Back when I was still pregnant and starting to put together Emma’s room, I decided to make curtains. But much like the crib skirt that I started in July and didn’t finish until October, I started the curtains in July and didn’t finish until…last week. Yep, that’s 13 months to make 4 curtains, which seems ridiculous and I admit that it really is. But the full story is more complicated. See, I planned this project pretty thoroughly — I measured the windows and ceiling height, decided how much hem allowance to include, decided how to split the two-tone panels, and put all the numbers together to determine exactly how much fabric I needed. But I also wanted to keep things reasonably priced and that’s what turned out to be my major mistake…
The bottom line is that I went too cheap on fabric! The solid green fabric was cheap and therefore very thin — it puckered along every seam, and I never figured out a way to stop that from happening. In addition, I didn’t buy enough fabric — in my efforts to save money by minimizing the yardage needed for this project, I decided to make two curtains from a single piece off the bolt. In other words, the original fabric is 44 inches wide, so I decided to make two 20-inch wide from a single length. I could make 4 curtains from only 2 length of fabric which sounded great! But the thing about curtains is you generally want them to look nice and full. And with a piddly 20-inch width, it’s really hard to make that curtain bunch together and look full.
I made the first curtain back in the fall at the same time I was finishing the crib skirt, and was so disappointed in how it turned out that I never finished the other 3 panels. The lighter blue/green dotted fabric at the top (and that I used for the crib skirt) was great — it was a nice quilting cotton that had a little more weight to it and therefore both looks nicer and was easier to sew. The green solid was just toooo flimsy and cheap. For several months, Emma’s room had that single little curtain hanging from the rods. Sad. So last week I finally decided that since I still had the fabric and it had already been cut to size, I might as well finish. Four curtains, even if they’re kind of crappy, are still happier than just one.
So voila. Now you know the story of my sad, sad curtains. Sewing-wise this is a super easy project — but make sure you consider your fabric choice carefully!
One of the many (MANY) craft projects that’s been on my list for a while was some kind of cute door decoration for Emma’s room. This was pretty low priority and I wasn’t sure it would ever happen, but it turns out that Joann’s is running a contest via Facebook called “Create with 8″ that challenges people to make something using 8 materials from a list of about 20 different items. Winners get a $250 gift card, which turned out to be just enough motivation for me to finally knock a door decoration off my list! Who knows if I’ll actually see anything, but either way, I get to enjoy my creation.
Since the whole idea was to use 8 materials from the list, I picked the 8 materials I thought would work best for what I had in mind (styrofoam, yarn, felt, buttons, scrapbook paper, ribbon, paint, and a wooden letter) and roamed the aisles at Joann’s with a general blue/green color scheme in mind. When I got home (I did this a couple Fridays ago when I had taken the day off work), I just pulled everything out of the bag and made the rest up as I went along.
I cut out the interior of a styrofoam disk to make a ring, then wrapped the ring in yarn. The yarn was just one skein that varied in color from white to yellow to green to blue — but when I started wrapping, I was surprised to see that it ended up making stripes around the outside. It was a neat and totally unintended effect.
The white background is a piece of felt, and I sewed a ring of buttons around the edge. I painted a wooden letter E, then backed it with two different sheets of scrapbook paper. After that, I just added a piece of ribbon and it was ready to hang on Emma’s door!
I went into labor with Emma on a Sunday — the exact Sunday, in fact, that I had planned on finishing up a couple projects for her nursery. I cut the fabric and made the bias tape for a crib skirt at the end of July. I finally sewed it together in October. And yes, I’m finally blogging about it in December!
I found several good tutorials for making crib skirts, and chose to go with a pretty simple technique. Instead of making a full, four-sided skirt with a swath of unseen fabric in the middle that sits under the mattress, I “cheated.” My “crib skirt” is really three separate pieces — one for the front and one for each side. I didn’t make anything for the back, since the crib sits against the wall and you wouldn’t see it anyway.
Each piece is attached with a combination of sew-in and self-adhesive velcro. The loop side of pieces of sew-in velcro is sewn to the fabric, while the hook side of pieces of the self-adhesive stuff is stuck to the crib. For the front, the hook pieces are stuck to the metal mattress springs and on the sides, the pieces are stuck to the wood. Since it’s on the inside where you’ll never see it, I wasn’t worried about leaving sticky residue on the wood.
Side and front panels
But the best part of making panels instead of a more “traditional way” crib skirt is that this one can be easily adjusted when we have to lower the crib mattress in the future! For the front panel, instead of having to re-hem the whole panel, I can just relocate the velcro so that more of the fabric is tucked under the mattress. The side panels can stay right where they are, since they’re attached to the crib frame itself. Clever!
I also taught myself how to make an inverted box pleat to add a little detail. There are two pleats on the front panel and one on each side panel. This technique was really easy — the most challenging part is just making sure to measure correctly. I made 2-inch pleats, which means adding 8 inches of fabric to whatever the desired finished length is.
Ta da! Even though it took me 6 months to finish this project, the true time spent was only a few hours. I loved the way it turned out and it makes Emma’s crib look so much cuter.