If I'm being honest though, part of my "let's try something new" attitude was a result of constrained choices.
Since spotting the white curtain rods in Emily Henderson's makeover of Bri's living room, I've been obsessed with the look. I had chosen matte black curtain rods for the townhouse and while I liked the contrasting look at the time, I wanted something more subtle in the lakehouse. With my penchant for white walls, I have no idea why I didn't seek out white curtain rods before!
One problem, though. Do you know how hard it was for me to find white curtain rods that don't have a shabby chic, country feel? I'm sure the search was made more difficult because of my finickiness and far-flung locale. I finally found modern-looking West Elm deadstock on ebay (Ikea was my second choice, but their white finials didn't match their white rods well). With curtain rods on order, I realized I couldn't find the matching white curtain rings. My Mom told me to abandon the search after she found an excellent tutorial for back tab curtains from the Online Fabric Store. We watched it together, enraptured - they seemed totally easy to make!
The video tutorial is top-notch and I highly recommend you watch it, but I'll briefly outline the steps below as well. One quick note: Claire lined her fabric to protect it from sun and moisture but I opted to keep mine unlined. Hubby and I have conflicting attitudes toward the use of curtains. I like to keep them open at night and wake up to the sunlight (hence my love of sheers), while Hubby prefers a total blackout curtain. The fabric I chose is fairly opaque and lined it would have been very opaque. Keeping it unlined lets a tiny bit of sunshine filter through in the morning, so I don't feel like I'm waking up in a coffin, but Hubby gets enough of what he calls "real curtain-curtains".
To get started, we just hemmed the sides and bottom of the curtain panels as usual. For the tabs, we cut out 4.5" x 6" rectangles of fabric, which were sewn into tubes (right side facing), flipped right side out and then ironed flat with the seam in the middle. The finished tabs are approximately 2" wide. Once the tubes were turned into flat tabs, we folded and ironed each end of the tabs under. These tabs were then hooked under, pinned onto and sewn into the top seam, which is around 5" wide.
Claire recommends 6" between the tabs. Each of my finished panels are about 53" wide and we did a total of 7 tabs per panel. In case anyone is curious, the curtain rod has an overall length of 8 feet. Ultimately, we could have done as many as we like; more tabs would have created a fuller, more pleated look.
This is what the back of the finished curtain looks like:
Then we just slid the curtain rods through the tabs. I worried back tab curtains would stick and not open smoothly, but my fears were unfounded. These curtains function better than curtains on rings, plus they look much more polished. And, as Claire points out, the tabs result in soft pleats which control the drape of the fabric. I used to spend forever fussing with the office curtains in the townhouse, which Hubby would close nightly and fling open with wild abandon every morning. I would adjust the drape, pulling and fluffing the top so it would drape just so. When Hubby flings these open they fall perfectly. I wonder how many hours I'll save annually, thanks to these curtains. It's embarrassing to think about it.
There are different tutorials for back tab curtains, some of which propose a different construction or placement of the tabs. We sewed the tabs very close to the top of the curtain which I think creates a cleaner, more modern look than when the tabs are placed lower, which creates a soft ruffling at the top.
I think the white and teal fabric looks great against the white walls, and the white curtain rod does a good job of letting the curtain steal the show - without being too skimpy.
the vintage Hungarian posters and silk pillows look really green and the fabric looks really blue. I definitely think it's time for a new camera, but for now you'll have to trust me that the curtain fabric is really an excellent colour match for the posters - it's very nearly identical to the background of the middle poster (the gal in the orange dress). It's more green/teal than what is depicted here and the difference in the colours of the art, the pillows and drapes is far more subtle in real life. The green pillows look positively neon - I blame the sheen of the silk.
Despite the fabulous curtains, the room still needs some tweaking. I just tossed our former accent pillows on the bed, we're still using a borrowed, too-small, too-light dresser - and don't even ask about closet doors!
I did swap out the minty chair for the black one from the living room because the mint pattern was dulled beside this bolder teal, but a chair is a placeholder for the dressers I pine for. In addition to big-ticket items like closet doors and dressers, I have some smaller changes in mind. The room could use some additional art and more thoughtful accessorizing. But I think the next thing on my to-do list will be something easy: fiddle with the accent pillows. I have a really cool idea for making a custom-printed pillow to fuse together all of the colours from the posters with the new curtains and existing green silk pillows (which I love, and want to keep because they complement the posters and curtain really nicely in the real world)...
I'll keep you posted on the changes I make. I still can't get over what a difference these drapes make!