cutting, ripping and idying curtains

living roomliving room

I have a curtain problem: I want nice curtains but I can’t justify spending more than $10 a panel for a piece of fabric. This is why I painted the curtains in the kitchen and why I went to town on upcycling (I’m so tired of that word but I can’t think of another one: redoing? changing? manipulating?) three tab-topped pairs from IKEA. I’ve spent more time on these curtains than they were worth if I translated that time to an hourly rate and I’m still not sure that I like them. See for yourself.

Our living room, as of a few weeks ago. Notice the tension rods holding up some sad white Wilma curtains, $12.99 for a pair. I hated walking the dog past our apartment and looking at the tabs from outside. They were just messy. So I tried to sew down the tabs. That was a disaster. I studied them closely after my failed attempt and noticed a little pocket attaching the tabs to the body of the curtains: it was the perfect size for some thin rods I had also picked up at IKEA.

I used a seam ripper to pull off the stitches holding the pocket together. My neck hurt from looking down afterwards but it was worth it. No more tabs!

This should be fun #idye

Still not satisfied, I picked up a couple of packages of iDye while in LA and dyed the curtains in our apartment building’s washing machine. It couldn’t have been easier, minus the staining my hand received when I reached into the washer to agitate the fabric. Don’t make that mistake or you will have tinted cuticles for days. The color, to me, is much more blue than gray and this is probably due to the short washing cycle of our crappy shared machine. If I had a machine that allowed a longer wash/soak cycle I believe the color would have been richer.

living room

I don’t love them. I don’t hate them. They will do until the perfect set of affordable curtains come my way.

living room

Here are some questions for you.

1. Should they be hemmed?
2. Aren’t they more blue than gray?
3. Should I have mounted the rods on the inside of the window well to show off the woodwork?
4. Isn’t our coffee table too big for this living room?
5. What do you think of our new Kattrup rug?



16 responses to “cutting, ripping and idying curtains

  1. I really like the new curtains. With the light coming through the windows, the color looks subtle to me. I also think putting the rods inside the windows would be nice. I also like the idea of hanging curtains at the ceiling but since you already have the molding at the top, not sure how that would look. The table is nice, do you have issues getting around it? And would you go slimmer or round?

    • Thanks Laila. It is encouraging to hear someone likes them! I actually bought a new coffee table a few months ago– it is rectangular light colored wood with thin darker legs. I’m thinking of staging it there this afternoon to see how it looks. It’s been hanging out in my spare room taking up space for far too long. One of them has to go!

  2. I admire your tenacity and perfectionist home decorating tendencies- I think the curtains look fine as-is. They look gray on my computer. I love the color! (and the new rug, too!)

    • Thanks Van but I am far from a perfectionist! I am a just get it done kinda gal. ๐Ÿ™‚ You should see all the rips on the top of these curtains from my rapid pace!

  3. psst…you can get that idye at utrectch, i’m sure there’s a utretch art supply store in chicago. also west elm has a sale on curtains. i cleaned up.

  4. 1. Should they be hemmed? — yes, show off that wood — sometimes I hate curtains, but I hate people staring into my living space even more. I’ve used decorative paper (rice paper, tissue paper, etc) & glue (or tape) it to the lower window — privacy, stained glass effect, removable. There’s also removable/reusable translucent sheeting with various images available that serves similar purpose. More than once I’ve solved the undesirable view issue by sticking blue sky with clouds on the window —- permanent blue sky! (make sure doggy can see outside from somewhere though!)
    2. Arenโ€™t they more blue than gray? —- blue to me. nice (I have doubled up red wilma’s on one window now — have hated the tabs, duh! thanks.
    3. Should I have mounted the rods on the inside of the window well to show off the woodwork? —- yes
    4. Isnโ€™t our coffee table too big for this living room? yes
    5. What do you think of our new Kattrup rug? nice!

    I tend to buy yards of fabric & use those clip on rings to hang. Sometimes I sew a lining on, but usually just cheat & clip ‘lining’ to fabric. It’s not perfect, but I like to change them out every few months & this is a pretty easy way to do it. I can always make a skirt or dress out of the fabric in the end ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lovin’ the new place!

    • Thanks Sasha. Why are curtains so hard for me?! I’m going to the fabric store this week. Maybe I’ll get something new. I have a bunch of clips and could definitely go that route!

  5. You’re back!
    I like the curtains, color is good. I think if you dropped the rods to inside the windows, they’d have that nice floor skimming length, and show off the woodwork.
    Love the new rug. Didn’t think about the table being too big til you said it. Sometimes the small ones are just annoying. I like the repetition of the geometric: columns, table, console.

    • Yes! Hi Emily! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the thoughts. I like the idea of dropping them into the window well but would I have to use tension rods to do it? Hmmm. I need to go look up some hardware.

  6. Can I come over? Would love to read a book on the couch in this living room. Can’t tell from the pic if they coffee table is too big, but think the rug looks way more expensive than it is (I’ve been admiring it since the catalog dropped.) Curtains look lots better now than with the tabs, too. I vote to skip the hemming.

  7. pretty soft blue color, like it much more with the gorgeous woodwork, than the stark white, if it fades you can always re-dye

    are you bumping and bruising your legs as you walk past the coffee table? if yes, then it is too wide, maybe you can shift it an inch or 2 out of your usual walking path, (towards sofa, away from credenza?) instead of centering
    sharp corners on the open door of our dishwater are my nemisis

    the room has a cozy glow and the rug ties it together, I love the character of the old wood, crown moldings, posts, etc, blessings to the memory of the craftsmen who put it in and the people who preserved it

  8. ok don’t hate me but i think you should scrap the curtains altogether. your windows are gorgeous and i think u should inside mount roman shades or rollup blinds (not bamboo though bc it will clash) instead of curtains.

    • Yes! LOL, I do not hate you for that suggestion! I actually looked at some DIY roman shade tutes over the weekend. Definitely something to think about. Why do they have to be so pricey???

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