DIY time with Philip: Draped in reminiscence

After finally settling in to my apartment, getting back into my work/school routine, there was only one chore left on my list: curtains to cover the French doors that open into my room. I like things that are multifunctional and include an element of display, so picture frame curtains seemed like just the thing.

After measuring the dimensions of the windows, the most crucial decision of all must be made, fabric choice. Which means the fourth floor at Britex for some cheap, cute remnants: two-and-a-half yards of tangerine & white seersucker and lime green burlap. For embellishment, I was off to the hardware store for:

• curtain rod hooks (two per window, three if the windows are wide)
• hammer
• nails
• two lengths of chain, about 10” longer than window width,
• twine, any thick yarn will work

Other supplies:
• photos
• scissors
• tape measure
• straight pins
• ruler
• pencil
• marker
• darning or tapestry needle

To fix the length of the curtains, hardware must be installed on the door/window frame. Two inches above and two inches outside the top corners of the window is a good rule (photo 2 in the slide show above). Mark these points, start a nail in each (photo 3), put the nail through the top hole of the rod hook, drive a nail through bottom hole of hook. Hang chain between two hooks, adding one in the middle if necessary (photo 4).

Fabric is cut on a flat surface, to the appropriate width (photo 5). Lightly mark width for entire length of the fabric as a guide if needed. The fabric is now the curtain. Along the top edge of curtain, pin 1/2-5/8” back (photo 6), using this opportunity to make sure the top edge is in fact perpendicular to the sides of the curtain.

Decide on width for the chain insert, pin the edge again at that measurement (photo 7), so the previously pinned unfinished edge is now hidden. Mark the back side of the insert in 3/8” increments along the width (photo 8).

Thread needle, knot one end of the thread. To conceal knots, start the first stitch between the layers of the seam (photo 9). Continue to stitch the seam for the width of the curtain, finish by tying knot between the seam layers at the other edge (photo 10).

Slide the chain through insert to make sure the curtain hangs plumb (photo 11).

While the curtain is hanging mark the corners of each of the photos that will be framed in the curtain, then put the curtain on a flat surface again and mark a rectangle 3/4” inside each edge of the photo corners (photo 12).

Cut smaller rectangle out and from each cutout corner, slash diagonals to the photo corner marks. Pin 3/8” on each edge to the back of the curtain (photo 13). Cut the frame backing to cover all pinned edges (photo14). Pin bottom and sides of backing to bottom and sides of corresponding frame.

Before sewing frames, cut embellishment pieces and negotiate layout. Beginning with in the top left corner of the frame, stitch across the top of the frame, and remember, backing should not be sewn across the top of the frame, so the picture can be changed with ease. Continue stitching around the perimeter of the frame WITH the backing, adding embellishment pieces as desired (photo 15). Cut bottom edge to of curtain to desired length.

Finally, after all the blood, sweat, and tears, a well deserved catnap won’t be interrupted by a blaring afternoon sun.

Written by: Philip Washington

For more DIY time with Philip, click here.