Curtains and new sewing machine

I'm renovating a house in England and have got to the point where I need
Long story short: I never imaging buying curtains could be so much grief -
no ready made websites I can find have parametric searching, ie "show me all
the curtains that are of the following size".
Made-to-measure curtains seem amazingly expensive - it's against my religion
to spend more than 100 pounds on a room's worth.
So I have considered making some myself (it's logical, I'm doing a lot of
other work myself). I used to be pretty good with my Mum's old Singer sewing
machine but that's a bit past it now.
So first question:
What is a good make of machine these days? I'm more interested in reliable
smooth sewing than a computer that can do 2500 different stitches. In fact I
regard the computer element as a liability - they usually die long before
the mechanics give out.
Second question:
I've only turned up curtains before. If making lined pencil pleat ones, does
1) Hem the material and sew, hem the lining and sew then sew both together
2) Hem both with pins temporarily and sew the lot together in one operation
(sounds fiddly)?
Third question
Does the lining go right to the top, ie under the pencil pleat tape?
Fourth question:
Assuming cotton, or a high % cotton mix, if I prewash the material first,
would I expect that to cause most of the shrinkage the curtains will ever
see? In other words, could I expect them not to shrink much further after
that with occasional wet washing?
Sorry - lot of newbie questions...
Thanks anyway!
Reply to
Tim Watts
I share those religious beliefs. :)
Do you have any local sewing machine shops? You really ought to try some machines out before you commit to one. You are looking for a good mechanical machine. I prefer mechanicals as well. Like you, I'm concerned about the computer parts giving up on me AND mechanicals are (by and large) Oh so easy to maintain yourself. Start by finding a local shop. Take your mom's old machine with you. Investigate what it cost to have it cleaned, timed, etc. (what is that machine, BTW.) Sometimes the oldies really are goldies and worth keeping hold of. If it's really time for it to go to the great sewing room in the sky, it may have some trade in value as far as the shop owner is concerned. Look at your options.
OR!! Tell Kate where you are. She's also in England. And she knows where all the best machine shops and other goodies are. ;) She might could give you a good lead on where to look at the very least. (just don't make any Mad Hatter cracks right now. LOL)
Now, as for your curtain questions. You need to look for this book:
formatting link
It's a wonderful book. Tells you how to measure, figure yardage, make the curtains and even how to hang them. Even helps you figure out hardware for them. Lots of "work sheet" pages. Those are great help. I've had a copy of that book for years. Used it so may times it came apart and I had to put it in a 3 ring binder. ;) We can (and will) help you here. But you seriously need something right there, in your hands for this first curtain project.
Reply to
Sharon Hays
Tim, If you use drapery material I wouldn't wash it but rather dry clean it first. Having said that, I never pre=shrink drapery fabric because I hang my drapes out several times a year and vacuum them frequently to remove loose dust.I'm posting a website here to give you and idea of how to make the drapes.
formatting link
Remember you want to use a drapery weight fabric so that you get them to hang well. As to your sewing machine, I also use a mechanical machine. It works well and has given me a lot of years of good service.As Sharon said talk to Kate, she's a great source for information. She post herre all the time. I hope this has been a little help to you. Juno
Reply to
Juno B
I, on the other hand, prewash ALL fabrics as soon as they come into the house. If they shrink significantly, I do it again. We have dust allergies, so I want all my curtains to be machine washable and dryable.
I second the motion on having your old sewing machine serviced, it is very possibly better than just about anything on the market today.
Olwyn Mary in New Orleans.
Reply to
"Sharon Hays" wrote...
She (or her husband) might even give you one of her surplus TLC ones... ;-> (See, no mad hatter crack!)
Reply to
Ursula Schrader
Bernina 1008. I have one to test at the moment, and I love it. mechanical and smooth as cream. :) Goes for just under £600 here in the UK. It'll last forever.
or you could look for an older model like the 1005 (I have one of thoose too) or the really old 807 and 707 models (yes, all mechanical, or lovely, and I have working models of those too!).
One makes up the lined curtains, hangs them for a while, and then hems the lining and outer separately.
Yes. Allow for 10%-15% shrinkage.
You're welcome!
Welcome aboard.
Reply to
Kate XXXXXX wibbled on Thursday 11 March 2010 18:11
That does look like a fine machine. Bit out of my price range. I think I will have a look at my Mum's old Singer (that had all the features, including free arm). The flex was knackered, but as electrical work is my specialism, I'll replace that and see if the mechanics are still good.
I could be worth paying for a service on the machine. It was a solid little lump and very reliable.
I seem to remember Necchi (sp?) used to be highly rated - is that still true?
Reply to
Tim Watts
Tim Watts wibbled on Thursday 11 March 2010 09:47
General follow up:
Thanks to everyone who replied.
I just found a rough how-to on the web for doing lined curtains - seems straightforward - as usual, it is all in the preparation - marking, trimming, ironing, pinning. The actual assembly doesn't seem too hard if one can stitch straight with a machine (I can).
As there isn't a consensus in the pre-washing theory, I must admit I prefer my things to be wet-washable - so it seems to make more sense to preshrink the material first then work with a stable medium. I live in the middle of nowhere and dry cleaning is an expensive hassle.
As mentioned to Kate, I'll see if my old Singer is serviceable - if so it is well up to anything I'll ever do. Otherwise, a decent machine seems quite expensive, and I generally don't like buying cheap rubbish - it is usually a false economy.
Found some quite good fabric shops online which will give me a feel for price - it would be better to buy what I can feel in a real shop, but if I know the expected price then I won't get "done" (I use this philosophy with all the building materials - no-one marks up products worse than a builder's merchant! - except maybe a timber yard).
I've got the basic specification for the curtains - cream/plain fabric (type undecided), heavy linings (thermal or blackout) and pencil pleat tops.
If this works, I might have a look at how to do roman blinds - SMWBO has requested them for the kitchen.
BTW - I'm 30 mins from Tunbridge Wells, and there is a good machine shop there (World of Sewing IIRC).
Many thanks,
Reply to
Tim Watts
It sounds like your moving in the right direction. Curtains and drapes are not difficult, just a bit time consuming. I like making them because they fit just the way you want. BTW most online stores will have a way for you to get a sample swatch. Our Kate also will be able to recommend so go places to find nice fabric in the UK. Juno
Reply to
Juno B
I'm up near Sittingbourne! :) 30 miles as the crow flies, an hour by road! You can't get there from here... Kent is grat if you want to get from London to the coast or Paris (or brussels!), but not if you want to get from Sittingbourne to Tunbridge Wells!
But if the old Singer doesn't come up shining (which model is it? I love old machines), I have a spare prehistoric Bernina in good working order that Himself will be glad to see the back of... Ex Harringay school machine, bit scruffy, but sew a treat.
World of Sewing are fabulous and do a fine line in used machines. Ask about older Necchi (yes, good old ones are available) and Elnas. I've bought several used machines from them, and they are always good to deal with. They will be glad to service the old Singer for you, or give you an honest opinion about whether or not it can be saved and how much it'll be if not.
If you want the Bernina, give me a call. I'm in the Yellow Pages under Dressmakers. We'll get something sorted this weekend.
Reply to
Kate XXXXXX wibbled on Friday 12 March 2010 15:02
Thanks - a most kind offer.
I've got flu, so I won't be able to check my machine for a few days (it's in storage) but I'm hoping to rescue it and if it still spins freely, I'll change the flex and take it to World of Sewing for an opinion. How much would you want for the Bernina?
Reply to
Tim Watts
UK=92s leading supplier; curtain fabrics, ready made curtains, made to meas= ure curtains roman blinds curtain poles & tracks. A Curtain fabrics special= ist. Check More here
formatting link
Reply to
Steven Cross
"Steven Cross" [...]
Whois Results: Registrant: Curtains2bedding 5/4 Wetherell Place Clifton Bristol, BS8 1AR GB
Administrative Contact: Barrett, Lloyd 10 The Green, Little Acton Wrexham, N E Wales LL12 8BH UK 0041978354316 Technical Contact: Ltd, Webfusion 5 Roundwood Avenue Stockley Park Uxbridge, Middlesex UB11 1FF GB +44.8712309525 Fax: +44.8701650437
Reply to
BEI Design
Not a lot of help for someone wanting a new machine to make their own curtains outside a radius of 50 miles from Uxbridge - one of the less interesting location in Greater London! ;)
Maybe the spammers will make him a bit happier...
Reply to

Site Timeline Threads

InspirePoint website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.