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View Full Version : Curtain & Blind Making - where to start?



wendandsey
18-03-2009, 04:48 PM
Hi,

I'm new to this site, and I wondered if anyone could help me on where to start with making my own curtains and blinds, at the moment I have no knowledge atall, but am thinking a course would be a good place to start! Can anyone recommend a course in the area of Loughton, Essex or nearby?

Thank you in advance!

Wendy

:confused:

Aileen
19-03-2009, 12:37 PM
try the website hotcourses.com/community/homePage.jsp to find a range of courses near you

if you want to study at home then try the National Design Academy (NDA) Professional Curtain Making course, they often have really good price deals.

Alternatively buy or borrow the curtain maker's bible - Encyclopedia of Curtains by Merrick and Day.

sparkysdad
19-03-2009, 03:32 PM
Hi,

I'm new to this site, and I wondered if anyone could help me on where to start with making my own curtains and blinds, at the moment I have no knowledge atall, but am thinking a course would be a good place to start! Can anyone recommend a course in the area of Loughton, Essex or nearby?

Thank you in advance!

Wendy

:confused:

Actually, not to do anyone who makes exotic curtains look amazing, but "basic" curtains are a doddle - I am no master of the sewing machine, but I have made a couple of pairs of curtains recently, after a break of 20 years.. bringing the total up to 4!!

The latest pair are a 3m drop, pinch pleat tops, fully lined, and I even made a set of simple swags and contrast tails with a beaded edge.. from a simple pattern I found on the internet (free)..

Even with very basic machine sewing skills you can get by, and while a course may be good for more complex styles (and an excuse to get out of the house and meet other folk!), you probably don't need it.. My advice would be to start off with a smallish window - hopefully you will then get away with a single fabric drop per curtain, or if you need more, perhaps start off with a fabric where matching the pattern up is not difficult.. my first pair used a lovely cream fabric with a fern motif.. I spent more time matching up the panels of fabric and trying to get the seam "exact" than I did with all the rest of the sewing measuring and finishing!!

The header tape you use will define how many widths of fabric you need - usually 2.5 - 3.5 x the window or pole width, but your fabric shop will tell you how much to allow when you buy the fabric and header tape...

If you hunt around - markets, end of lines in fabric shops etc, you can easily find a few metres of material for 1 or less per metre, and header tape is less than 50p a metre, so why not invest 5 in a few bits of fabric and header tape, and use it to practise on.. At the end of the day, the only difference between a small curtain and a large one is the sheer volume of material you have to manhandle, and having to join 2 or more drops of fabric to get the right width.. once you are confident in your basic skills, you might find you get more for your money by attending a more advanced course to learn the more creative techniques and finishes.

wendandsey
19-03-2009, 08:24 PM
Thank you both for your advice, I think I will start with a book first and see how I get on, I am going to buy a basic sewing machine this weekend and just practice with this first!

p.s. any machine recommendations for real first-timers..?

Critchley
19-03-2009, 08:35 PM
(welcome)nice to see you here.

Cheap sewing machine - ah well - second hand or a brother. You can get a new Brother for just under 100 if you shop around. I have one and do all sorts of things on it. It takes apart and cleans easily too. Mind you I would LOVE a Jerome or something of that ilk but its just a dream.
Have a look on Ebay for a second hand one or trawl your charity shops and second hand shops. They are often available.

sparkysdad
22-03-2009, 02:08 PM
We acquired a second hand "New Home" which is not bad at all.. it has a few pattern stitches as well as the standard, and does 4 step button holes (I use buttons to fasten cushion covers.. never got to grips with sewing in a concealed zip... life's too short!).. Not sure if they still make them as "New Home" as the company is now Janome - a brand many folk really rate..

Going back a few years (not counting.. but platform soles were all the rage!) My school was quite progressive, and us lads got lumped in to cookery and needlework for "craft" as well as Woodwork and Metalwork etc.. The Needlework Dept had a variety of machines, but the big fight was always for the Bernina and Husqvarna ones because they were quick and easy to set up, and simple to use.. they must have been pretty reliable too given that they were in daily use by kids who are not always the most respectful..

I also have my mum's singer - it was a lightweight (for it's day) electric model 222k. I took the singer in for a service a few years ago, the man asked me to wait, hoovered the feeder, added a couple of drops of oil, and handed it back.. He said they were one of the best machines around, and almost maintenance free and if I wanted to sell, to be sure to offer him first refusal..

I have to say even now, it is a fantastic machine, far quieter than many modern ones, and although it lacks the fancy options, there are a number of accessories you can add such as an automatic pleater, and zip fitter! One other benefit you dont always see even on new machines, is the removable work table.. you jyst remove one screw and slide it off, leaving a "free arm" which means you can machine stich inside sleeves and the like..

The 222k is now very collectable - and I gather a prized machine with Americans in to quilting too - a good one with all attachments can be hundreds of 's, but I still see them at car boot sales and auctions (online and house clearnace types) for under 30.. if you see one, i would say buy it..

thepinksheep
20-04-2010, 12:16 PM
Hi,

I'm new to this site, and I wondered if anyone could help me on where to start with making my own curtains and blinds, at the moment I have no knowledge atall, but am thinking a course would be a good place to start! Can anyone recommend a course in the area of Loughton, Essex or nearby?

Thank you in advance!

Wendy

:confused:

Hi Wendy, you might want to look at the courses that your borough offers, that is where it all started for me!