Our living room has five giant beautiful windows set in a curve. I love them. I love how much light they let in. However, I don't love that everything in my living room is fading because there is no way to block out that light. Also, watching TV or a movie during the day is pretty much impossible.
We need window coverings. If we owned this house, I would have scrounged together, and then forked over, zillions of dollars to have some really lovely long 40s/50s style tropical print curtains made. But - its a rental and we are not rich so I decided to cheap out and make something easy and inexpensive.
I let the Hubs pick out the fabric and its, well, a bit kooky to say the least. The fabric pattern is bright, the red flowers pick up the red of our area rug nicely, and its also totally clowny-circus. Marriage is about compromise: I can live with the loud fabric if he can live with my total half ass window covering design.
I started out by cutting panels that would fit perfectly inside each window with a little left at the top and bottom for hems. I used the rolled hem foot along the edges and made a 1" hem at the top and bottom. I left the edges of the top/bottom hem open. I slid a tension bar through each top hem and inserted the bar into the window frame.
At this point I realized that the fabric was way too heavy to use a simple tie back in the center. The canvas was very stiff and looked bunchy and weird when held back with a tie. I considered making the panels into roman shades, but all of the sites I checked online listed the roman shade hardware as about $30 per window. Yikes! I had to come up with something else.
There were just two long strips of the curtain fabric left so I had to get creative. My solution is totally weird, but it works. I folded each strip down the center and made a seam so that when unfolded the strips would be about 1" wide. Cutting the strips into equal lengths (and two strips per window) gave me ten 12" long pieces.
I stitched the open end of the strip on the shade at the top seam with the right sides together and then pressed them down. Buttons were sewn on so that when in the top button hole, the shades would completely overlap. I inserted dowel rods into the bottom hem to give the shades a bit more weight so they would hang straight down. I will need to sew some rod pockets on the back of each curtain and insert another dowel behind the buttons so that the folded panels don't wilt when they are buttoned up.
Let me tell you, after doing 40 button holes for these shades, I'm a lot less afraid of making button holes with my machine. I finally figured out how to use the button foot and it is the only thing that made it possible to make all those holes. Some are good and some are awful, but they are ALL so much better than the freehand button holes I've made in the past.
Button holes I no longer fear you! I can now make a shirtwaist dress, or anything from the pre-zipper era without trying to figure out how to fudge all those buttons. Hooray!
Its not the best solution ever, but at $5 dollars a panel its certainly was inexpensive and I think it looks okay. If ever we are visited by a circus clowns, they will surely feel right at home.