Friday, October 5, 2012

TUTORIAL Christmas Market Stall - Skirt (Curtains with curtain rings)



I love to make modern curtains with sewn on rings.  I also love to incorporate fabric wherever I can into my miniatures.  The obvious (and probably only) place to do this in this project was to make a skirt across the back to cover up the shop owners “junk storage”.  I usually use the d. Anne Ruff Pretty Pleat 1 to pleat the skirt then I also pin it to a pin board and steam it so the pleats aren’t so uniform (and unreal looking) as they can sometimes look with the pleater.  What I don’t have a photo of is how I measured, cut, hemmed and pleated my curtain sections.  

It’s real simple, though.  For the width I measured across the back of the stall and multiplied it by 2 for skirt fullness.  Then I added about 1/4th inch on both sides for a side hem.  For the height, I measured how tall it should hang allowing about a quarter inch drop for a rod and rings.  To this height I added ½ inch (for a quarter inch hem top and bottom).  I kept it as one long piece, ironed a hem on all 4 sides, pleated it in the pleater (using instructions that come with the pleater) then I cut it in half so it would split down the center of the storage area of the market stall.  After cutting it down the center I ironed the two front edge hems.  You can glue the hems lightly if your fabric isn’t the type that spots.  I didn’t glue mine. 

Now that the skirt has been pleated I sew on the rings.  THIS IS REALLY EASY BELIEVE IT OR NOT!  The reason it is easy is you just use one length of thread running through each pleat and ring.  The rings are not individually tacked on.  See the photos for how this is done.


Sewing the rings:  For the curtain rings, I just used jump rings that were less than ¼ inch wide.  First, knot the doubled thread and start through the TOP BACK of the skirt through the folded top hem about 1/8 inch down from the top.  Then sandwich a ring between the first two pleats, placing the ring at the BACK of the pleat.  Run the needle through next pleat, then add another ring, etc. 
 
Keep poking the needle through rings then pleats until you have 4 or 5 rings.  You might want to pull your thread all the way through by then as the rings and pleats are stacking up  (pull your thread to the back of the curtain, always keep your thread to the back).  Just keep doing the same thing all the way to the last pleat.

When done it should look something like the photo above.  You will have a ring sewn to the back side of every pleat at the top of the curtain (of course I'm holding it upside down above).  It may take some practice to keep the rings a uniform distance from the top edge of the fabric but the pinning & steaming step will somewhat make up for those differences.  When the rings are all on, BEFORE KNOTTING THE THREAD, adjust the width of the top hem by squeezing the rings together or stretching them out on the thread, according to how wide you want your finished curtain to be.  Then knot the thread at the back of the last outside pleat.

 
Thread rings onto your rod (I used 3/32 inch aluminum tubing found at the model section of Hobby Lobby) through all the rings leaving it long for now so you can pin the curtain in the next step.


Pinning and Steaming the pleats:  Use a pin board (piece of ceiling tile with graph paper on it covered by wax paper taped to the back with duct tape).  You will also need a steam iron (that doesn’t drip, set on “steam” setting), a few ball head sewing pins (preferably glass head) and, if you have them, those tiny thin bug pins (get size 0, size 000 bend when you use them) from laboratory supply stores.  The ‘bug pins’ prevent the pinholes from showing after pinning & steaming.  The graph paper under the wax paper will keep your curtains straight.

Secure your curtain rod on both outer ends of the curtain and in the middle (between the two curtains) with a few strong pins, keeping the rod aligned with the graph paper.  Pull at the bottom of an outer edge pleat and use a ‘bug pin’ to pin it in place straight down from the top ring (use graph paper to align). Try to keep the outer edges from spreading out like a fan.  After pinning the outer pleat, work toward the center pinning the bottom of the next pleat, through the folded hem, adjusting the pleats so they look natural.  Usually I remove and re-pin several times before I am happy. 
When all pleats look the way you want, steam them (pass over a few times pressing the steam shot button if you have one) and let them dry.  I sprayed mine with acrylic sealer to keep them from spreading out again after I hang them (since they won’t be glued to anything).

This is as far as I got.  I set my curtains aside to install them later after I get some of the other construction problems worked out.  I will figures out a method to mount them and Blog you later! (Update - see finished curtains in my Sept. blog here, last photo)

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