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July 07, 2009

How to Make Your Own Shower Curtains


See this bolt of fabric?  I bought it 3 years ago to make a shower curtain for the children's bathroom.  I'm the Queen of Procrastination.  It's one of my personality defects.  But today, I got off my tuff and decided to do something about it.  So, I set up my sewing table and pulled out my sewing machine and set up shop in our sunroom.


Then I do what all mother's with teenage daughter's do - I called her over to help.  Big Bear finished the drywall patch where the shower rod had pulled out of the wall and I thought this was a good opportunity to get down to making that shower curtain.  Sarah is great at measuring and that is the first thing you have to do - measure the height from the top of the shower to the floor.


And the width of the shower.


Make sure you have a pencil and paper handy to take notes.


Pull out all your goodies - bobbins, thread, scissors, pins, transparent rulers, rotary mats and rotary cutters.


Now that you're all ready to start making your curtain, you want to measure your fabric.  I had purchased a bolt of 60" fabric and purchased enough material to make 2 curtains for the same shower.  I measured for the length of the first curtain with additional fabric measurement for the hem and the seams.  Then I snipped the fabric with scissors where I needed to cut it and ripped it in half.  That was easy.


I don't like frayed edges, so I folded the fabric, placed it along a line and cut off 1/8 inch.  I did this on all the frayed edges so that I was working with fabric that had a nice, clean straight edge.


I have company.  "Hannah, you are such a cutie pie."


Next, you want to press your seams.  I never sew a seam that I have not prepared first by pressing it flat and pinning it in place.  Here, I am pressing up the side seams about 1/2 inch.  Pay no attention to the fact that I am wearing one of Big Bear's t-shirts around the house. That is just how I hang out sometimes. Comfortable is the only way I like to be, especially around the house.  


After you have pressed the first seam, go back to the start of that seam and fold it over one more time, pressing as you go along.  Be careful not to burn your fingers.


After you have pressed your side seams, you will want to straight-stitch along the outer edge, about 1/16 inch inside the fold.


I like a double-stitching.  It makes a nice clean edge.  So, I stitch 1/16 from the outer edge and the inner edge of the folds of the seam.


On the top edge, I have folded and pressed a 1/2 inch seam, then I am folding it again, but this time, I am measuring 5 inches.  


You don't have to have this much of a hem across the top, but you'll see what I am making shortly and you'll understand why I did it this way.  I am measuring the seam with my transparent ruler and pressing and placing pins in the fold for easier sewing.


Pressing really does make a difference when you are sewing.  Mine is always on and ready every step of the way.


Since I am going to be making button holes where the shower curtain hooks will be attached, I want the button holes to be stable and not tear over time.  I accomplish this by using some lightweight fusible stabilizer inside the upper hem just beneath where I am going to put the button holes.  I measured on my rotary mat and cut a 2 inch swath of the stabilizer.


Then I screwed up and pressed the stabilizer on the wrong end of the hem and had to rip it off and start over.  Then I pressed it on where it was supposed to be - near the fold closest to the top of the shower curtain.  See where I am pressing it on near where you can see where I pressed the 5 inch hem?  Once I have the stabilizer in place and fold the hem back over, the stabilizer will be just beneath the first 2 inches of the top of the curtain.


I forgot to take a picture of sewing the 5 inch hem in place, but you get the picture, right?  Now I want to measure for the button holes.  I measured the total width of this panel of the curtain, starting from about 1 - 2 inches inside both edges and 1 inch from the top edge of the curtain, then I divided that into 6 parts because this is only a half of a curtain panel and the entire curtain has 12 hooks.  Are you totally confused yet?

In my case, I placed a pin every 10.5 inches to make 6 button holes.


And that is exactly what I did.  I attached my button hole presser foot to my machine and I made 6 button holes right where I had marked them with the pins.  It is probably a good idea to do a few practice button holes on a scrap piece of fabric before you dive into making them on your project.  And yes, I did just that to make sure I was working the machine properly and wasn't screwing up.  I screw up a lot when I sew. That's why I have a seam ripper handy.  Very handy.


I wanted my shower curtain to have extra pleats, unlike the ones you buy in the store that are flat.  I like them to have body.  I like pretty things, and I like pleats in my shower curtains.  So, between each button hole I made a pleat and pinned them down.  Now you see why I had a 5 inch hem across the top of the curtain, I wanted to make the pleats.  I sewed them down on both sides of the pleat 1/16 inch from the edge of both sides.


Then I hung the shower curtain on my mother's shower rod and tested it out.  Lookin' good!  At this point, I have not hemmed the bottom of the curtain.  Instead, I measured to the floor while it was hanging from the rod and pinned it up.


Then I pressed a nice big hem along the bottom, pinned it into place and sewed it in place.


And, here is my finished panel.  This is just one of 2 panels that will make the shower curtain complete. Then I can tie them back on both sides like draperies if I want to make it look nice.  

Well, I hope you enjoyed this mini shower curtain tutorial.  That's what I did today while listening to the Michael Jackson memorial.  


Oh, and hangin' out with Hannah at my feet.


Happy Holidays

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