Drop Cloth Curtains

Hi guys! I’ll share the rest of our Seattle pictures soon, but first I wanted to share a fun project that I did this weekend! Since Matt and I got married and moved into the upstairs bedroom (I mentioned it in this post), it’s been a slow process to really make it feel like our bedroom. It stayed the bright blue that my brother had painted it until about a month or two ago, and we still don’t have our pictures up on the walls, but that’s ok – slowly but surely. 🙂 So this bedroom has a big quirk – a window into the living room. Yep. Into the living room. On the wall adjacent to the door is a window (with shutters) that opens up next to the loft and looks down on the living room. I have no idea why anyone would actually want it there, but it definitely throws things off. Here’s the room before it got painted: Bedroom Before Crazy, huh?  I wanted to do something to make the window less obvious and decided to do a wall of panels to just cover it up. As Matt and I were looking at curtains in Target (he indulged me for a few minutes :)) he mentioned that he really liked the curtains that I had in the office. “Oh! Those are just ones I made from drop cloth! Should I just do more like that?” “Sure!” And that was the end of that. I was relieved/excited because I wanted the curtains on the windows to match or at least coordinate with whatever we decided to do on the wall, and drop cloth is so inexpensive that we agreed it made sense to make new curtains for the windows as well. This weekend Matt was out of town and I decided it was the perfect time to work on knocking these panels out! I stopped at Lowe’s on Thursday and picked up four of these bad boys: Drop Cloth Before I went to Lowe’s, I had measured and found that the windows are 34.5″ wide, the curtain rod is 85″ high, and the “wall panel” will be about 10 ft wide). Using the rule of thumb that the curtain should be 2 to 2.5 times as wide as the window, I decided to not mess with the width of the panel for simplicity (and 72″ is between 2 and 2.5 times the width anyway). The panels definitely needed to be shorter though, so after I washed each panel, I laid them out one by one on the floor to measure them out. (Note – if you want to do anything with drop cloths, you’ll want to wash them first. They come out of the package INCREDIBLY stiff. Once I washed them in hot water and used detergent and fabric softener, they came out fine!) Fabric Laid Out When I pulled the first drop cloth out of the package, I realized that it had a seam on one end but it (thankfully) fell right below where I wanted to hem it anyway, so I didn’t worry about it. None of the other panels had a seam, but just be aware that you could end up with seam that you’ll have to work around. (Lowe’s is so good about returns, though, that if you were careful opening the package and found that it had a seam you didn’t want, I would think that they’d let you return it if you explained why you wanted a different one.) I think that I measured around 84 inches and then allowed room for the hem. About the hem… I don’t have a sewing machine and I like to keep things easy, so I used iron-on hem tape to do the curtains. Iron-On Hem Tape Once I measured how long I wanted the panels, I doubled the width of the hem tape to figure out how much more to add, and marked the fabric at several spots along the width of the panel. Laying the Tape Out I used a level to connect the lines because it gave me a long straight edge. But as evidenced in the picture below, I was obviously not very exact about this. At first I was stressing myself out but then I realized that  (1) the edges weren’t perfectly straight to start with, (2) I was going to be “hemming” it – again, not perfectly straight, (3) I was going to be clipping this hemmed end with the curtain clips  – not an exact science, and (4) the bottom should be full and nobody is going to be examining how straight it is!  So I calmed down, connected the marks with a crooked line and moved on. Marked Up Fabric To make things go faster, I had folded the panel in half for the measuring and cutting. Once each panel was cut, I ironed the entire panel and then worked on “hemming” it with the tape. I followed Sherry’s video instructions on Young House Love – the instructions are really clear so I won’t try to explain again….just go watch the video. Oh, just one thing I’ll note – I like to use smaller pieces of tape – maybe 8 inches or so; I work with a smaller section and then move  onto the next because I think it’s easier to keep the tape in place. Let me just say that the whole process is not very hard – ironing the rest of the panel took about as long as “hemming” the bottom.  Since I only had to hem one edge on each panel, I got all 4 panels ironed and hemmed in a couple of hours. I decided to just hang the window panels since Matt wasn’t home to help me hang the curtain rod above the bed. I removed the old curtains and got my Target curtain clips ready to go. I just did some quick folding to make sure that I got the curtain clips onto the panels in the right spots; there were 7 clips per panel so I put one on each end, one in the middle, and then the last four evenly spaced – two on side. Then I got the panels onto the curtain rod, stepped back, sighed, and then almost cried. They just didn’t look right. Disappointing I was so disappointed! They looked so floppy and unfinished. This was not what I had in mind. I had to go to bed but it kept bothering me. Did I need bigger clips? Did I need different clips? What did I do wrong? The next day I went downstairs and stared at the office curtains. I realized that they were hung with really good quality clips that my Mom had helped me get super cheap at Lowe’s. No offense to the Target clips…the others are just the Cadillac of curtain clips. They hold the fabric in a way that created pleats, which is really what makes the difference. I didn’t want to spend more money to try to find something similar, so I racked my brain. “I can’t sew…I can’t spend any more money….” But then had an epiphany! I would make my own pleats. I didn’t mention it before, but when I first put the curtains up I actually realized I had made them a few inches too long. I didn’t want to redo the hem, especially since I don’t know if the curtain rods will be the same height when we eventually move. So to shorten them up, I cut small pieces of cardboard to the same size (maybe 3 inches by 2 inches?) and used that as a guide for how far to fold the fabric over at each clip. I know it’s weird. I was hoping that the cardboard would somehow give the curtains “structure” and keep them from looking so floppy. It didn’t. Cardboard Anyway, I realized that all I had to do was fold the fabric not only over the cardboard at each clip, but also around it!  _MG_9224 small Since the fabric was doubled-over and was heavy to start with, it made it a tight squeeze, but the clips have all worked so far! So…. here they are! Pleats   Pleats   Done I realize that the panels seem too narrow now, but we don’t usually have the curtains closed. If we did, I’d probably go back and trim down the cardboard to make smaller pleats. Really, though, the cardboard isn’t necessary – it’s just a quick way to get even pleats. Done! See the difference? (Left with the pleats and right without!) Curtains I can’t wait to get the other curtain rod up so we can get the other panels up! Let’s get the whole gang together… 🙂 How about you guys? Did you do any fun projects over the weekend? Or any DIY disappointments like the panels were pre-pleats?   This post was featured on Tuesdays at Ten June!  I’m also linking up with Home Stories A to Z and A Bowl Full of Lemons.

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  • http://www.tenjuneblog.com Michelle @ Ten June

    Absolutely love that you added the pleats… you are right, the curtains look so much more polished with them! I’m going to have to remember that : ) Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.mrsbomb.com Helen

      Thank you so much! And thank you for featuring them on Tuesdays at Ten June! 🙂

  • http://cookinwiththejohnstons.com Leanne

    I love the pleats! I’ve made a lot of curtains like this and they are almost always floppy. I plan to go home tonight and add pleats to them all! 🙂

    • http://www.mrsbomb.com Helen

      That’s awesome! Will you let me know how they come out? I thought it made a huge difference and I’m curious if you think it works on yours too!

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  • http://www.viewalongtheway.com Kelly @ View Along the Way

    WOW. The way you hung those with the pleats just elevates them SO SO much. I NEVER would’ve thought they were drop cloth. Gorgeous!

    • http://www.mrsbomb.com Helen

      Oh my goodness! Thank you so much! I’m going to do more panels behind the headboard and I can’t wait to see how they look all together!

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  • Bek

    You are the bomb! These came out awesome! I’m inspired 🙂

    • http://www.mrsbomb.com Helen

      You’re silly! They were so easy! Adding the pleats took just a few minutes and that’s what made the difference 🙂

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