Saturday, June 15, 2013

DIY Shower Curtain

Even though I am still teaching summer school until the end of June, summer is upon me. I love being a teacher who has extra time in the summer. I have a mental list of all kinds of things I would like to do, but just cannot muster the energy to do during the school year. Yes, teaching (good teaching that is) is exhausting and by the end of the day I just want to relax. So, all year I come up with projects and I tackle them all in a whirlwind of activity during the summer.

My latest project for the tiny house is the shower curtain for the bathroom. Now I understand that most will just go buy a shower curtain and call it done, but I wanted something more custom. As I explained in my earlier post Interior Decorating, Are You Serious? I have a plan to keep the color pallet and pattern specific. I already use this pallet in my house, so I will be able to use most of the bedding and curtains I already have in the tiny house after modifying them to meet my needs/fit the new space.

A standard shower curtain is 72" x 72" (182.88 cm x 182.88 cm). In the tiny house my bathroom ceiling will be 6'7" and 72" worth of curtain in length is just too much. Sure, I could cut down a plastic one and call it done, but that is just not my style.

I had a small quantity of Waverly's Fairhaven Rose left over from when I sewed my granddaughter's nursery and  a large quantity of coordinating Waverly stripe that I originally bought to reupholster a chair before I changed my mind. I decided to marry the two together to make my new shower curtain.
Top Folded In Half

Update: For more basic, concise, and checklist-style instructions go to my DIY step-by-step instructions.

First I measured the top of the curtain. I based this on the amount of scrap I had in the floral. I doubled the thickness by folding the piece in half so that it is stronger. The top of the curtain takes the stress of hanging. The stripe I have almost has a canvas hand, so I wanted to be sure the top would match the bottom in strength and hand. The overall measurement was 17" x 74". Folded in half, it became 8.5" x 74". I ironed this and squared up the sides.

You Can Make Piping
Next, I cut a section of the stripe fabric that was 74" wide. Interior decorating fabric measures 54" salvage edge to salvage edge. This was the length I added to the floral for an over-all shower curtain length of 62.5 inches before seams and hems.

Finished Piping
Where the floral meets the stripe I wanted to add piping. Piping is easy to make and makes things such as this look more professionally made. I used dollar store laundry line as my "filler" because I refuse to pay the crazy prices fabric stores charge for basically the same thing. The stiffer laundry line works fine for upholstery and shower curtains. I folded a long strip of fabric (actually two lengths sewn together to span the entire width of the shower curtain) and stitched up against it using my zipper foot. Ta da! Instant custom piping at a fraction of the price.

I pinned the floral and stripe right sides together sandwiching the piping in between. I double checked after pinning a little that I had them all stacked properly by looking at it from the right side. Once I had the length pinned I again sewed the layers using the zipper foot to get as close to the piping as possible.

Zipper Foot Before Installing

One thing I think I should definitely add is to make sure that your press your project AFTER EACH STEP. This will make a much nicer finished product. So, press, press, press! Also, make sure to clip threads.

Once I pressed it, I went back and serged where the stripe, floral, and piping came together, allowing the cutters to remove excess fabric by running the piping up against the edge of the presser foot. This gave me a nice, neat closed seam. Then I serged all the exposed edges to finish them, but didn't allow the cutters to remove anymore material. This will finish the exposed parts to prevent raveling and to make it tidy for the next steps. If you don't own a serger, just trim the bulk where the three layers came together, then zig-zag all the edges.

Your curtain should now look like something like this from the back:


And look something like this from the front:


Press, Press, Press!

Next you are going to fold in the sides 1/4" and then again 1/2". Pin. Press. Now stitch to finish the sides. Take your time. Neatness counts.

Hem and Sides
Finally, fold up the bottom 1/2" and then 1.5" to form a bottom hem. Pin. Press and then sew with the blind hem stitch. If you are not certain how to do a blind hem, watch a tutorial by Professor PinCushion via Youtube. She does a great job explaining how to do it. It is also a good refresher in case you are rusty.  You can also hand sew the hem, but I think machine does the nicest job.

Press your curtain again. Almost finished!

Most shower hooks are sold in sets of one dozen. I actually bought mine off Ebay and it included 13 in the set. I am not sure why it did, but I am only using 11 on my curtain. These directions will be for 12. I folded the curtain in half and confirmed the measurement across the top by measuring the top and multiplying by two (remember, it is folded in half). Then I took 2" off that measurement and then divided the measurement by 10. I then marked the number I came up with across the top of the shower curtain. This process allowed for one hook to be 1" in from each side and then the remaining 10 hooks are spaced out evenly across the width of the curtain.

Button Hole
Here is where you have a choice. You can either use button holes or grommets to reinforce where each hook will pass through the curtain. I chose button holes because I want my bee hooks to be the focus without being distracted by a grommet behind it. If you have simple hooks, grommets will work and are quite easy. I marked 1.5" down from the top of the curtain as the starting place for my button holes and then made 1/2" button holes. You can see in the picture how small my button holes are.

Here is the finished product! Doesn't it look great? Now, I know it looks short, but remember, this is for my tiny house. Up against the galvanized stock tank tub, this is going to look fantastic!

Time to get rid of the blue towels!

I love the look of my bee hooks with the floral.