toile, is a beautiful toile printed on linen that’s been through the wash.  It changes the structure of the fabric.  It does shorten the life of the fabric, I’m sorry to say, but in this case it not only necessary, but worth it!  The weight and consequent drape/flow of the fabric were significantly improved.

Okay—let’s get on with it.  If you find yourself in the same predicament of being unable to find a shower curtain to suit your good taste, fear not!  Here are the instructions you can follow to construct your own shower curtain.

Here’s the fabric. I know—it’s  great.  This is after the washing—so now it is “pre-shrunk.”   By the way, I use decorator fabrics for these projects—they’re wide and generally more durable.

 Norw Independence and shower curtain 012

Next I laid it out, determined the direction of the fabric—which, if it’s not obvious, can be figured using the guide on the side of the fabric in the selvedge (I think it actually has something to do with the dye process, but it also indicates the direction of the fabric.  The #1 is the top.)   I measured the length I needed for my shower curtain.  I took the measurement from the bottom of the shower rings to just below the edge of the shower basin.  I added an inch for the bottom hem and two for the top, then I cut.

Norw Independence and shower curtain 017

NOTE: Since I was making a curtain for a shower stall, the 50” width of the fabric was perfect.  If I were making a curtain for a tub, I would have needed twice that amount and would have thrown a seam down the middle to double the width.  Don’t forget to allow extra yardage for matching the pattern—if you’re a stickler for that type of thing.

Then I finished the edges.  I simply folded back the selvedge and sewed a straight stitch.

Norw Independence and shower curtain 018

For the top hem, I folded under one inch and pressed, then again, pressed and pinned in place, then stitched.

Norw Independence and shower curtain 020

Making the holes for the shower curtain rings can be easily accomplished with the button hole function on your sewing machine.  If your machine doesn’t have this function, you can always use grommets, but I haven’t done that myself.

Norw Independence and shower curtain 027

Then I had to mark where I would make the button holes for the curtain rings.  There are twelve holes in a shower curtain liner, so I had to make 12 in my shower curtain.   I first found the middle of the curtain, then evenly spaced 6 pins to each side.  That’s where the button holes would go.Norw Independence and shower curtain 026

Here’s a picture of the first button hole on the right.

Norw Independence and shower curtain 025

After you make your button holes, you use a seam ripper to open the fabric between the stitching.

Here’s the finished product hanging in my bathroom.shower curtain

As you can see, I had enough fabric to add a matching curtain for my window.  For the lace sheer, I used an old lace curtain I had in the closet—the kind with the attached valance.  I hung it from a rod at the top of the window, then cut the curtain to length along the floral pattern.  No need to hem, because it’s that cheap (yet attractive  not offensive) poly-lace.  Then I placed another rod about 2 inches above the bottom of the valance.  I added the cafe curtain rings and determined the length for my matching toile curtain.  Voile!  Toile!

I hope my “de-structions” make sense, if you find them confusing or need some clarification, just leave me a note here.

I’ll show more pictures of my renovated bathroom shortly.  Still pulling a few things together.

Thanks for your indulgence,



Teri said...

Very nice. I've been making my own shower curtains for ages. Fabric pieces and sheets are my favorites to use. Tho this next one will be a couple window curtain panels I found at TJ Maxx.

Jen Stewart said...

i love it! sooooo - no more shutters in your bathroom? . . . i'm scared of the button hole process - my machine has it and i've used it successfully in the past but i try to avoid it - must get over it!

Kendall Welsh said...

I love it! You always find such incredible fabrics! So,when is that sewing basics class again?

Paige Thomas King said...

I love using sheets, too. In fact, they recently adorned nearly every room in our home as window curtains due to our snoke clean-up after our fire. I've got a beautiful floral from Ralph Lauren hanging in my sons room right now (where we're sleeping while our room is renovated) that were intended as curtains in our room, but never made it to the rods. I think I'll leave them in my sons room (he won't even notice). Thanks for your note!

Paige Thomas King said...

Spoken like a lady who loves cleaning shutters!
Use that button-holer! Own that button-holer! Work that button-holer, girl!

Paige Thomas King said...

The fabric is out there--you've just got to look!
Thanks for the kind words--you don't do such a bad job of finding the good stuff yourself!

Paige Thomas King said...

Sewing basics class will take place in September--when the "The Roost" colls off slightly!

Michellem said...

I made a shower curtain once several years ago and used decorator fabric too - I used the 50" width and then cut smaller panels for each side so I wouldn't have a seam down the middle - I used grommets though - buttonholes are VERY scary to me!! Your curtain looks great!!

Paige Thomas King said...

You sound like a pro--thinking about seams down the middle! I'm a lazy, quick sewer. If I can't finish a project in less than 24 hours, it probably won't ever get done!
Did you have to match a pattern, too? No way would that happen with me!
Thanks for your comments!

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