Project Nursery: Sewing the Curtains, Part 1

I could oogle over those newborn photos from yesterday all day. ‘Preciousness’ in that last post is used in the verb form (the mom baby talk verb form), not as a noun – don’t worry, Liv’s nickname isn’t ‘Preciousness’. We call her much more exciting things like ‘monkey’, ‘squish’, ‘booger’ (why do parents get away with names like that?) and even ‘lovie’ (my favorite because it’s also a play on ‘Liv’).

But back to other adventures. And by Adventure I mean my perhaps comic encounter with the sewing machine this past week. Just to preface, I haven’t visited the old Singer since I was 14 (I keep relying on that excuse…).

Yes, those are broken needles. Just two of three that I snapped yesterday, actually.

I’m sewing curtains for Olivia’s room out of what I think will be the perfect fabric for the space (hence my taking on the massive project of cutting, pinning, infusing, lining and sewing my own drapes). It’s a coral/pink fabric that compliments the colors that already exist in the gender neutral room, and it’s a heavy enough weave that should hang nice and pleated (and with just a bit of lining) keep the bright sunlight at bay during nap time.

Because it’s been so long since I’ve threaded a bobbin, I asked my good friend Trish to come over for dinner and a sewing 101 lesson. I was hoping it would be like riding a bicycle (you never really forget…) but a little guidance was a must. We made two new throw pillows from leftover remnants (more on that later) and I was back in the proverbial saddle.

I’ve never sewn lined drapes before, but I figured if I was going to sew my own darn drapes I was going to do it right and do it well .

I followed Janell’s (from Isabella & Max Rooms) tutorial for lining drapes, she has included plenty of helpful photos and detailed descriptions to guide you though the process. If you’re embarking on a similar first time adventure, I highly recommend following along. But here is a shortened version of my overview as well.

Sewing Lined Curtain Panels

Materials: Curtain fabric, fabric lining, fusible interfacing, pins, iron + board, sewing machine, fabric rings

Step 1: Measure your window space and cut your fabric panels to the appropriate height and width, being careful to include enough fabric for your hems. I added an extra 4″ for a hem at the bottom of the curtains (to give it a bit of weight) and 4″ for a hem at the top (to hold the folds of the fabric as well as the rings to hang the fabric with). Because my fabric is a solid color, I didn’t have to take into account matching up patterns between the panels (you’ll want to make sure your fabric starts at the same pattern point on all panels).

A good width ratio is 2:1, or being sure that your fabric is twice the size of your window space (my curtains won’t be as wide because of the awkward size of the three windows in the nursery, but we’ll make it work.)

Step 2: I added a strip of fusible interfacing to the top curtain hem to help support the structure of the final curtains. I probably could have gotten away with skipping this step because my fabric is so sturdy, but I included it anyhow and I can see how this would be a must for most fabrics.

Interfacing is cut to the width of your fabric and at a 4″ length (or the length of my hem) and pinned into place. Pinning helps to ensure you’re interfacing stays lined up with your edges the entire time. Follow the directions on your particular fusible interfacing package, but I used the iron on the wool setting and applied the course end of the fusible fabric directly to my curtain fabric.

Step 3: Fold over your top hem (right over that interfacing) and re-pin, press the hem closed with your iron.

Now you have a very sturdy top hem!

Step 4: Start your side hems. Fold the fabric edges 2″ over at each side and press into place (it’s extremely helpful to press everything before sewing it!).

Then bring that newly pressed corner edge over to your machine and run a quick line of thread down to the edge of the hem. See that area under my hand? That’s the top hem we just created with the pressed fusible interfacing inside. I simply folded over the outside fabric to create the corner. You could also sew this step by hand instead of using your machine.

Step 5: Now we start inserting the lining. Your lining should be cut to fit the inside of your hemmed curtains + enough for a small hem for the lining. Confusing, no? Check out Janell’s diagram here.

Press the bottom of the lining to create your bottom hem (mine is 2″). Janell recommends sewing the entire bottom of the lining here as well to avoid having to do that when the lining is attached to the curtain.

Step 6: Now the top of the lining gets pinned into place just inside the curtain hems. Here you can see that when my lining is flipped back over, the pins will be underneath the lining and the hem will be invisible. Sew into place.

Let’s pause here. That’s a lot to take in!

Don’t get frustrated if you find yourself doing a lot of this:

Or this:

After all, that’s what happens when you do this:

And after banging my head against the wall I calmly returned to the machine, replaced the needle, and kept on going. Because I’m really proud of these curtains. And because I really can’t wait to see how they look when they’re up!

To be continued! (Oh, be sure head on over to Isabella & Max Rooms, what I cover in two sentences Janell patiently explains in several thorough posts. And it’s wonderful.)

If you’re catching up on Project Nursery, here’s a link to the fabric board, curtain fabric selection, rocking horse find, new pendant light, vintage wall art addition, changing table makeover, nursery wall striping tutorial, painted animal project, the initial inspiration board and the before picture posts.

Happy three day weekend!

Sweet Preciousness Wrapped Up in a Basket

Things have been crazy busy over here at the Spenla household.

But even with returning to work (thankfully my office is at home), caring for baby girl full time, more grandparents and great grandparents in town (no complaining here – love their help), spending three days down with the flu last week (again! and I got a flu shot this year), balancing the new San Diego Magazine articles, and keeping up with all of our remodel/home projects, I had to squeeze in adorable newborn photos before Liv was no longer pint size.

I ended up capturing these first precious moments with the help of Jennifer at Papaya Sky who caught most of Liv’s awake & alert moments while I later snapped up a couple of sweet-basket-baby-moments.

There were just too many to choose from so here’s a whole bunch of goodness…

This is one of my favorite Liv poses, she does it all the time while she’s sleeping or stretching:

Ahhh cuteness.

Now a bit more on these nakey pillow shots, because if there’s something thing trickier than getting a sleeping, naked baby atop a pillow, I’d like to know what it is. Lessons learned: #1 Babies do not like to be naked, especially while sleeping (brrrr), #2 Cool air + naked babies = more trips to the washing machine with blankets and pillows than I can count, #3 Liv doesn’t curl up, she actually prefers a legs-and-arms-fully-extended position while snoozing. BUT if you’re persistent (it took me three mornings of what Kev thought was pure baby torture) you can capture the moment.

Naked sleeping baby solution: Set up camera at perfect height on tripod, get Liv in her birthday suit prior to nap, wrap (but don’t pin) a cloth diaper around her bum, nurse until soundly asleep in the curled legs/lotus position, immediately transfer (while removing cloth diaper) to top of pillow and snap, snap, snap away! Totally worth it.

UPDATE: A reader suggested using a blow dryer during these shoots to help keep baby comfortable, a friend also mentioned that a space heater near the basket would have helped. Next time I’m definitely trying out both suggestions!

Of course it’s perty easy to hide a diaper in a soft & cozy blanket, too (without all of the mess), and this is another favorite photo:

Maybe even perhaps my favorite.

We put together a collection of images for Olivia’s birth announcements from Tiny Prints. I was so happy that I didn’t have to choose just one picture – they have plenty of options for 5 & 6 photos.

And the back of the card:

Oh sweet preciousness! I can’t wait to plaster these all over the house.

Two Style Boards: Wedding Ready & Work/Play

Ready for spring? Nothing announces the coming of spring like wedding invitations! I love getting a little dressed up and a wedding is the perfect occasion to pull out my favorite pumps and go shopping for a new cocktail dress.

We have a wedding next month and right now I’m leaning towards a blush/beige ensemble like this:

Wardrobe, Inspiration, Style Book, Trends, Look Book

This color palette is really complimentary to olive complexions such as mine and the layers make for easy wedding indoor/outdoor transitions. Now that my waist is slowly beginning to make an appearance, I’d love a beautiful cinched-waist dress and casual-ish belt (such a this braided version) to emphasize the return of the non-pregnant stomach. Pair that with suede pumps, gold jewelry and a long cardigan and this would be my perfect outfit!

When not in wedding mode, I tend to run around town in a work-meets-play get-up of dark trouser jeans, slightly dressed-up blouses and comfortable wedges or flats. Pair that with a military-inspired jacket and another slimming belt and I can go from home office to lunch meeting to errand running mom (eek – did I just say mom?) to cocktail hour and feel appropriately dressed for all of the above.

Oh I love this cascading ruffle blouse!

For source and pricing info (and more fun ideas), head on over to the Wardrobe Style Boards page. Happy Wednesday!

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