I sewed for a good period of time in my teens and 20s and then there was a long period where life happened, and I didn't do anything creative. By the time I did get back to sewing, I was ready to roar and sewed nonstop for about 5 years straight. These days I've settled down to a more sedate pace of sewing, now that I've quenched that ravenous first thirst of returning to the craft, but as I work editing a sewing magazine, I often look back on those ravenous sewing days and ponder what sparked my creative frenzy and how I can inspire that in others.
I do know part of the answer. I lived in New York City during 9/11/2001. Shortly after that day, my husband and I purchased a small getaway in the Pocono Mountains, because the city was a difficult place to be 24/7 in the first months after September 11th. I had a lot of time on my hands and a feeling that life could vanish in a matter of minutes. I desperately wanted something that I could touch and create. Sewing was the perfect solution.
|These Roman shades were one of my first projects.||And these, also!||Here, you can see the plastic rings the cord runs through.|
|The 1" x 4" wood is mounted on L-brackets and the shade is stapled to the wood.||Here is a sample of the metal bar that is inserted at the bottom of the shade for weight.||The shade back is marked off in equal sections to determine where to sew rings. .|
One of my first projects was sewing a set of lined Roman shade curtains for our new home. I had no idea that I was taking on anything particularly difficult, and that's probably a good thing. I just went out and bought a pattern, picked some fabric I loved and went to town. About halfway through, I realized that this was going to take a while, but I had long weekends with nothing to do. It was also a way to cement my relationship with my new mother-in-law. She often came to visit and coached me through many a project.
I was just up in Pennsylvania this past weekend, because our lives have taken a different geographic direction since then and we've put that beloved little getaway up for sale. I was looking at the shades and marveled at the time that I took as a beginning-again beginner, especially now that I really understand what I was taking on. I still believe that sewing is 99% patience and love mixed with 1% skill. Those Roman shades have held up for more than 10 years now and they still match the room perfectly. I realized that I really didn't need a pattern, because it was really just a matter of taking good measurements and working with rectangles. Here's how:
1" x 4" piece of wood cut to width of window
Two L-brackets and screws
Several yards of cording
Set of small plastic rings or Roman shade ring tape
Metal cord wrap for blinds ¼" metal rod cut slightly shorter than width of window (about 1-1/2 inches)
Lining fabric (optional)
Thread to match
1) Measure the interior width and length of your window.
2) Measure the top and side of the 1" x 4" (5") and add that to fabric length, plus another couple of inches to secure fabric to wood with staple gun.
3) Add hem allowance to length and 1" to each side for side hem.
4) Sew panel bottom and side hems. For sides, you will want to fold ½" over on side, stitch, fold again, and stitch. The bottom hem is your choice, but a 3" hem is suggested. Fold under 1/2" on bottom and stitch. Then fold up hem and finish. Leave the sides of the bottom hem open as this is where you will insert the metal rod for weight.
5) Determine how many flaps/folds you want in your shade. For instance, for mine, I had tall windows, and I divided the shades and marked them off into about six sections.
6) Mark sections on back side hems with pencil and sew plastic rings or ring tape very securely, one on each side. (See diagram.)
7) Run cord through rings on each side, securing at bottom rings first and running through to top. Leave a good yard of length to wrap around metal cord wrap.
8) Attach fabric to wood, mount shade on L-brackets, install metal cord wrap, and insert metal bar into open flap formed by bottom hem.
9) Step back and admire your beautiful custom Roman shade!
For a really swanky shade, you can line it. Widen the side hems of shade fabric to about 3" each and measure the lining to fit as a smaller rectangle inside your shade fabric. Sew with right sides together, leaving one short end open. Turn and press.
To discover more great home decor projects, check out the issues of Stitch 2008-2010 CDs and 2011 CD in the Sew Daily Shop.
Do you have a great story to share on how you returned to sewing? Tell us about it on the Sew Daily blog.