Homecraft Happiness: Curtains and Cloths

Being ultra frugal doesn’t mean I don’t like to make a cute comfortable home. I love tablecloths for two reasons. One, it covers the grooves in the farmhouse table I built and I don’t have to have the daily chore of running a butter knife along the grooves to get the cracker crumbs out. Secondly, it’s an easy inexpensive way to add a splash of your favorite color (in my case red).

I always buy fabric on clearance. I never pay more than 3$ a yard. My table is 6 feet long so I buy 2.3 yards. I hem up all four sides and whala. Tablecloth. At that cost I can have one for every day of the week, if I wanted. I am adding more tablecloths all the time with season and holiday themes. (so long as they all have a splash of red) J

Recently we re-did my son's room. We knocked out the closet to allow for more room and covered hideous paneling with drywall mud to create the look of real “walls”. (Easier and cheaper than tearing out the paneling and hanging new drywall) When it came time for the curtains, he wanted a certain style and color. So off to the store we went. I haven’t bought curtains in so long that I nearly fell over at the price! We ended up buying two panels at just over 20$ apiece. (And they tell me that’s cheap!) Trust me, I was snarling all the way to the register.

Could I have said, “No way, boy, let’s go home, Mama will make you some curtains.” Sure. But I wouldn’t do that. We don’t want to push our lifestyle on our kids to that level. His room is his room and he can decorate it however he wants. After all, I can always close the door (that we made) and not have to look at it.

My “new” kitchen curtains, however, are much more frugal. I spent 3$ on a king size sheet at the thrift store. It was so thick and soft I almost hated to use it for curtains. And whoever donated it used great fabric softener. It smelled wonderful. Nevertheless, the print curtains I have didn’t go with the table cloths I’d recently made. Both were print. So I am swapping the curtains out for some bright white curtains.

I simply folded the sheet top to bottom and cut along the line. I sewed in a top hem for the rod and done. (If you cut it this way, you can use the existing hems of the sides and bottom of the sheet and save some work.)

I like straight no nonsense curtains that hang from a rod. I make the hem for the rod large so I can just throw them open and throw them closed. It’s better for the cats, too. Any lace, frillies or tie backs are just too tempting and next thing I know, there’s a pile of curtains on the floor and a freaked out cat racing past me.  Yes, it’s happened.

I have no store bought curtains in my house. (Save my son’s room)  I just can’t see the point. Not when fabric and quality used sheets are so easy to come by. It took me all of 10 minutes to sew and hang my curtains tonight.

 Brutus approves! These curtains ended up being a little long. Instead of re-hemming, I just raised the curtain rod! In this picture I made the table, chairs, table cloth and curtains. I didn't make the candle holder, but I made the candle inside it!

Brutus approves! These curtains ended up being a little long. Instead of re-hemming, I just raised the curtain rod! In this picture I made the table, chairs, table cloth and curtains. I didn't make the candle holder, but I made the candle inside it!

Whenever I pass by a house with a plain sheet tacked over the window (You know the kind, I’m sure you’ve seen it) I just want to grab my sewing machine and knock on their door and say, “That looks like crap! Let me show you how to make it cute.” Drives me nuts.

Here are some other curtains I've made. I found this fabric for a dollar a yard and bought the whole bolt. More than enough curtains for three large windows in the computer room.

My favorite curtain set to date is in the living room. I found Waverly valances at Goodwill for two dollars a piece. There were eight or nine matching ones. They are made of heavy woven fabric and really keep the cold out. I took my stitch ripper and took apart the valances. (This took three days!) Then I turned them on end, re-hemmed everything and made the pocket for the rod. I had to use two rod supports, however, since the fabric is unbelievably heavy.

As for cloths, I am working on sets of matching napkins to go with each tablecloth. I simply sew up two twelve by twelve squares (prints facing) on three sides. Flip right side out and fold in the last edge and sew using a pretty zigzag stitch.

Currently, Pearl, (the only other “lady” in the house) and I are having a disagreement over tablecloths. I bought two swaths of fabric of the same print, different colors. There was no problem with the red cloth, white flowers. But ever since I put on the white cloth, red flowers, Pearl sees to it to pull it up, chew on it and otherwise do her best to tear it off the table. Right after I straightened it this morning I found that she mussed it up again and gave me a look, daring me to fix it.

I don’t believe she likes this cloth. I might have to use it on the patio table outdoors.

Anyway, I’m sure some of you that are more talented with a sewing machine could come up with some beautiful sheet curtains. If you have, please email me pictures so I can showcase them!

Posted on May 18, 2014 and filed under Sewing, Homecraft Happiness.