I love sewing curtains: straight lines and dramatic effect. Curtains were really the first thing that I learned to sew. My first curtain was not good. I didn't know that fabric could be straightened and the resulting drapery reflected my lack of knowledge!
After college, I happily taught third grade while a teacher took a year of maternity leave. When she decided to return (drat), I had to find a job. Alas, there were no teaching positions in my area. So, I applied to the home decorating fabric shop only a block from my house and in the same building where my fiance and later husband was working at the time! The manager was fabulous.
A former home economics teacher, she spent lots of time teaching me when business was slow... which was often. I learned a lot! First of all, I did learn the different ways of straightening fabric as well as calculating yardage, inserting a zipper, and sewing a mitered corner. In retrospect, there was an awful lot of down time!
She was very influential to keeping up my interest in sewing and my desire to learn more. Thank you, Joanne, wherever you are. Sadly, that shop closed a few years after I started working for my current employer, and while I do not want to work retail again, I am thrilled that I had the experiences working with interior decorators, seamstresses, and homeowners helping them find just the right fabrics for their projets.
While working at the fabric shop, I was introduced to the book, Singer: Sewing for the Home.
It is part of the Singer sewing reference library. While out of print, it seems pretty easily attainable from used booksellers, and I've seen this and other books in the libarary at garage sales and thrift shops. The fabrics are a bit dated, but of couse, that's not what you will be using anyway! This book has exceptional photographs of each step of a project's process. Being a visual learner, this is the closet thing that I have found to Joanne sewing it in front of me! I have a lot of sewing books, but this is always my go-to for curtains and home dec.
So, when my mother asked if I would sew a new valance to replace the one that came with the house, quite possibly from the same era as this book, I happily agreed. Curtains can change the whole look, style, and light of a room. I was delighted to be part of a transfomation... and then she asked if I would make Roman shades, and tab top curtains for her sliding door, and could I have it all done before Labor Day weekend? Um, sure, mom.
But I whipped out my copy of Sewing for the Home. And they were done with plenty of time to spare. It's an awkward room to photograph, but they're fabulous!
Her living room went from a dated pink and blue floral motif to a lovely "bourdeau." She ordered a new couch and recliner, but the truck they were on got hijacked! Seriously?!! So, the Country Life toile is sharing a room with pink and blue peonies for now, but if you keep your eyes on just the one side of the room, it's just lovely! This Waverly toile is the same fabric that I have in my bedroom, but mine is blue. It has a huge repeat, but between the curains, shades, and valance, I had just barely enough. Calculating for a repeat was one of those things that I learned at the fabric shop! I'm so glad that this fabric is fairly common as I will have lots of options for sewing accessories for the many years that she will enjoy these curtains.
I'm so excited about finishing up this project, and I do so love Singer: Sewing for the Home, that I'm going to give away one of my copies and save you a search at the thrift shop. I did it for you! If you would like it, leave a comment before Wednesday, September 14. If there is more than one comment (tee hee), I will randomly select a winner and announce a winner on Wednesday. I would be over the moon to know that someone afar was reading this blog. So I'll be happy to ship it anywhere. Good luck!