Tuesday, January 29, 2008

One flat sheet = one window dressing

Remember the John Deere bedding set we bought for my son? And remember that I said we don't use flat sheets on our beds? Well, I had two flat sheets with no usefulness to our family. So I decided to make curtains for my son's window.

Since my son has an entire town of Matchbox, Hot Wheels and Ertl vehicles that curtains dare not interfere with, I couldn't make them the standard length (to the baseboards). So I was able to do both panels and the valance with one flat sheet ... And it was easy!
If you can measure, iron and sew a straight line, you can do it, too. Please don't buy any "patterns" because all that's in the package is an instruction booklet with measurement guidelines. There are no patterns. You still have to do all the work. Let me help!
My son's window is a standard 36" wide. That makes it perfect to use the width of the sheet, so all I have to mess with is the rod pockets and hemming (except for one tiny detail on the panels - see below).
Unless your window is significantly larger than 40", or unless you want a very full curtain, a twin-size sheet should work fine as panels for your window. (If you want a valance, too, you might need another sheet since my panels were shorter than normal.) Otherwise, look into larger size sheets since the width is mostly what changes as you go up to a Full, Queen or King.
Before you start, you need to seam rip any stitching on the sheets where they have hemmed it.
The Valance
I wanted a valance with an 8-1/2" drop (strange measurement, I know, but I was trying to make one sheet last for the whole window).
To figure out how much length you need to cut, you take 1/2" for ironing under (so you don't see the cut edge and it doesn't unravel), 7" for the casing and 1" for the bottom hem.
8-1/2" (drop) + 1/2" + 7" + 1" = 17" cutting length
So I cut 17" off the length of the sheet.
Then I hemmed the bottom by ironing under 1/2", turning it under 1/2" again and sewing it.
Next, I ironed the top under 1/2", then another 3-1/2". I sewed the bottom of the casing as close as I could to the edge. Then I sewed 1" from the very top of the valance to make the header.
Voila! A valance in almost no time. That was easy, wasn't it?
The Panels
I sewed the panels in much the same way (using the remainder of the sheet's length) except I cut it down the middle lengthwise before doing anything else. This gave me two equal panels. Of course, I had to "hem" the cut edge, and I chose to do the minimum 1/4" hem (iron under 1/4", another 1/4" again, and sew).
The Tiebacks
I had the tiebacks from the previous curtains I had sewn for his room. They are simply ruffle trim from the yardage section of Wal-Mart. I think it was around $0.40 a yard, so it's hardly worth making your own unless you want it the exact same fabric as your curtains. I sewed the top down and made buttonholes in either end of each tieback. Easy!
And now I still have one flat sheet in case we ever move his bedroom and need to outfit another window.
Have you sewn your own curtains from sheets? Have you sewn anything else with sheets? (I've heard they're great for tablecloths!) If so, please post to your blog and leave a link here. I love to see what other people have done!


byrumnews said...

So I am going to be a little nosey - why don't you use top sheets. I had a freind that did the same with her kids, but I never got around to asking her why. I grew up with top sheets, so to me it seems a little unsual.

Sophia said...

I knew someone would ask! :) I don't use top sheets because my husband insists on sleeping with his feet out from under the covers (i.e. he pulls the flat sheet out as soon as he gets in bed). I decided early on in our marriage that I wasn't getting any warmth from that top sheet, so I wasn't going to all the bother of tucking it in every morning.

Also, both of my kids' beds are right against the wall and terribly difficult to "make" anyway.

So I guess my basic answer is that it just saves me a lot of time. All I have to do is straighten the comforters and stack the pillows on the beds every morning.