Wednesday, 29 August 2012

(Patch)Work It, Baby!


Visitors to our house go wild over my handmade curtains and I get inundated with emails from people offering to buy them off me.



Patchwork started as therapy when my Mum died two years ago and developed into a minor obsession, as you can see. If it doesn't move, I cover it!


Fancy making yourself some curtains like mine? It's not that scary, honest!

  
1. You'll need a mountain of old fabric. Anything will do from second-hand curtains, sheets, pillowcases, old tablecloths and tea towels to off-cuts from dressmaking projects and clapped-out clothing.



2. Using the lid of a shoe box as a template, mark the shape out in chalk on the wrong (unprinted) side of the fabric and cut out. You can do smaller pieces but I'm a slapdash seamstress and sewing up titchy squares would take me years and bore my pants off in the process.


3. Take down your existing curtain and lay the cut out pieces on top of it, making it a row wider and a row longer than the original to allow for when you sew up the pieces. Lay it out to check that you're not duplicating the same square too closely together.


4. When you're happy with the result pin each vertical strip together.


5.Clearly label each row so they're in the correct order when you connect them up.


6. Sew each strip together with the printed sides facing each other, allowing for a 3/4inch seam.

My 80 year old Sylph iron, works like a dream!

7. Iron each strip on the wrong side, snipping off any excess thread and flattening out the seams. Doing this will help you spot any areas that may need restitching. 

8. Sew each strip together width ways, with the printed sides facing, again allowing for a 3/4 inch seam allowance. Iron and snip off any excess fabric. 

9. Hem the bottom, top and sides of the curtains.

10. You can use old curtains or an old cotton sheet as lining (or, if you're a lazy trout like me, don't bother as the sun shining through the various fabric is a beautiful sight).  


11. Add curtain tape to the top (salvaged from an old pair), thread with curtain hooks, hang and enjoy. 

Miles funkier than your average window covering and if you're a vintage fabric whore hoarder like me then they're free to make, too!



I must go and pack for my festival (that's if I can squeeze anything in Gilbert, he's stuffed with more booze than your average off-licence).

Hopefully I'll see you before I go!

Updated to link to Lakota's Ta-Dah Tuesday.

76 comments:

Melanie said...

After my first quilting palaver, I am now balking at the idea of making another quilt so the idea of turning my blocks into nifty curtains like yours is tempting!

Lou said...

I've been trying for years to make a patchwork cushion but I've done tiny pieces, I get so bored with it! It'll take me another 2 years to finish for sure. Once I get my sewing machine up and running I'm up for making some curtains! x

Paula said...

Hey Vix!

I do adore your gorgeous patchwork curtains. I do have a pair I made myself a few years back that I want to remake as they went wrong then annoyed the hell out of me for ages! So must get my skates on and redo the for the autumn/winter. At the moment I have some curtains I made earlier this year in the dinningroom. Made out of an old sheet/duvet cover.

I really love your windows and love the shot with Gilbert parked up in the background. Mmmm filled with booze you say. I could do with some of that ! lol.

Happy festival packing.



P x

menopauselsupermodel said...

Your curtains are stunning and so "you"!!!

As a quilter I love the patching part--the actual quilting not so much!!

Can't wait to see your festival pix of you wowing the crowds!!

A Handmade Lifestyle said...

Patchwork curtains is actually my next project. First I am patchworking the wall behind my bed with all the wallpaper samples I have been helping myself to at DIY stores over the past few months and I finally have enough so it's a free wall as it cost nothing! Then patchwork curtains to go with it, can't wait xx

Krista said...

Well if this isn't eye candy overload I don't know what is! I can't wait to see these in real life. My favorite thing about them is how beautiful they look with the light behind them I can image how warm it makes a room feel. Your pillows are too cute as is that striped shirt you have on with your perfect smile.

I hope to see what you have packed for the festival. I checked the temps next week and it looks to be warming up. Talk soon sweetie!!!
XXOO
Krista

Joni said...

Fantastic curtains! And what a great way to save those favorite fabric pieces and be able to admire them all the while. Love those matching pillows too. Well, it's probably not possible for these things to match perfectly. It's like people. Each one is unique.
Can't wait to see your festival pictures. Don't forget to bring your camera into the "entertainment tent."

Melanie said...

Thanks for this fantastic how-to! Your first photo looks like your're living in a jewellery box, the effect of the curtains with the chandelier is stunning.

Rebecca said...

I have always liked the curtains when they've appeared on your blog but my Husband could never stand for all the mismatch... but I can just admire yours from afar instead. Hope you have a good time at the festival x

delia hornbook said...

Your gorgeous curtains i think was the first thing i commented on when i walked into your beautiful home ;-) There stunning. I am making a patchwork quilt by hand at the moment but i do love it i find it relaxing even though it takes for ever ;-) But my next project is def a pair of patchwork curtains from my vintage fabric stash to ;-)) Sod cutting them into fat quarters to sell im keeping them all ;-)) Greedy me. Have a great weekend the sun is supposed to come and play ;-)) dee xxx

Le Material Girl said...

I love that DIY post - shame I haven't used a sewing machine since my textiles class days at school!!!

Have fun at the festival - and email!
xo

tessbolton said...

Hi Vix,
I haven't commented beofre on your blog but have been reading it for over a year, including your older posts. I love your energy and enthusiasm for life and find all of that a bit infectious, happily so. I read in a linked blog that you sell on ebay and I'll love to find you on there. What's your ebay name?
I buy things from car boot sales and charity shops to sell on too but sadly we have NO jumble sales around here! It's a tragedy lol.
Keep up the great work/fun/blogging, you are a breath of fresh air :-)
Tess

pastcaring said...

As with all your projects, Vix, you make it look and sound SO easy! It might be slightly more of a faff if I try it... But I really want to try some sewing when the kids are back at school (procrastinating? Who, ME? Ha, I could be in the Olympic team for it!)
I love all your patchwork, it fits so well with your remake/reuse ethic, and the fact it's big and bold and not in the least bit twee makes it very you.
You look very pleased with yourself, as well you might! Hope there is a bit of space left in Gilbert for some festival finery! xxxxx

SabinePsynopsis said...

What a great obsession! I started patchwork curtains once, but never finished them... but one day! Happy festivalling! xoxo

makinggooduse said...

I think your patchwork curtains are flippin' fabulous and they look totally stunning. I've done some smaller patchwork projects before but nothing as big as curtains, but after your excellent tutorial I might just give it a bash myself.

Fashion Tales said...

Oh Vix, I love these, you know how I feel about fabrics! Adore the faces styled pieces, it reminded me of the remnant I just used for that clutch. Those curtains are very cool! Enjoy your week! xx

The Pugnacious Vegetarian said...

You are so talented! I love your patchwork :) Have a fantastic time and drink a cider for me :)

Sophie - Country girl said...

looks like patchworking is a bit simpler than I first thought and something I'd probably enjoy. I just need a load of material now.
LOVE all your patchworking goodness!

Veshoevius said...

Your place looks so cheerful with all the patchwork decor - I must say you must have the patience of a saint to do it though - it looks quite fiddly! Love the military red coat in the first pic!

Tanvi said...

Your creativity knows no bounds!

∞ © tanvii.com ∞

simplyvintage said...

I've been green with envy over your curtains for quite some time now, thanks so much for showing us how you make them, I can plan on tackling some for myself now. Linda xxx

Punk Glam Queen http://ideefixemon.blogspot.com said...

That first pic with the sun shining through and the chandelier sparkling is perfection, as are the pics with your glorious smile! I've been collecting vintage handkerchiefs for ages hoping to make some kind of patch work coverlet. Do you know how many of those things you need to make a decent sized cover? Too many! In my old shop I did something similar to what you do with big rectangles of different coloured crushed velvet. The effect was very witchy and got so many compliments (wonder what I did with those?) Not sure I could live with too much patchwork as I have too much of a love affair with colour and would rather a riot on my walls, although I do have one concession in the LR --a fantastic pair of vintage Picasso print drapes. The prints are all different prints of posters of various exhibitions so that may count! XXX Suzanne

Cami said...

I love your blog! I followed! I would love it if you could check out my blog and follow me? Thanks so much! http://camigmakeup4u2c.blogspot.com

xoxo
Cami

Love, Love, Love said...

I love your curtains, Vix, so thanks for the tutorial; a great way to recycle and create something funky and personal.
Enjoy the festival; we are off to VW Action ourselves this weekend, although we have to go in the car as Lexie is still broken; not quite the same amount of fun but c'est la vie!
Have a good one my dear xx

Love from Poppy said...

Fabulous I love a bit of patchwork!
Dx

travellingninjas3 said...

Love the curtains but OMG I'm so in love with your iron!!!

Ivy Black said...

Love 'em. A wondrous overload of colour and I adore seeing patchwork in action.
xxxxx

Forest City Fashionista said...

Your patchwork makes your home look so inviting and cozy! Actually the how-to makes it look easier than I thought it would be, but then some people are a whiz at DIY (You!) and some people are best at appreciating the things that other people make (Me!). Have a marvelous time at the festival - see you when you're back!

Trudie said...

They are gorgeous the first pic is just beautiful with the sun shining through the different fabrics.

Helga! said...

I love patchwork, but haven't done any in years! Denim is my fave for it,I love the contrast in shades,and it's so sturdy.Your curtains are to DIE fabulous,no wonder you get inundated with requests all the time!I'm waiting for you to make up a frock out of a length of patchwork......YEE!
Love Helga xxxXXXxxx

seƱora Allnut said...

I've enjoyed so much this tutorial, because I'm also a slapdash seamstress so I always prefer simple patterns and huge pieces to sew!, And using the lid of a shoe box as a template is a great idea!
besos & sewing

Alice said...

Truly fabulous and totally unique each time, nothing beats the joy of patchwork. Your curtains compliment your home perfectly Vix xxx

Rachael said...

I am rather jealous of your curtains - they look great. I like how you haven't backed them either, the way the light comes through them is great. Oh how I wish I could make myself some. Shame we're thinking of moving in the next few months [or whenever I get a job] and no doubt i'd start some and we'd move and the windows would be all different sizes. Certainly going on my to do list!

Gayle said...

I have always loved your patchwork curtains. So fun and unique. I too have patchwork curtains I made, and my squares are even bigger.
I win for being the lazier trout!!

Natasha said...

This is a fantastic tutorial, thanks Vix and no, I'd love to see it if you have the link? I hope you have a great time at the festival!

Sue said...

so glad you shared that patchwork story!! All looks fabulous. Agree with Helga, but I see a patchwork long skirt.

WendyB said...

My cat hasn't moved from this chair for 10 hours. Quick, come quilt him!

one denim bird said...

Your patchwork is sensational Vix, and you sure do have a collection of vintage fabrics on you! I can relate to the vintage fabric whore/hoarder thang - oh yes I can ;-)
LOVE IT!!!

Terri said...

I like the patchwork curtains...but I'm curious if your mother sewed or did patchwork.

thorne garnet said...

Yeah to sewing!Geez, I should gather up the small pieces around my shop and get cracking on some patchwork!

the gardener's cottage said...

your home is so brilliant vix. it is a perfect reflection of you! and how rare is that in the blogosphere! how would you and jon like to switch homes next summer? just think of the california sun! xo

Loulou said...

Yes indeed ... your curtains are wonderful. I have been jonesing to do some sewing and I think a new set of curtains might just be the thing. So envious you guys are on your way to another festival. Can't wait to see the pictures and hear the interesting tales!



Stacey said...

I love your patchwork obsession! Your patchwork creations are absolutely gorgeous - and I have a hankering to make some patchwork curtains now.

Misfits Vintage said...

Oh dear... you know that I DO have the fabrics ready to go... but after the sewing machine got jammed in reverse and refuses to come out, I gave up on my patchwork curtain project. I'M TERRIBLE, MURIEL!

Your curtains are amazing - you know how much I LOOOVE them. And YOU - all gorgeous and smily and stripy beautiful.

Have a wonderful festival, amor! (Sorry about the multiple skype disasters this week!) Love you more than patchwork! Sarah xxx

Please may I? said...

Like most I love your patchwork curtains. I've kept loads of Ashleigh's Disney tshirts, school shirts and other items with memories in order to turn it into a patchwork blanket for her. I'm glad you posted this as all others seem to show such tiny squares which has put me off. The thought of a shoe box sized squares makes it appeal a lot more!


Thanks for your offer of advice on the campervan I shall most definitely take you up on it. We haven't got a clue. Looking forward to getting ideas from vanfest but no van. I'd heard many horror stories too.

Enjoy your festival.

X x

Lisa G said...

Your house is lovely, it's so funky and individual!! The curtains look fab, if I ever get brave at sewing I'll have to have a crack at making some myself one day.

Which festival are you off to this time?

L xx

two squirrels said...

Oh Vix they are just fabulous, and I love that the light shines through. That makes them sparkle.
When we have a home that doesn't move again I so want to try patchwork.
You are so clever.
Hope the festival in Gilbert is really fun!!!!
Basil says hi to Gilbert!!!!!
Love v

edie pop said...

Hi Vix!!
Your house is amazing and your patchwork curtains give it a warm and fantastic atmosphere and a unique colourful light!I'm so glad that you did this lovely DIY post!I'm a big patchwork lover and to combine different colours and patterns is one of my favourite skills because I can't sew as well as you and I often use pieces from different dresses and put them together!
I need a new curtain, so I can try this now!
I love your antique iron so much!
Love xxxxx

Ulla-Marie Nilsson said...

Oh! I want to imitate that curtain.

CityScape Skybaby said...

That first picture is sooo beautiful Vix, it looks such a warm, inviting place to be. The great thing about your tutorial is you make it look do-able for a sewing dummy like me. I think I'm going to invest in a sewing machine first though, so I'd better get searching Gumtree. xx

pegge lee said...

Very nice fabric clothes thanks for sharing the blog.I wish you to post new updates regularly.

gotowe prace licencjackie

Kelly said...

This is fabulous Vix, you clever thing.
I love a bit of patchwork and always said once we get a camper it'll be patchworked up inside. :)
xx

Sarah said...

I will definitely be trying this out when I get my own place. Who needs shop bought curtains when you can have handmade ones! x

Penelope Cat said...

I've always admired your curtains, so thanks for the how-to. The way the light shines through them is incredible. I feel like I need to make something now! :)

Nikki x

Trees said...

These are awesome - I always love it when you post pictures of your home, its so amazing and I love these patchwork curtains, I really want to make a quilt - so thanks for the tutorial:D

Miss Tallulah Porkchop said...

AMAZING post. Keep your eye out, I am going to give it a try. :)

Joyatri said...

Those curtains, with the light streaming through, are positively psychedelic! Very fitting for your hippie palace for the queen of thrift.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who appreciates using an antique iron. I don't know how people use those flimsy plastic things nowadays :) I have a 1940s iron and a back-up 50s one for when the 40s one dies (although I've been using if for 30 years!)

Linda said...

I love your patch work style! sewing is great for the soul x

Clairejustine said...

Love these I need to get lots of old bits together now to try them :)

Rachel - Firebird said...

I love your patchwork curtains, I'm currently in the process of making the second pair for our house. The first pair are in our bedroom and waking up to the light coming through them is a joy.

Enjoy EOTR, we've got other friends heading there and I am mightily jealous of you all xx

SACRAMENTO said...

It looks easy once you tell me, but will it be???
Looking great.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Bonnie said...

Great DIY project Vix. I've always admired your patchwork curtains. I love the striped top you are wearing.

xo, Bonnie

Max of Max California ★ said...

I LOVE these So much! I really want my house to have a gypsy bohemian feel to it, but this house was built in the 90s and lacks character! I think some of these curtains will be a step into the right direction!

And now I'm thinking I should attempt to make a patchwork cover for the outside couch. And patchwork floor cushions... omg

Devil made in Heaven said...

wow your curtains are really cool. I like them. Maybe I am going to try to sew this winter. I would love to make my own stuff also.
xx

Miss Simmonds Says said...

I love those curtains!! The bigger patches are more effective too. eek, maybe I should have a go....

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

They are so fab, I'm always glad when they show up in your pictures. I'm doing a bit of patchwork at the moment, takes me a gazillion years as I do it all by hand though!
x

The Brunette said...

Fabulous, you are such a groovy chick x

Tami Jackson said...

I love your blog, and the curtains!!! I adore your style! Your fabulous, the inner me!!lol.
Xo Tami

Little Nell said...

I've always said I wouldn't do soft furnishings,especially curtains, as I would get bored with the tedium of it,but the patchwork idea is a new one on me. You'd certainly have a unique set/pair. Yoiur look lovely.

Fletcher said...

I am thinking here i get better ideas.

Cushion Cut Diamond

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Thank you for sharing your patchwork curtain secrets here:)). I've always wondered what measurements you used to make the uniform rectangular squares as I love your hanging works of art SO, SO much! Your style of patchwork is my favourite: semi-random fabrics and very colourful. I'm sure your mum would approve of how you chose to get through those very, very tough times. Big hugs to you my lovely xoxoxo

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

PS. The Stylist just spotted what I was ogling at and she's sitting here with me, mouth hanging open in wonder. That girl needs some patchwork in her life. xo

Sue W @ Living the Good Life said...

Ooohhhhhh how gorgeous are they! Awesome, you may have given me an idea for curtains for my newly decorated dressing room! (Sounds posh dunnit...dressing room! I'm so awfully awfully posh...innit)

Erica Louise said...

Magnificent, and so inspiring. Makes me want to whip up patchwork curtain right now!

concretenprimroses said...

Your patchwork curtains are lovely, and the shoe box is a brilliant size, kind of giant subway tile proportions.
However, if you don't line them and they are in a sunny window they probably will fade very quickly. You can get thin lining that lets the light through(I have some in my living room), don't use a sheet. This is one time when buying something new to protect all your work and beautiful fabric is worthwhile. I also recommend spraying them with a uv protector for fabric, front and back. Sorry to be a flat tire, its just that I've had favorite fabrics fade to my great disappointment!
Kathy

shabbyshe said...

Hi Vix
I love these beautiful curtains and your funky blog! I've been looking for simple, no fuss instructions for patchwork curtains and yours are spot on, thank you.
Love from another Vix at ShabbyShe.wordpress.com x