Archive | February, 2012

Shower Power!

16 Feb
The other day I developed an insatiable urge to purge my bathroom of filth. After a few weeks of grumbling to myself about the building grime in the tub that no one ever cleans I finally channeled my anger into the tub, brutally demolishing every speck of grime I could find with a handful of steel wool and a can of Bon Ami. And after the tub and the sink and the mirror and the toilet and the floor and the walls were all sparkling, I looked at the shower curtain and thought, this is disgusting. So I threw it in the garbage.
Tired of that mildewy plastic excuse for a liner, I went out to the store and brought back the most luxurious curtain liner I could get my hands on. Ivory on ivory striped, damask weave, fabric shower curtain liner. Machine washable. Nothing can upgrade the way you experience your shower quite like replacing that plastic crap with a nice fabric one.
During my search I also discovered the most incredible store I’ve ever encountered. They didn’t have what I was looking for, but they have just about everything else a girl like me could ever desire. Stella Dallas Living is a vintage textile shop, walls lined with all manner of secondhand textiles: curtains, bedspreads, rug, blankets, tablecloths, quilts, as well as yardage. I’ve passed by this place a million times on my bike and always think, “I wonder what’s in there….” If ever there was a store that could win my heart, it is this one. Anyway, that is entirely beside the point because it has nothing to do with my shower curtain.
So to return to the point, I dug through my fabric locker and pulled out a few different fabrics to mash together for my new shower curtain. Unless you’re converting an old sheet or bedspread, you’re unlikely to find fabric wide enough to make a shower curtain out of a single piece of fabric. So I did a bit of a patchwork. It’s unique, it’s colorful, it’s all sorts of nice things.
Luckily, this project is easy as pie. I whipped mine together in less than an hour.
What You’ll Need
Sewing Machine
Fabric (details below)
Fabric Shears
Cording (optional)
A shower curtain is little more than a big rectangle. A standard curtain is 70″ wide and 71″ or 72″ high. It has 12 holes across the top, 6″ apart from each other. It also often has a cord sewn into the bottom hem for a little weight.
With patchwork, it is always best to use only fabrics that are of similar weight and constitution. All my fabrics were cotton broadcloth.
The one thing to watch out for it you’re doing a patchwork is making sure all your cuts and seams are good and straight so that your curtains lays flat and doesn’t billow or pull in wonky ways when you hang it up.
I started by cutting 74″ strips out of my various fabrics (for a 71″ curtain, plus 1″ of seam allowance at the bottom hem and 2″ of seam allowance at the top) until the widths added up to 70″.  I sewed the strips together and pressed open all the seams.
a seam pressed open, from the inside
I then gave the sides a standard 1/2″ hem, the bottom a 1″ hem enclosing a piece of cording inside, and the top a 2″ hem.
I measured and marked with tailor’s chalk 12 buttonholes each 6″ apart from each other, the outermost holes 2″ from the edge. Consult your sewing machine’s manual if you’re unsure how to make buttonholes; all modern home machines have this function.
3/4″ buttonhole
And that’s a wrap!