Well it's been winter in New England, so I thought it was time to work on some projects that could be accomplished inside!
And that's where the "here be dragons" reference comes in! These drapes kicked my sorry self back to high school!
Let me preface this by saying I consider myself an accomplished seamstress. I've made wedding dresses, prom dresses, I've made dresses where my daughter has handed me a picture of an actress wearing a dress and asked me to copy it. I can smock, embroider.. you name it, sewing doesn't scare me, I've even done a houseful of drapes. ..... BUT I've never done a pleated drape, and trust me.... There be dragons.
My criteria for choosing a style of drape was as follows;
Pleats not gathers,
I wanted a clean, stream-lined look
Modern, not old fashioned (that ruled out your typical single and triple pleated drapes)
NO rings, as minimal a curtain rod as I could find.
And absolutely NO curtain tracks which I find truly hideous.
What I settled on was an inverse pleat like this:
I think I googled every curtain rod on the planet, I wanted to use a low profile wire system but very few of these exist, and they get lousy reviews about the ability to hold a heavy curtain without sagging.
After testing several alternatives I settled on these
They are made to handle artwork (ie heavy duty) and while typically used vertically, I didn't see any reason why they wouldn't work horizontally. Plus they had a tensioner built in so my drapes would be sag free.Cause sag free is important ya know!
I'm not going into the minutiae of my thought process( you really don't want to get into my mind like that, trust me !) but in order to get these drapes to work I had to figure out how to hang them without using curtain rings. In a typical pleat, the fabric is in front of the rod, in inverse pleats it's behind, so to make the drapes stay close to the wall I installed metal grommets in each pleat.
I used grommets with 1/2 inch holes on top, 1/4 inch holes on the bottom. The top ones needed to be larger in order to slip over the tensioner so the curtain can be pushed all the way to the sides.
I'd like to say at this point that I will forever associate these drapes with the 2016 presidential debates..... Also any mistakes I made are wholly attributed to me yelling at the TV when I should have been paying better attention to what I was doing!!
How the heck did I get this far without showing you the fabric!
Here it is.... It's Richloom Rave indoor/outdoor fabric in cherry. It's a nice weight with a linen like weave.
I ordered 15 yards and used every bit of it! This fabric that was already pre-lined, but not light blocking, so I added blackout lining.
Here's one big drape that I was starting to mark the pleats on.
After pleating and installing grommets!
There's a lot of math that goes into doing pleated drapes! I didn't have any trouble actually sewing them, but figuring out how many pleats would fit on each window and adjusting a few of the pleat depths to make them all the windows look the same was extremely tedious. There's ten pages of this!
Here's a picture of the curtain grommets on the wire curtain rod.
And here's some pictures of completed drapes.
One of the nice things about this style of drape is that it stacks back really compactly for maximum window area.
On the bottom I used clear elastic cord that attaches to command hooks on either end. This snugs the curtain up to the walls and when the curtains are open you can barely see the cord. Actually, you can barely see it in this picture too!
For the snaps at all four corners, I found snaps that look like bullet casings!
I also sewed some of those tiny magnets into the inner edges of the curtains, so when I close them they stay closed!
I was able to sandwich the magnets between the inner lining and the blackout.
I even did a snap on cover for the skylight!
The last step was to "train" the drapes with strips of paper. I stacked them all to one side to do this but the drapes actually open in the middle, and stack back on both sides.
I also made these duffel bags that get hung under the bed from safety cup hooks. The idea is to be able to pack them in the house and just bring out to Moonraker and clip them in. LOTS of storage space, and they'll double as laundry bags. They actually were kinda fun to do after the drapes! They are lined in vinyl and the bottom is vinyl too. Aqua of course!
Work will resume shortly on cabinets! We've decided to put our house on the market in a couple a weeks (time to downsize), so I've been busy to get the house ready to go. We've got lots of camping trips planned for this summe,r so I need to get back to work on them!
Oh, and we ordered two leather recliners for the front of Moonraker . We may not have running water or a stove, but between the beds and the recliners' we will be comfy!!