Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vertical Blinds Alternative

I have a design dilemma. I have a bay window with a sliding glass door that leads to my back yard. When I moved in it was dressed with VERTICAL BLINDS. Yuk! I told my husband when we were house hunting that those would be the first thing to go. Well, that was three years ago and they are STILL THERE! Why didn't I get rid of them right away? Well, it was a little more complicated then I imagined.

Because I was dealing with a bay window, I couldn't hang regular drapes over the door without addressing the windows that flank it. I had to consider the bay as a whole and I ended up placing two panels of curtains flanking the bay itself. I was able to hang them about a foot above the actual window which added much needed height to that side of the room. I felt it was the best solution for the bay itself, but I still needed to cover the door for privacy reasons. Whatever I put in its place had to be fully and easily functional. Those doors are the only exit to the backyard and are used daily. Ideally I would have just used blinds or shutters but they just don't work with a sliding door. I even considered making my husband rip the whole thing out and put in a pair of french doors, but that was cost prohibitive. So the vertical blinds stayed and I just lived with them because they were functional.

Well, my kids forced my hand. The other day they thought it would be fun to pull EVERY SINGLE vertical slat down and broke at least half! I had two choices, buy more vertical blinds (which I couldn't bring myself to do) or finally come up with a good solution. Well, they say necessity is the mother of all invention and it hit me.

(sorry about the picture quality. I wanted to get a "before" image but it was the worse lighting imaginable. As you can see, the blinds were looking pretty sorry)

Here's what I decided. White sheers were going in its place. White because I wanted them to relate to the other blinds in the bay and sheer so that I could have some light filtering through. The fabric was actually very tricky. I wanted something that allowed some light but they needed to still provide privacy so they couldn't be too sheer. I also had to consider texture. I didn't want it to end up looking like a sheet! I found a nice, white gauzy fabric (it also happen to be on sale for $2 a yard!) and I was set.

* Please note: I am a very beginner seamstress and a very lazy one. I only measure when absolutely necessary and will cut every corner possible. If I can do this, ANYONE can do this!

Here's what you do. Measure the height and width of your door. Mine was seven feet high by five feet wide. You need to add extra width to give it some fullness so I added an extra three feet. (Remember to add a couple of extra inches for seam allowances) My fabric was four feet wide so I was going to have to piece two panels together. I placed the right sides together and did a simple zigzag stitch and then trimmed my fabric as close to the seam as possible. (Yes, I have a raw edge but it made the seam the least noticeable.) Then sew a simple hem on the two sides and the bottom. In order to hang my panel to the blind clips, I was going to add rings to the top. To reinforce where the rings would go I folded the top down about a inch and hemmed. (A) This made the area double thinkness. I then did a top stitch above where the rings would go to reinforce the top. (B) For the rings I got 3/8" eyelets and a setter. I took the width of my panel and divided be the number of clips I had and determined I needed twenty one rings every five inches.(C) Follow the directions on the box and set the rings. I placed a cutting board beneath me to protect my counter but please consider the surface you are working on. DO NOT do this on top of a stone/tile counter or floor! You have to hit your setter with a hammer fairly hard and several times.

Once your rings are in place you can hang your curtain. I clipped each ring into the clips alternating the direction so that it made a wave. Thats it! It was so simple...

Ahh... and so much better!

The best part? Fully functional and cost less then $30! Gotta love it!


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