DIY Drop Cloth Curtains

4 years ago

I was pleased with the turn out of one of my home projects so I thought I`d share. I decided to create some drop cloth curtains. This is nothing new, especially in the DIY home makeover blog circles. Every blogger I had seen do this had beautiful results and it is so cheap! To purchase this amount of fabric (especially in a length that would go from ceiling to floor) would cost you significantly more than it does if you use drop cloths. I mentioned to my mother in law, as well as my own parents, that I was going to create curtains from a drop cloth and I`m fairly certain I got some unusual looks (the conversations were over the phone). If I remember correctly, I bought the larger sized drop cloth (9 ft x 12 ft). It comes in two panels sewn together. My plans were to rip the seam and use each panel to cover one window. They were large enough to do this and I like the look of one over-sized panel pulled to one side. <--if you have two windows in a room. One single window might look odd. But, two windows, each with the curtain pulled to the farthest outside edge, I think looks nice. Well, I didn`t anticipate just how much these would shrink. I assumed I`d lose a few inches, but holy moly! I`ll get to that in a minute.... So, I separated the two panels. A good thing about drop cloths is they already come with the edges finished. I took the panels and put them through a bleaching process. I didn`t hate the color they come naturally, but the beige was a bit too dusty and just didn`t look right with the coloring of the rest of my home furnishings. They ended up in 2 bleach baths. The first time I used 2 cups of bleach to a full washing machine filled with hot water. I let the washing machine agitate for about 2 minutes just to make sure the bleach was fully mixed in. Then, I turned it off and let it sit for about 4 - 4.5 hours. Then, I completed the wash cycle. I thought this might be enough, but upon drying, they were still a bit dark. Soooo, I did the whole bleach process again. However, the second time I used 2.5 cups of bleach and let it sit for about 7 hours. yup! I was happy with the color after that. So, I went ahead and washed with detergent and then dried them in my machine. I should have air dried them to prevent the amount of shrinkage, but I honestly didn`t think I`d lose as much as I did. It shrunk down in width only to just over half its original size. WHAAAAAT?! Somewhere in my stubborn mind I figured I could still use one panel per window, but cut it in half to create 2 smaller panels (yes, don`t bother trying to follow the logic... it isn`t there. You`d think I`d realize if I already lost width, it makes zero sense cutting that shortened panel in half again.... ) So... now I had four panels from one drop cloth. I stitched up all the raw edges, created the casing for the pole at the top and then it hit me that cutting each panel in half wasn`t so brilliant. I tested two panels on a window and it looked far too stretched. There was no ruffling, which looked tacky. Soooo, I used all four panels on one window. That doesn`t bother me so much because we`ve always used four store bought panels for larger windows to create extra ruffling. What you see on the window is the four panels all together. I had a TON of length left, which I knew I`d have to cut away, but I didn`t want to do that until I drilled up my curtain pole and could visually see how much needed to come off. I sat on the floor pinning where I wanted to hem. At this point, I pulled the curtains back down and stitched up the hem. Voila! I chose to have these curtains start almost at the ceiling and come down just at the point of touching our baseboards. Well, I chose the ceiling and my husband chose the baseboard. I wanted them to almost touch the floor but my husband thought that would look strange visually cutting off a section of baseboard. He was unsure of hanging them so high. Sooo, compromise! I prefer the look of curtains hung high. It makes your ceilings look higher and I think there is something more elegant about it. So, that`s it. My drop cloth curtains that I`m very pleased with. I don`t think anyone would ever guess they were made from drop cloths, had I not mentioned it. They look like expensive linen fabric. They`re nice and thick, durable, let in lovely glowy light, yet offer complete privacy (if you don`t have blinds behind them...which I do have.) The only thing I would currently do to them is iron them a bit. You won`t ever get all of the wrinkling out of them, that is just the nature of the fabric, but it would reduce some of them that I see. I`m not too bothered by it, though, because they have a sort of rustic elegance about them that I quite enjoy. I think I just might redo all of my curtains like this! *side note: These didn`t end up in the original room I had planned on. When the shrinkage and the needless panel cutting started, it forced me to take them to a room with one window. I`m going back to my original plan for the original set of windows...but now that I know the fabric is temperamental and prone to extreme shrinkage, I`ll be better prepared. :-) These now live in my dining room. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- UPDATE!!!!!!!! So, I have finished the curtains. I now have my dining room and living room done with the drop cloth curtains. Though I have multiple windows, I`ll just show you one from each. This is the original window from the beginning of this project. (dining room) In the day, I pull the curtains to either side (2 panels to each tie). I fussed a lot with what I was going to use to tie back the panels. I started by cutting and sewing strips from the scrap fabric but I didn`t care for the look. Even though they are drop cloth, they have ruffles! They need something lovely. I had some white lace ribbon in my craft stuff so I cut strips, heat sealed the ends, and voila! Dainty, but simple, ties. I was able to still do the single panel for the living room like I wanted. However, instead of pulling it completely to one side and letting it just hang straight down, I went with a draped tie. I felt that this would mesh with the look of the curtains in the dining room. Though tied in a different fashion, it is still tied with the same fabric, the curtain is the same fabric, and the point at which it is tied is high up like in the dining room. I`m sitting here looking at the photos, and it really does them no justice. In person they look so nice. They have a laid back feel yet have an air of grace and personality. Yes, I know...they`re just curtains. Whatever, I love `em!
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