My mind’s made up, I’m doin’ this, I’m doin’ this…*

*Lyrics from Coeur D’Alene by The Head and the Heart from their self-titled album. I found these guys tripping through the Related Artists category on Spotify. I love finding other artists that might match my mood on a particular day. This one fit me today: upbeat, friendly and decidedly happy.

Yes, I worked well into the night. Until midnight the first day. I was a woman possessed.

Have you ever had a project that you always wished you could do, but weren’t sure you could actually do it? That’s how I’ve felt about making curtains. I have always thought to myself, ‘hey, how hard could it be?’, while secretly knowing that it wasn’t exactly easy. Understanding fabric, learning how to successfully operate a sewing machine, measuring said fabric and cutting it straight – these are all things that have sat in my mind as road blocks, convincing me that maybe I should enlist some help before I start on my project. Of course, none of that stopped me from buying fabric, measuring (incorrectly) for panels, and letting all those materials sit, unused, in the house for over a year. That’s right, over a year waiting for me to get up the nerve to actually just do it already.

The windows in question were the ones in the front hallway/foyer and the upstairs landing (I also made lined panels for the guest bedroom the next day – but that’s for another post). There’s a common wall color throughout the spaces, and I thought that making curtains that matched would be a way of visually pulling the decor from the first floor upstairs to the second floor. (The second floor is all bedrooms, so there isn’t much in the way of a design ambiance in the landing area, save for the wall color and the window.) Plus, in the wintertime, having a second layer of fabric on the windows would really help make the large volume of space (the gorgeous two-story staircase) feel a wee bit less drafty (or so I hope – we already have honeycomb blinds for privacy and insulation purposes).

So, with my courage mustered (inspired as I was from a fresh visit from Jonas of Innovative Construction Solutions who always makes me feel more capable than I think I am), and my fabric purchased ages ago, I got to actually tackling the long-standing project that had me nervous, excited, and just plain determined. I busted out all the accoutrements I knew I’d need: iron and ironing board; sewing machine with plenty of thread and bobbins; measuring implements; fabric marking implements (to mark measurements); fabric-only scissors; and, a book I purchased years ago that (sort of) teaches you step by step how to measure and make curtains. The book tells you how to measure your window, how to account for what amount of ‘fullness’ you want your finished drapery to have, the standard heights of hems and seams to help draperies hang well, and kind of gives you the steps to create some basic styles of curtain panels. Of course, some of the instructions are quite lengthy, rather confusing, and might require an alternate vocabulary to understand that ‘repeat’ in fabric speak means ‘the number of times the pattern on your fabric repeats in a given measurement’ rather than ‘do that again.’ But, I suppose a little help that’s confusing is better than no help at all.

So I got to it. Ironed, measured, cut, sewed, pinned, ironed, sewed, ironed, ironed, measured, measured, got frustrated, didn’t give up, ironed, ran out of thread, made cutting mistakes, made measuring mistakes, figured out how to fix mistakes (or at least disguise them), ironed some more, and finished. It was, in the end, absolutely and undoubtedly fun. It was hard, too, there’s no doubt. Doing something you’ve never done before, even with amazing instructions isn’t easy. But, with shaky instructions, and perhaps not the most ideal tools for the job, well, let’s just say it was tricky. But I did it. It took me hours and hours, and turned the dining room into a fabric showroom, but I did it. (Can you see me beaming with pride over here?)

Lesson for today: don’t let your fear of not doing something ‘right’ stop you from trying at all. You might surprise yourself. You might NOT fail. You might only fail a little, but succeed overall. You might really feel good that your brain is cleverer than you supposed. You will certainly build skills from making mistakes and correcting them. You will impress your spouse with your tenacity, your fearlessness, and your (eventual) confidence. You will impress yourself.

I took some pictures of the process. This is no way meant to be a tutorial (I’m certain that there are dozens of those on the interwebs already). These pictures can be a symbol to inspire you to tackle YOUR project that you’ve been putting off. You CAN do it. I know you can. Just go for it. Enjoy! xoxo