Wednesday, August 8, 2012

DIY: shower curtain

I never mentioned it but I first attempted this in my own bathroom. I used a double sheet and sewed in some buttonholes to attach it. The whole task seemed rather simple in my head but executing it took me a couple days and a few headaches. Not from the sewing itself, but from the calculating and measuring and figuring. It was all worth it, though, because, let me tell you, I've never had a fabric shower curtain. I've always had a plastic one, and you know what? The fabric makes all the difference!

My next mission was a curtain for Idle Husband's bathroom, so when I stumbled on this adorable Space Invaders sheet, it was like fate! Making a curtain the second time around was much easier than the first. I think I picked up a few tips that would help anyone sew up one of these bad boys and you, too, can spend at the very least 3 bucks (yes!) and an hour or two of time on a brand new shower curtain.

{one} Use a template! The first shower curtain I made out of a sheet, I used measurements to figure the length, width, and distance between buttonholes. I thought it would save me so much time but it ended up frustrating the hell out of me and made me do a whole lot of figuring and math (which I really don't like doing). So even if it pains you (and trust me, it pains all of us), remove your existing shower curtain or curtain liner and use it as a guide for your new one. Lay it out, lay the sheet on top of it and mark and copy everything.

{two} Use the hems you've got! If you play it smart, you should only have to hem two sides of your sheet --the sides you cut. If you're using a twin sheet, even better! As I discovered with the Space Invaders sheet (obviously a twin, duh!), you'll only have to hem the bottom as the width is just a touch too small to bother cutting.

{three} Practice making buttonholes on the actual fabric!  It's very important that you practice the stitches on some of the scrap fabric you get from hemming the sheet to size. Thread tension is really important for buttonholes otherwise, you get a lot of pulling and bunching and weird stitches. The only way to make sure it's 100% correct is to practice on the fabric you're actually going to use. My first curtain has a few wonky buttonholes because I used a different sheet material for practice (eh, I thought, all sheets are the same! NOPE). As it turned out, the tension was all wrong for the actual sheet material I used and I didn't realize it until after I'd screwed up a few stitches. The only real saving grace is the fact that the buttonholes aren't very noticeable once the curtain is hung up, so if they are a little crooked don't worry so much about it. And don't forget, it's not like these buttonholes are going to get the use that an actual button would give them, so you don't have to be too technical about getting the stitches spot on.

If this is your first time sewing buttonholes, you'll have to practice making them anyway, and do practice -- a lot! I would give you a tutorial for doing buttonholes, but every machine is different so it's best to look to your particular model to figure it out. Most machines should come with a buttonhole foot (an absolute must) and, hopefully, a manual which will tell you exactly how to do them. There are a lot of great tutorials on the internet if you need visual help, too.

{four} Don't cut out the buttonholes until you do a final check! Make sure you've hemmed it the right way (if your fabric has an up and down), make sure the buttonholes are evenly spaced, and make sure the buttonholes are on the right end of the fabric before sewing. It's a pain in the ass to take out all of your stitches if you've gotten it wrong but it's completely impossible to fix it once you've cut open the slits! I checked the sheet for hemming. Then I marked the buttonhole locations with a pin, which I then traced over with pencil, then I held it up and visually checked it again. Then I sewed the button stitches first, double checked them again, THEN I ripped out the middles. It's a lot of checking but better safe than sorry!

Anyway, the picture doesn't really do it justice, but the curtain is so adorable! It always makes me smile when I see it (the bathroom is just off the stairs so it's the first thing you see when you come up), it lends a brightness and uniqueness to the bathroom (where are you gonna find that curtain in the stores these days?), and the fabric cost me all of $3! Would it be overkill to have curtains for summer and winter? I feel like making more!


erika said...

This is such a great idea - I never would have thought of it. Thank you for sharing.

Jasmine Pahl said...

Very cool. Love the Space Invaders print!