This week, I attempted to get reacquainted with this old gal.
It’s been a long time since we spent any time together.
A very, very long time.
I’ve mentioned before that my mother was a very talented seamstress and loved to sew but I didn’t get passed the sewing gene. I am more than capable of sewing if it is a necessity, but it’s not something I enjoy so I have always made it my mission to avoid it whenever possible. In past years, any time I could get my mom to sew for me, I would. However, since she passed away six years ago, if I need/want any sewing done now, I’m on my own.
A couple months ago, I saw a really simple tutorial for a faux Roman shade. It was so ingenious, I wanted to try it for my kitchen window so I bookmarked it. I won’t repeat the tutorial here. Just click the above link and scroll down to the middle of that post for the instructions.
Even with the 50% off sale Joann's Fabrics was having on the special order home decorating fabrics, the fabric I chose (P. Kaufmann Sea Breeze Patriot) was $19.99/yd. I wasn’t even sure I was going to like this faux Roman shade once I got it done so I only ordered a yard of material but that meant I wouldn’t have enough length to double the fabric over the top rod per the tutorial instructions. I planned to compensate for this by sewing a pocket to slip the top tension rod through.
Yes, I was actually going to SEW!
I dug out my (almost 40 year old) sewing machine. After dusting her off, I reviewed the owner’s manual to refresh my memory on how to fill the bobbin. Like riding a bike, it came right back to me.
I threaded her up, slipped my fabric under the presser foot, hit the foot pedal and……
She hummed a little but the needle wouldn’t move and upon closer inspection, all the parts seemed to be a bit rusted and bound up.
I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t sew. (Insert sarcastic tone.) The last time I can really remember using this sewing machine, my now 29-year-old daughter was in the fourth grade.
Yeah, I guess if you store a sewing machine in the backyard shed where it gets exposed to the intense heat and humidity of Florida’s summers for 20+ years, things are bound to be a bit rusty and bound up. The light bulb still worked after all these years though!
Plan B: Make this a no-sew project (like the tutorial) by using hem tape.
Unfortunately, that was a fail for me too as my fabric was a bit too heavy and nubby for the hem tape to hold well.
Plan C: Buy a new sewing machine. Ugh.
I actually have a couple other simple sewing projects I want to do in the coming weeks so I got on the Internet to check out some inexpensive, basic machines. I didn’t want or need a bunch of bells and whistles, just something to do some straight stitching.
Most of the machines I looked at under $100 didn’t get very good reviews. This machine did more than I would ever need but it had a very high number of positive ratings.
I decided to jump in the car and go to the nearest Walmart to see if they (hopefully) had it in the store. I didn’t want to order anything online. I was ready to do this Roman shade project now!
It must have REALLY been my lucky day. Not only did Walmart have it, but it was on sale for $109.00! A savings of almost FORTY-ONE DOLLARS!
Finally, I was off and running.
My kitchen window is small, only 36 inches by 36 inches, and I found that for my liking, too much of the light and view were obstructed by fabric when I inserted the tension rods into the window frame. (I tested this before I did any cutting or sewing.)
By using the cabinets on either side of the window to support the tension rods, I was able to raise the rod higher to give the illusion of a larger window and then only the top 1/3 of the window was covered. Although, after looking at these photos, I think the top rod could be raised even a bit more.
My fabric was wider than the width between the cabinets so I added 2 inches to that measurement so I could sew a one inch hem down each vertical side of the fabric. For the length, I used the whole yard of fabric and put a one inch hem in the bottom. As mentioned above, I sewed a pocket across the top for the top tension rod to slip through.
I was quite happy the way this turned out. It was easy and would have been quick…had I not had to stop to research sewing machines, run out to buy one, set it up and learn how to use it.
If I decide to ever make another faux Roman shade using this tension rod technique, I would probably do it this way again. The single length of fabric and the rod pocket worked fine, thus cutting the expense of fabric in half.