Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DIY - Vintage Sheet Shower Curtain with Guest Diana Still



Today I'm participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap! You'll find me posting over at My Weekly Goals about how to put on a "Family Spirit Week", and I'm excited to welcome Diana Still from Saving by Making here to Pocket Full of Whimsy!

From Diana:

I'm so excited to be posting today for Monique! Love her blog, love her photos, love her ideas. And I can't wait to see what she does with all those vintage sheets she picked up a few weeks ago. I'm jealous :)

And speaking of those vintage sheets, I'm going to share a super-easy shower curtain you can make from one. I've just discovered the world of vintage sheets, and I'm not sure if I really know when one is considered vintage or not! (I'd love to hear any tips you might have regarding that!)

But, whether technically vintage or not, there are some lovely pieces of fabric out there masquerading as bed sheets. For just a few dollars you can get enough fabric to make nearly anything your heart desires. Perfect for fabric-loving girls on a budget!

So this is my latest find. I have been waiting for just the perfect fabric to make a shower curtain for the garden tub in our master bathroom. If you don't put a curtain up, all the heat dissipates so fast that a luxurious bath lasts only about five minutes before it gets cold. Not fun.

We had temporarily put up one of the old ones inherited from somewhere when my husband was a bachelor--a geometric pattern of aqua blue stripes and triangles that made me cringe every time I saw it. (Well, it would have been fine in the right setting; in an otherwise green bathroom, it was an eyesore!)

And one day, at my favorite thrift store, I found it. The simple green flowers are refreshing, and I knew it wouldn't overpower the rest of the room. Love it!


I had made a quilted shower curtain before from vintage sheets, and I knew I didn't have time for all that work again, so I improvised. And this turned out to be one of the easiest sewing projects I've done in a while. The hardest part was the measuring, believe it or not!

What you'll need:



  • a vintage flat sheet (that way most of the hemming is already done for you)

  • coordinating thread

  • fabric shears

  • measuring tape

  • sewing machine

  • ability to do buttonholes on your sewing machine


Disclaimer: I am neither an interior decorator nor a photographer, so don't expect perfection! :)

Decide on your measurements.


Width: since I was making mine for a garden tub, I used the whole width of my queen-sized sheet (102 inches). You don't have to be perfectly precise, since shower curtains have some extra fabric in them, but you definitely don't want it to be too short. If in doubt, err on the side of a little too much.

Length: this was a little bit harder to judge. I tried to measure, but I ended up being off by about 8 inches, so I had to go hem it again. Mine ended up being 68 inches long. You may choose to adjust this length depending on the height you want your shower curtain bar to be.

Cut to desired width and length.


I recommend making do with the width of your sheet if you can. You'll save yourself a long hem down the sides (and if you hem one, you may have to hem both so they match). If it's just entirely too wide, do your best to match the stitch length on your machine to the length already on the sheet. That will give you the best chance of your new hem closely resembling the other one.

For the length, you'll probably have to cut a significant amount off. These pictures are from my second hemming--I forget how much I cut off the first time.

I stretched the sheet across my cardboard cutting board on the floor, and folded over the end so that it all fit on the board. It worked fine to cut it this way, and was much less hassle than trying to scoot the sheet along like I did last time :)


Subtract 2-3/8" from the total amount you need to remove, and that will leave you enough for a decent hem.

Cut off your new amount from the lower edge of the sheet--not the top edge with the wide hem. You'll want that part to put the buttonholes in.

Hem the lower edge.
Start by folding and ironing down 3/8" all along the edge you just cut. This will give your hem a nice, clean edge.


Then fold up and iron 2" all along the edge for a wide hem that will hang nicely. Pin this as you iron, so it's held in place ready for your sewing machine.


Choose your hem style.


Depending on the color, pattern, and weight of your fabric (and your personality), you may choose to stitch your hem normally, use a blind hem stitch, or stitch by hand.

I chose to use the blind hem stitch for 3 reasons:

1) It's so much faster than hemming by hand and I don't really like hemming by hand.

2) I'm not a complete perfectionist, so it won't bother me that the blind hem stitches show a teeny bit.

3) I didn't want a fully stitched hem because the pattern of my fabric is simple and I didn't want a green line running across it.

Sidenote: if you've never used the blind hem function before, I hope you'll try it and fall in love with it like I did! It's so useful for hemming pants--and when you're barely 5 feet tall, you need to hem every pair of pants you ever buy. :)

Hem the lower edge.


To set up for the blind hem, start with your fabric like this:



And then flip it back behind, like this:


You'll want the straight part of the stitch to go on the little flap sticking out, and the zig-zag stitches will overlap just barely onto the folded part of the fabric. Here's a diagram that might be helpful.


So now that you're all set up, take your fabric to the machine and sew the blind hem.

You’ll have change your stitch setting. My blind hem stitch is choice C—choose the one on your machine that looks closest to the black design.


I find it works well to set the stitch width on 3.5 (I have 5 settings) and keep the fold going right under the center line on my presser foot.


And eventually, you'll finish that long hem! It might look kind of funny at first.


But give it a good press and it'll flatten right out.




Gorgeous, fast hem!

Grab your calculator and figure out the buttonhole spacing.


[My apologies in advance for making your brain go into overdrive on this one! This is the easiest way I know how to explain it, though.]

Count how many rings you have for the shower curtain (most sets have 12, I think). Subtract two inches from your total curtain width (to let you inset the first and last holes), and divide that number by however many rings you have minus one.

(total width - 2 inches) / (# of shower curtain rings-1) = how much space goes between each buttonhole.

If and only if you are the type of person who needs to know why, keep reading this section. I'm going to get a bit technical. :)

For example, say your total width is 10 inches, and you have 4 rings.

(total width - 2 inches) / (# of shower curtain rings-1) = amount of space between

(10-2) / (4-1) =

8 / 3 = 2.66

So there will be about 2.66 inches between each ring in this example.

You can see in this diagram that if we add up all those numbers, we get 9.98 which is so close to 10 that it'll be fine. :)




End of math lesson. Hope you're not traumatized ;)

Make the buttonholes.


With a pin, mark your first buttonhole one inch in from the left edge of the shower curtain on the top end (not the end you just hemmed). Measure the length you just figured out, and mark the second buttonhole. Keep going all along, marking the buttonholes with pins. You should end up with your last buttonhole one inch from the other end of the curtain.

If you don't, adjust them a little so they do work out right. (And honestly, no one but you will know if one buttonhole is a little off.)

When you're happy with the spacing, sew one buttonhole at each pin. My machine does buttonholes so easily that this part was a breeze. I hope yours does too!


Hang your shower curtain!


And now your project is complete! (Well, it might need a good press. That's up to you.) Hang your new shower curtain in your bathroom, and revel in the marvelous change it makes.

What's your favourite thing to do with vintage sheets?

Mo:
Thanks so much for being a guest Diana, it's such a great use for vintage sheets!

Visit Life...Your Way to see all of the Ultimate Blog Swap participants!




1 comment:

  1. Super cute idea! I'll have to keep my eye out for some cute vintage sheets - my shower curtain could definitely use an update!

    ReplyDelete