Thursday, 28 July 2011

My Crafty Life Part Four

Just before I slipped into my thirties we moved house. We had one baby, and plans for another one, so we looked for more space and found it in a pretty red brick semi with lots of little rooms and quirky touches. We had enough for the house, but nothing left over, at the beginning, so of course we started making things again.


These are the soft furnishings years. What I can't believe now is that, when I started making curtains, I had no sewing machine. I did it all by hand. It sounds daft now; but then it was soothing, calming work after a day of toddler taming. And every time I got tired, I went out and looked at the price of the ready mades; and then I went home and sewed some more.


Blue stars for a "space" bedroom, pink flowers for a girlie haven. Then, at last with a sewing machine from a magazine special offer, factory shop creamy linen for the kitchen and sage silk for best.

I kept going when we moved here to High in the Sky. Brown gingham downstairs, more linens, more silks higher up the house. Never, ever at full price, mind. I'm a frugal, factory shop loving girl when it comes to fabric. I used a book by Katrin Cargill to learn how to make the pelmet in the photograph for a small Small One who wanted a country look. Then  I challenged myself to make matching slipcovers for a little sofa. (I did a fake animal fur rug too - when I say "country" I guess I really mean "Little House in the Prairie").

 She must have liked it just fine, because a bigger Small One still has no plans to turn teenager and paint her room black. If she did, I'd be ready. I have some bargain, roll-end, black factory shop linen just waiting to be used. And all curtains wear out eventually, don't they? Let's just call this phase "on hold" while we look at where I'm at right now. But that's for tomorrow...

My Crafty Life - all this week

32 comments:

angelfish said...

Now that really was a labour of love. I don't think The Small One would want to swap what she has for black, but I'm guessing The Tall One no longer has the Space themed bedroom!

alexa said...

Nothing like lack of ready money to encourage inventiveness and develop skills! (Necessity being the mother of invention and creativity.:). You've clearly grown in both as your homes and family has increased too. Loving the colours on your page today: glowing ..

Lizzie said...

Gosh, hand-sewn curtains - that is dedication to the cause! (of course, it's also determination and maybe a touch of desperation too...) I admire you for making lovely things from almost nothing.
When I had my first house, I also made curtains - for the sitting room, there were terracotta ones, in a sort-of sateen-finish heavy fabric that I don't know the name of - the dining room ones were soft, sage-green velvet - the kitchen had a blue chintz-cotton roman blind, that I made myself from a magazine pattern. However, I was lucky enough to "inherit" my grandma's old Singer sewing machine, then my mum gave me hers - I still have that.
Love the pelmet photo - The Small One is a lucky girl. I hope she doesn't "go black", but maybe the black linen would come in handy for something else?

JO SOWERBY said...

wow handsew curtains, that is a work of love. i am awestruck by your talent. my mum taught me to sew but i never made curtains, i managed the odd roman blind though and i did make some covers for a second hand sofa i had bought. it didnt fit terribly well but i was so proud i had made it.
i never went through a black bedroom stage myself even though i wore black and even lil sis who was the devil teen apparently never had black bedroom stuff just all black clothes for herself. perhaps the not so small one will miss that idea completely and go for her own style of gorgeousness although she did mention chopping her hair off the other day?
jo xxx

Missus Wookie said...

I remember hand sewing curtains, quilts and cushion covers. But was happy to pick up curtains on Monday for the downstairs that didn't require any sewing on my part.

But yep don't like paying retail.

Annie xx TheFeltFairy said...

Fabulous Sian! See you tomorrow! x

Lisa said...

you sewed curtains by hand? oh my! now that must have been a labour of love! I had my curtain/soft furnishing making days in the late 80's (mostly to make bit of money) but it was hard enough with an industrial sewing machine! I am in awe!

of course, another lovely layout!

Abi said...

sewing curtains by hand! wow, that is commitment! My mum often sews our curtains and it totally make s a house knowing that it is hand crafted. xxx

Abi said...

would you mind if I did a post on your crafty life idea? I would love to share some old pictures. I would link back of course! Thanks for the inspiration! xxx

Alison said...

I too am impressed by the handsewn curtains!
Alison xx

Karen said...

Another one who is so impressed with the hand sewn curtains. Love this page, especially the little happy banner.

Amy said...

For all of my 'I can't sew' sort of talk ... guess what? I have made curtains, the sort you hang in your shared house when you are at Uni, NOT the sort you would either make a layout about or post on your blog about ... but, there you go, wonders will never cease!

Amanda said...

I went through a phase of making curtains too. I can't imagine how long it took you to make them by hand I hope you stood back and admired them for a looooonng time :)

Rhona said...

Oh my goodness Sian, I think you must be the only person I "know" who has made handmade curtains and I take my hat off to you. I was extremely lucky because I won a sewing machine in a magazine competition when I was in my final year at school. I certainly got plenty of use out of it and made all the soft furnishings and curtains for my first born's nursery and I think the second born's too. xx

Carmen said...

I've just read through all of these and thoroughly enjoyed them. Blimey I can't sew straight on a amachine so am in utter awe at you handsewing all those curtains. Wow!

Cheryl said...

i died when you said you used to sew curtains by hand! i made a couple of dresses by hand once, but I would never try my patience on curtains because I'm sure it would fail!

Maria Ontiveros said...

Here's my little confession - I've made or repaired a number of house objects with office supplies and craft supplies. My husband thought I was daft! I won't tell you the number of windows we've had in our life without curtains (because I don't sew) - LOL!
Rinda

debs14 said...

Handsewing curtains? What patience you must have! I've hand sewn headings in before but never the whole curtain, by the time I got to the hem I would be beyond anxious to have it finished! Can't wait for tomorrow's installment.

Melissa said...

I think making curtains is the best because you can truly create what you want instead of having to find something pre-made that looks like what you have in mind! That being said, I chose some great fabric for our bathroom window when we moved in our current home, shipped it off to my sister with the window dimensions, and now have the perfect look for that window! :>)

Ginger said...

Funny, I took a photo yesterday of my mom hemming my curtains yesterday, by hand! I think my first project will be curtains... whenever it is that I actually learn to sew (with my machine of course, I couldn't sew a straight line by hand).

Jennifer said...

Loved this story and the banner on the LO is lovely! You can save so much money by knowing how to make curtains!! The ones you showed are lovely. I am not a happy seamstress but remember taking out the sewing machine to create simple valances for my basement. The total cost was $3. I returned to our old house years after I left as it was up for sale again and having an open house. I was happy to see my valances still up! I totally agree with hand stitching being a very soothing activity. :)

Beverly said...

Love the layout and I am soooo impressed with your resourcefulness and skills!

Jo said...

Great layout, I'd love to make my own curtains but haven't got the courage

Scribble Monster said...

Another great post in the series Sian. Jen x

Sandra said...

What a wonderful layout, you've made me think about scrapping my own soft furnishing projects. I think the true beauty in your projects are how you bring the story to the front of it :)

Sandie said...

Hand sewn curtains - now that is dedication! I am loving these daily posts, they bring back so many memories for me too. Like my son's black bedroom phase, then lime green. An industrial look followed - wished I'd taken photos of these at the time. Sadly no record, just pictures in my mind.
Keep up the great posts.

Wanda said...

You must have strong creativity and patience genes! Curtains by hand?? Yikes! I've really been enjoying your posts this week. Not only were you crafty and creative for the projects themselves, but you're doing it all over again for the scrapbook pages.

Naomi Lewis said...

I simply love this layout ...

Clare said...

Another great memory - I loved making my own curtains in our first homes - and I was partial to a pelmet or two!

Gail said...

I'm blown away at the thought of you making curtains by hand. Talk about dedication! I don't think I could sew a straight line either by hand or by machine. Another great layout to go along with your story.

S said...

Sewing curtains by hand - now there is amazing patience and crafts[wo]manship too.

Jimjams said...

Hoping you no longer sew curtains by hand. I too had a curtain phase, but it was more of a Roman blind with blackout lining phase as the kids couldn't get to sleep early enough AND woke up far too early in the summer months!

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