Saturday, 2 May 2015


I was asked the other day if I could make curtains, which, I thought at the time, was rather strange, as I've been making curtains since I was knee-high to a grasshopper (well maybe not quite that long, but at least 47 years, anyway). But, of course, I realized that I just made curtains and then hung them up and didn't really bother mentioning to anyone that I'd made them unless they asked.

So, I went round the house and photographed all the curtains that we currently have that I've made myself.

Firstly in our bedroom, we have these, which I made last year specifically for this room where we have two windows at the front of the house which face roughly towards the northwest. They are lined with darkroom thickness linings so that we'll be able, in our dotage, to take afternoon naps in the semi-dark. I bought the fabric from Shamrock linens in Devizes, which features again later in this post.

In the guest room we have this pair, which were originally made for GM's office in our Surrey house - they must be at least 12 years old, are still in pretty good condition, and fit this window perfectly.

The oldest curtains currently in use here are those in my studio. I made these for the front bedroom (first our room, then GO's) in the Surrey house way back in about 1993 or 94. For reasons I cant remember now they are an asymmetrical pair, one curtain being one fabric width and the other being two fabric widths wide, and oddly enough that makes them a perfect fit for the pole in the studio, which has a support bracket at roughly 1/3 the way along the length (dont ask me why, I've no idea!) Being over twenty years old they are now a bit faded, but not as badly as they might have been had I not lined them with brown corduroy at the time.

Another curtain that I made for the Surrey house is now in our little bedroom, I made it originally for the window at the bottom of the stairs, next to the front door, in about 2007, after decorating the hall ready to put the house on the market. Quite a narrow window, so a single curtain was enough, the fabric was from John Lewis in Kingston, and as the curtain didn't fit any of the windows in the Devizes house it is still in relatively new condition and will do for the time being in the little room, until we decorate.

Earlier in the post I mentioned Shamrock Linens in Devizes. When we were fairly new to the town I bought an end of roll, I think I got fifteen metres of fabric for about half price, so I'm guessing (because, sadly I can't remember) it cost me about £50. I made a double sided curtain for our wide front door, which also fits our current front door perfectly,

and the rest fabric didn't get used while we lived there until we were in the throes of buying this house when I realized that I had enough fabric and that it was the exact right colour for our TV room. These curtains were made up in a bit of a hurry, and really need to be taken down and finished off properly - the lining needs to be properly stitched on for a start - I had machined it but as the fabrics were different weights it puckered up so I opened up the seams and it now just hangs in position! One of Cassie's favourite places to sit, in the afternoons when the sun gets round, is on this windowsill, so the lining is always covered in cat's hairs.

The curtains currently in our front room were yet again made for the Surrey house, for GT's room when he went through a bright red/yellow/orange combination of decoration for his room. They aren't the ideal curtains for their current location, but they'll do for the time being - this room is quite a long way down the list of rooms to decorate, as it's not one we use very much, more of a dumping ground at the moment.

Finally another Shamrock Linens purchase, our dining room curtains made specifically for this room, when we decorated it over winter 2012/13. As they are in front of the sliding doors into the conservatory and are for visual purposes only (so we don't have to look at a big black hole over the winter months) and not for any form of heat preservation, they were very simple to make as they aren't lined at all.

This is just a small selection of all the curtains I've made over the years, but it's certainly made me think that I might not be too bad at curtain making.


Sue in Suffolk said...

and I bet they are better made than some of the ready-made ones. I bought a pair from Co-op a few years back and all the tape came unstitched as soon as they were hung up.
I used to amke curtains when we first married and there were fabric shops in the town, now it's difficult to buy curtain fabric anywhere in Suffolk.

Attila said...

I have the same problem with cat hairs! Our old boy used to imperiously swipe the curtains out of the way and jump onto the sill, so all our curtains and nets had claw marks and puckers on one side. Present boy burrows his sharp little face between the curtain and wall, so we get a greasy mark on both! I have made all our curtains too, but I'm now too decrepit to do it (no table big enough and crawling round on the floor is now impossible, as I found out yesterday, trying to level a wonky hem). So I have given in and ordered some new ones via internet and will try not to grip to much about the sewing! I have Harrods tastes and charity shop pockets.

Ellie Foster said...

Dear Joy
Impressive work! I'm not convinced that curtains are easy to make, but yours are great!
Best wishes