Sunday, December 25, 2016

Curtain raising

I guess that is a bit of a tease.  I am making 2 sets of curtains, so a total of 4 panels.  I am now 1/2 done with the first panel.  If I did nothing else over the next two or three days, I should be able to wrap this up, but I'll probably end up doing a few other things, including heading off to work and starting on an academic paper.  I think there still is a pretty good chance of being done with everything before New Year's Day is over.

I've learned a few lessons already.  1) The cutting is really hard to get right, and I should have been a bit more generous in leaving some extra on the sides.  I want each panel to be 15 1/2 inches wide, so I was aiming to cut 17 1/2 inches, but there are places the cut fabric is just over 16 inches!  Oops.  If I had lots of extra fabric, I would probably start over, but I really don't.*  I fussed around with it and sort of cheated on the margins, especially at the top where it won't matter.  I think at the top it is 15 1/4 inches wide and then sort of gradually widens.  I did get a fabric cutter (which is wicked sharp) and a cutting board, but I probably should have gotten the next size up given how the fabric slides a bit as you pull it down the board to cut the entire length.  Live and learn.

2) Pinning and really getting the edges straight is hard, especially given the length of the curtains.  They need to end up at 59 inches, but then you have to clean up the bottom and make an edge and also leave space for the rod to go through.  I think I cut the fabric to 63 inches.

3) The material is fairly heavy (63 inches' worth at any rate, so I may have to reinforce the curtain rod a bit and encourage my daughter to tie the curtains back rather than just pushing them open).  Fortunately, the sewing itself was really straight-forward.  I was kind of dreading having lots of bobbin problems (as I did with the other curtains), but none so far (knock on wood).

You can see the back where one side is still pinned and the other is sewn.

This is how the front will look.  I probably should have gotten a slightly darker shade of purple thread, but it isn't so bad.  I will have to be careful and rip out any really bad stitching though, since it will show up.

Unfortunately, at the end of the last project, the machine started squeaking, and it was a bit worse today.  I followed the advice of some bloggers and blew out the bobbin area with compressed air, but it hasn't made a difference.  I believe I can get some machine oil at a craft store that should be open tomorrow, and if that doesn't work, I can go to Home Depot as well.  I probably can keep going for a while, but I'd rather not risk damaging the machine (and the sound is kind of grating).  In the meantime, I'll try to cut out the rest of the panels.  I don't think I have enough pins to pin up all the edges on all the panels, though I can definitely get another batch of pins at the store.  The sewing itself takes just a fraction of the time of pinning.

I suspect that will be the case for some of these quilts that I am interested in trying.  The only saving grace is that I will be cutting out 4 and 6 inch strips, which are a bit easier to keep squared up than 17 or 18 inch panels, which are a bit too wide to handle easily.  (I have to admit, in my mind I'm already trying to think through dealing with what happens after the quilt tops are done, but really first things first -- let me get these curtains done and hung...)

* I will have some extra fabric at the end, but the length won't be there.  I'm not really sure this is suitable for quilting, since the texture is so different from everything else.  If it all works out, I might look into making a throw pillow, since I think the pattern is quite nice.

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