We needed new window covering for the kitchen. I’ve replaced the mini blinds 3 times in the last 6 years. I like mini blinds but they’ve fallen out of fashion. I can’t find the right sizes for my windows unless I special order them. Which I started to do, but DH asked for curtains. We’re an odd family. DH assumes total control and possession of the kitchen. This was really wonderful when I was working. I actually promised to help more when I retired. But beyond sweeping and mopping, I prefer to let him continue kitchen operations. So when he expressed a distinct preference including a grease cleaning argument, I decided to make curtains.
I found a fabulous duck print at Hancocks. I’m not sure the fiber content. I assumed it was cotton. It feels like cotton. But when I ironed, it resisted the steaming. I suspect it may actually be an outdoor fabric. But I don’t care. It handled beautifully and I love the print. to me it’s a combination of Jacobean, Oriental and modern flavors in bright colors and bold shapes. I’ll show it a little later. I like to share the fabric I’m using early in my post because it does affect how the sewing progresses.
Knowing that curtains are really a bunch of long hems, I decided to cover stitch. Unfortunately the hems vary in widths. 4″ at the top, 1″ at the sides and 3″ hems. The JHG makes hems up to 1-3/4″ wide. I could use the JHG for the side hems, but I’m going to have to use a different technique for the top and bottom. I read a terrific hint from LindaT made in the comments section of my August 7 post. Linda stated that to control the fabric during hemming, she stitched with water soluble thread in the bobbin. I have a huge cone of water-soluble thread. I use it for placement and stabilizing at the embroidery machine. I really go through the WST, seems like I purchase a cone from SewThankful every year or so. I have the cone and the thread is subject to humidity levels so I use it whenever possible. I like this new idea. I realized it would work perfectly with the varying hem widths and wanted to try it immediately. I loaded WST in both the bobbin and the needle and then prepressed my hems at the desired widths. Just to keep from confusing myself, I did all the side hems first, then the bottom hems and finally the top hems. That way I was doing all the 1″, then all the 3″ and finally all the 4″ hems instead of switching between widths. It’s not necessary. Each panel (I made 4) could be completely finished before starting the next. I like working this way because it helps minimize mistakes.
Before starting to stitch I offset my edges just slightly, about 1/16 of an inch
I offset at both ends hoping that the underside of the hem will never be visible from the front. It does mean that I need to ease slightly.
Long hems like this tend to slip and I finish with uneven edges. I have the even feed (walking foot) for my Designer Ruby but I hate to use it. I have to remove the shank and angle the foot; generally fool around to get it into position. I bought the foot and played with it for about an hour to become familiar before actual use. The first time I had a real use, I worked about 15 minutes trying to get the foot on the SM. Unsuccessful at installing the foot, I put it back in my tool box and chose something else. One of the things I really like about my SM is how easy it is to switch feet. I switch out feet more often than I did with any other machine. But man oh man, this walking foot is a pain in my tush. I chose to use the Rotary Even Feed foot which is actually a Janome foot but fits on my machine.
I love this foot. I call it “My Personal Sherman Tank”. I stripped the hole on the side which is used to add guides. But I rarely used the guides. I use it just like this, in place of a walking foot. I’m stitching along about 1/8″ along the selvage and completely ignoring the fringe. When the WST seam is finished, turn the fabric over and put it under the CS clear foot. I used the WST stitching as a guide at the CS (just like Linda).
Repeat for all 4 panels on all 4 sides of each panel. Finish with a spritz of water to dissolve the WST and a final pressing. Easy peasy.
I used the plastic groments…
… which are so popular these days. I’m using more red in my home decor. This house had red kitchen carpet. I don’t like carpet in the kitchen but I liked the red and continue to use it. The groments were ease to install. I wasn’t sure how far apart they should be. I placed one at each end and one in the center. Decided that wasn’t enough and placed two more on either side of center. Mine ended up being 5-1/4″ apart which I think is too close. Doesn’t really hurt anything except I didn’t have enough for all 4 panels. When we hung the curtains, only 3 panels went up.
Like every home dec project for an elderly house, this one took longer than expected. I waited until I could make the trip to Sioux Falls. I’m never 100% sure that what I see on the monitor is what I will recieve. Not necessarily the vendors fault, although there are times when they could give better descriptions. No sometimes I look through rose-colored glasses and see what I want to see. So I waited to start the project until I could go shopping and be sure I was purchasing the fabric that I wanted vs the fabric I envisioned. I also purchased the curtain rods at that time. Mini-blinds came down revealing that the window casing needed some work. Not extensive, but it needed cleaning, a little sanding and then a couple of coats of polyurethane. One spot still needs another coat but it will do until the first time I wash these curtains. DH was totally perplexed that he hung double curtain rods, but only one curtain. He looked surprised and disbelieving when I explained I did that for him. This time I want only one curtain. In the future I may want curtains with glass curtains or even Pricilla curtains which will require 2 rods. By hanging a double rod now, he only needs to install the rods once. He still doesn’t get it.
I did like this hemming technique. I probably won’t use the WST again with this type fabric. Usually, duck is very cooperative. The JHG would have done a brilliant job on duck if my hems had been between 5/8″ and 1-3/4″. But since I also had hems 3″ and 4″ I needed an alternative and chose to use the same method on all 4 sides. Using the WST would have been an excellent solution for the fabric used in my first binding project, the turquoise tank top. I think what is important here having a variety of techniques. An arsenal of solutions. So that when I have problems, I have several options. Oh and what’s really important here, is the finished gorgeous curtains.
You’ve got to see how beautiful the final result is. Please ignore the clutter and mess. Yes we really live like this. DH cleans the kitchen once a day. Whether it needs it or not.
It’s HIS kitchen and he loves it this way.
Whats In the CookBook
I made a page for this because it is a new to me hemming technique.
Page 13 . Hemming with WST