Single guy needs advice! - Page 2

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Re: Single guy needs advice!
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Take one of the accent cushions with you to the fabric store to help in your
choice.  Congrats!  You are off on one fun hobby!  (or two or three...  home
dec, sewing, ...)

Re: Single guy needs advice!
I just read the color description, and I can see luxe drapes done in the
iridescent(?) fabrics - the ones that look one color in direct light and
then another color when they move.  Of course, this may be something for
a more experienced sewist...but it is appealing to my nesting instinct
<grin>.  Maybe this is something I can do in the bedroom once I get it
painted...hmmmmmmmmmm....gee, we try to help one person, and end up
giving ideas to


Jean D Mahavier wrote:

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Re: Single guy needs advice!
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I'm so sorry if I sounded snappy (after re-reading it I think I did sound
snappy).  I didn't intend to.  Right now, being in school, I usually have be
pretty frugal with clothes in order to have thos luxuries of eating, and having
an apartment.  Right now I am concentrating on making myself some nice cotton
blouses so I have something to wear this summer other than tank tops.


Re: Single guy needs advice!
you can find fabric in widths of 45", 54" and 60" almost anywhere.  I
think there are probably wider fabrics available as well.


GCW wrote:

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Re: Single guy needs advice!

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Standard widths at fabric stores are usually 45 or 60 inches. It wont be
wide enough . However if you get  a queen or  king size flat sheet, they are
VERY wide and you may be able to eliminate seaming.

You also might want to do several smaller sheets .  Check packages for sizes
or measure what you have as a guide line.

The standard amount you want for good fullness is at least twice the width
of your window. So if you are covering a 35 inch wide window you would want
70 inches of fabric, plus an extra couple inches on all sides for hems.
What most people would do is buy two 45 inch widths of the appropriate
length  and  put one on each side of the rod so you can pull them to the
sides with tie backs.    What I did for a while on my 35" windows was use
full size flat sheets. I didn't need to hem it, it was exactly the right
length to hit my floor.  If I had shorter ceilings  they would have been too
long, but I could have used the hem tape ( stitch witchery is one brand).

I  still really recommend getting some books as they will help you learn to
measure and determine yardage. You also have to determine how they are going
to be hung in advance.


Re: Single guy needs advice!
NYC-FMS wrote:

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Hi, Rebecca.  *waving*

Joanne from TreadleOn

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Re: Single guy needs advice!

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Nearly everyone will tell you you need a serger to make
T-shirts, but I make T-shirts with plain old straight
stitch.  The vertical seams press themselves open and are
ever so much nicer than the lumpy overlocked seams in
off-the-rack T-shirts.  

I do use a zig-zag for the hems.  Without zig-zag, you'd
have to hand-hem knits.  

Knits require much less ease than woven fabrics, and
different knits require different amounts of ease.  When you
have tweaked a pattern to perfection, and run out of the
original batch of fabric, or decide that now you'll cut the
good stuff, you might find that your pattern no longer fits.
This is why knits are -- or should be -- marked with the
percent of stretch.  

Double knits and interlock are much easier to handle than
single knits.  I can't cut cotton jersey at all without
first basting all around the edges to prevent rolling,
laying it out flat, and spraying it with starch.  And I have
to wait for it to dry; trying to speed it up with an iron
will distort the fabric.   (And interlock wears longer than
jersey, too.)

The best fabric for a beginner is lightweight woven cotton.
(Well wool and silk are even easier, but you never find
*them* in the $1/yard clearance bins.)  Pure cotton is best
because it can be torn to shape -- handy when you are making
curtains!   Synthetics will pull and distort if you try to
tear them, and it's often difficult or impossible to draw a
thread for a cutting guide in blends.  

Cutting off grain -- not parallel to the threads -- will
cause fabric to hang crooked, so a fabric that automatically
tears along the grain is a big help to success with a first

If you want to use the double-needle trick for hemming
knits, you need a machine with a front-threading needle.  If
the needle threads from the side, twin needles will be in
tandem instead of side-by-side.  Interesting for ornamental
stitches, but quite useless for hems and pin tucks.

Let me join the chorus saying "DON'T BUY A CHEAP NEW SEWING
MACHINE!"  Consider what you'd say to a beginner who walks
past a thrift shop filled with Snap-On wrenches on his way
to the dollar store to buy a knucklebuster.  

(I hope that simile works; I use Craftsman myself.)  

You can get a *good* second-hand sewing tool for much less
than you'd pay for the cheapest and flimsiest new toy.  I
personally wouldn't touch anything made after 1970; that was
about when sewing ceased to be a frugal necessity and became
an expensive hobby.  

Joy Beeson
-- -- needlework -- Writers' Exchange
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Re: Single guy needs advice!
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Once when I needed something in a hurry, I simply slotted a curtain rod through
the "wide hem" end of a pair of printed sheets and hung them up.  I bought them
off the clearance table, so they didn't cost much, they looked quite
acceptable, and the only work required was to install the curtain rods.  If you
wanted to be fancy, you could tie them back with some of the fancy "rope" you
buy in the Home Decorator dept. of the fabric store, in which case you will
also need to install some kind of hook to which to tie it.

Olwyn Mary in New Orleans.

Re: Single guy needs advice!
GCW wrote:
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It makes perfect sense to me.  I would find an older one from
classifieds or a thrift store or yard sale -- test it with fabric to
make sure it runs quietly and you can switch it through all the stitches
-- because that will cost you under $50 and those older machines will
last forever if serviced regularly.  And there are bunches of curtain
ideas on the web.

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle.
I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.  - Mother Teresa

Re: Single guy needs advice!

| Hi, new poster here.
| I'm a single Dad, 52 years old, living in a very ordinary apartment that
| needs some fresh decorating ideas. I'm convinced that the windows, which are
| all "treated" with boring white vertical blinds, would look 100% better with
| some curtains or other treatments.
| Did I mention I'm on a budget? I am.
| One window in particular is actually an entire wall. The center is a sliding
| glass door that leads to a balcony, and it is flanked by floor-to-ceiling
| windows. The entire "wall" is 12 feet in length. It has those aforementioned
| blinds (which I rarely close, because I'm up on the third floor and it's
| almost like a treehouse out there).
| Anyway, I wondering if it makes sense to buy a low-end sewing machine, learn
| how to operate it, and make simple curtains (or drapes). I'm used to working
| with drills, saws, etc. so it would seem I could learn to sew as well,
| right?
| Any recommendations on which machine (if you think I should get one), where
| and how I could learn to use it, and any simple, quick, cheap curtain ideas?
| Gary

Hi Gary,

Congratulations on one of the best decisions of your life!!  :-)

While searching for something else, I came across this site which is an online
instruction booklet that you can print out for guidance. I hope this will help
you with
your endeavours.
*strip CLOTHES to reply*
Homepage: /
See my boys: /

Re: Single guy needs advice!
On Fri, 01 Aug 2003 13:48:06 -0700, GCW wrote:

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Hi Gary

You're certainly getting plenty of advice, aren't you! If you decide to go
down the sewing route, you will find it very rewarding.

However, re non-sewing treatments... It sounds like you've got all the
light-diffusing, privacy, etc that you need from your existing blinds, so
all you need is a bit of window-dressing.

So first of all, I'd say don't get rid of your blinds. Instead, think about
how you could treat them (stencilling, etc), if you want to break up that
expanse of white whenever you do shut them. You can do wonders with
stencils and a bit of car spray paint. A book called 'Instant Decorating'
is full of good ideas here, if you can track it down.

For curtains, for now, I'd use saris, if you can get them. There are loads
available online, but you can't beat a sari shop. Just put up a curtain
pole with good-size finials - a bit wider than the width of the window -
and drape your saris over the finials. You can knot them, twist them round
the pole, use multiple colours, etc. You can hold them onto the pole with
curtain clips - Ikea sell these but you can get them in lots of DIY places
too. They clip right round the pole and hold the fabric with teeth, but
IMHO they do snag. I often use elastic bands, or carpet tacks instead. For
draping ideas, look in a home furnishings book from a bookshop or a
library. 'The Curtain Book' by Caroline Clifton-Mogg is pretty good, as is
'Textile Classics' by Melanie Paine, but there are loads of others.

If you can't get saris, simple lengths of any lightweight fabric will do
the same job - abundance is always good when it comes to curtains, so a lot
of a cheap fabric usually looks better than a small amount of expensive
fabric.  Don't break the bank. Sunlight fades and rots fabric pretty
quickly - proper curtains are usually lined and interlined and specially
treated to take account of this - it's one of the reasons they cost so

If your drapes are lightweight, you can tie them back with anything -
pyjama cords, ribbons, raffia. Florists are a good source of alternative
materials of that kind.

:) Trish

Re: Single guy needs advice!
Hi Gary, I'm following up on Trish's post. My daughter has an aversion to
all sewing machines made great looking curtains for her bedroom. She bought
some semi-sheer material and a pinking shears and pinked the raw edges. Then
she used clips made for hanging curtains on a pole, clipped them on at
regular intervals and hung them on a rod. The nice part of clips is that you
can get them in a large diameter and use a large daimeter pole. You get a
real classy looking curtain.
KEep looking for a good machine though used or new so you can make the throw
pillows and tee shirts you want . I know you didn't say anything about
pillows but as I said in my first post, once you strt it's hard to stop.
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Re: Single guy needs advice!
You can get a lot of finished sari curtains as well as sari fabric at


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Re: Single guy needs advice!
Re: Single guy needs advice!  
  I like a long drape or sheer on a track for window walls. Not that
I've done a job like this yet, :) but I linger over them when  see the
pics in chic home interior mags: one long dramatic sweep of lightweight
drapes, easily whisked back against a wall. The tracks the drapes ride
in look like the ones they use in hospitals, and are mounted on the
ceiling: if you consider this, you may want to check out a hospital
supplier, to see if they carry the tracks. You could hang the curtains
with clips or a grommet/ clip combo, like the hospitals do.
   Wide width fabric: check out:
They carry 10' wide drapery fabrics, (which might be your best bet--in
the measuring stage, you may find that ordering this is cheaper than
using sheets); sheeting, lining, crinkle sheers, gauze, muslin, blackout
lining, ( b/o is lightweight, w/out the rubber backing), 116" wide!!),
etc. Last time I checked, you could buy 25 yard bolts of 60" wide
drapery gauze for $3.50 a yard. Length would be whatever length you
need, plus a bit for hems and headers.  I think you can order samples.
   When measuring for drapes/curtains, think about the look you want,
then figure that into the window measurements. Do you want long, full,
billowy lightweight drapes? If so, no matter how wide the fabric you buy
is, you will need 2 &1/2 to 3 times the _window_ width---that amount of
fabric to achieve the right look, so the curtains don't look cheap and
skimpy. Then you must also figure how many lengths of a given fabric you
will need. (Shop prices are most often figured on # of lengths a window
   You might want to browse through a few custom drapery shops, for
ideas, as well as measuring and sewing advice. Once you've got all that
down, the construction part is easy.
  I've gotten some of my best ideas from Casual Corner Interiors,
examining their samples, and buying the books on styles ideas and
construction methods, as well as making numerous trips to a much larger
local fabric shop/workroom, where the staff have been most generous,
sharing their time and expertise with me. I send clients to them for
fabric purchases, as much as possible.
   I agree with the poster who told you that you won't save a lot of
money if you buy a machine for just this one use. However, it may be the
start of an enjoyable hobby, so who am I to discourage you? You might be
an inspiration to your DDs, who may learn to sew, too.
  I also favor secondhand, affordable machines, and have been known to
pick up bargains at yard sales, and refurbish them myself. :)
Well, I couldn't have found a more friendly newsgroup to pose my
questions to, now could I? Thanks to everyone who's responded. I think
I'm going to start my curtain project by trying one of those no-sewing
methods. I found a lot of plans at (and surprisingly none at (linked to Trading Spaces). I'm going to try to find flat
sheets that will look good, and use the sticky tape to make hems (if
they need to be trimmed). One other question for you all, however. . .
If I end up buying fabric, how WIDE is it, typically? I understand
buying enough length, but what about width? Is that a stupid question or
what? I guess I'm wondering if I buy fabric will I have to tape it up
lengthwise to get it wide enough (is this making sense?).
IF this project works out, AND I have some fun in the process, then I
just might start seeking a used sewing machine that's been treated with
TLC. My DD's (11 and 14) would sure get a kick out of seeing (and
helping) their dad with a needle and thread (and bobbin, and all that
other stuff you've mentioned!)

Re: Single guy needs advice!
I just thought of one reason NOT to learn to sew. How will I maintain my
helpless male persona to perspective relationships? Heck, if I can make my
own curtains and stuff for my daughters, (and, btw, I cook fairly well too
and enjoy it) they may think, heck, what does he need ME for?

All said tongue in cheek, of course.... LOL


Re: Single guy needs advice!
GCW wrote:

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Au contraire, Gar - it makes you more attractive!  Nobody
wants to pull the whole load herself.  This is the 21st
century - women want partners these days.  A man who is
confident in his ability to cook, clean, sew, do laundry
and mow the lawn is in a much better position.

BTW, the advice of picking up an old Singer machine - be
sure it's not a "Touch and Sew" or "Stylist" - is an
excellent one.  The older mechanical machines are
relatively easy to get into good working condition, and
parts are generally available should any be needed.  If
you do that, I'll tell you what's in my tool chest.  ;-)

-- /

Re: Single guy needs advice!
GCW wrote:
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THEY will need YOU to make all their super saver beautiful budget
curtains, frocks and all sorts they will need when they go to college
and set up their first homes.  Then they will need toy to make their
wedding gowns and things for the grandbabbies thereafter...  Who will in
turn grow up and require the same things of you...  It never ends!
Kate  XXXXXX (tongue firmly in region of left ear... )
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
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Re: Single guy needs advice!
Gary, no womannin her right mind is going to be critical of a man who sews,
cooks fixes things and loves to decorate. You're some lovely lady's soul
mate. Keep coming back. Don't forget the pictures.
Ask Sharon  Hayes for an invite to "happiest when sewing." I'm sure she
wouldn't mind having a great no sew project there.
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but gary, to those of us who appreciate such things, and understand the work
and talant that goes into t hem.....what an attraction!!!!!  lol

"we do not inherit the earth, we caretake it for our children"

Re: Single guy needs advice!
Gary says, sort of plaintively:

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Get with the program, Gar! Women today are fed up with helpless men!

My mil passed away about 10 years ago, and my fil, bless his heart, said he
couldn't understand, with all the widows on his street, why they couldn't get
together and take turns COOKING dinner for him!! LOL  I said, "Well, maybe
because they've finally escaped that sort of nonsense!" He just looked at me
like I had two heads.

My first husband did NOTHING around the house, never changed a diaper, never
fed his own child, so when it came to round two, I was determined to find
someone who wanted an equal partner, instead of a house slave. It's MUCH better
that way!

So you learn to sew, and to cook, and keep being a teddy bear collector--it's
all good, Gary!

Karen Maslowski in Cincinnati

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