I have had a lot of comments from my family and friends on these curtains. Some thought they were awesome and other thought it was the craziest this I had yet attempted. My father asked if it wouldn’t just have been easier to make the curtains out of some fabric I bought. I guess it would have, but it wouldn’t have been near as much fun. It was a challenge no doubt, but I love these curtains. I posted pictures of them a while back but I realised the other day that I had a bunch of photos I took while I was making them so now I am going to use these for a tutorial on how you make patchwork curtains from recycled men’s shirts.
First you raid your wardrobe, your husbands wardrobe, your fathers wardrobe or anyone else you know who wears shirts. I don’t want to advocate using their favourite shirts 🙂 so go for those that are well worn or that they just don’t want to wear anymore.
My curtains are around 160cm (63 inches) wide and 180cm (71 inches) long. You can easily adjust the tutorial to make curtains that will fit the window of your choice.
Material and tools:
- Probably around 10 shirts – larger men’s shirts will yield more fabric off course.
- 80 x 160cm (32 x 63 inches) of a lightweight fabric is around what I used. Adjust this to the size you are making.
- Preferably a serger/overlocker, but it is possible with a sewing machine too
- Sewing machine for top-stitching
- Cardboard for templates
- A fabric marker – that can be removed
- Fabric scissors – a good one as you will be using it a lot
- Iron and ironing board
Cut the shirts into: sleeves, back and front along the seams. For the sleeves – cut off the seam and the cuffs and press the sleeves flat. For the back – cut off the colar. For the front – pin the two sides together along the button-band and cut off the colar. Iron all pieces well.
Cut out 2 templates that are 11 x 11 cm (4.5 x 4.5 inches) and 11 x 16 xm (4.5 x 6.5 inches). Use these to cut out the front, back and sleeve pieces. All pieces now have a 0.5 cm (0.25 inch) seam allowance for overlocking/sewing (if you need more – remember to add it at this step).
On the front piece, I made sure to cut out pieces that went across the button-band and pieces with pockets in before I cut out small pieces of the rest. (see image below)
If possible it is best to use an overlocker/serger to sew all the pieces together. The result is neater and the work will go much faster. however, if you don’t have access to one a sewing machine can also do the trick. You will just need to zig zag all the edges for a nice finish.
First join all the pieces in long rows. I wanted the curtain to be a little bit larger than 150 x 150 cm (60 x 60 inches) so I made sure to put juggle the pieces so that this fit. I had more of the bigger pieces than I did of the smaller pieces so I would mostly put 3 smaller pieces and 8 larger pieces randomly together in a row.
When all the rows were done I sewed them together to make the final shirt piece.
Next step was to make some edges out of a different fabric.
For the sides I cut two 10 x 150 cm (4 x 60 inch) pieces, for the bottom and top cut two 20 x 160 cm (8 x 63 inch) pieces. Fold on the short side, iron and overlock onto the finished shirt piece. Do the sides first, press them neat and top-stitch. For the top and the bottom pieces, fold and tuck in the side edges first and top-stich these neat. Then overlock onto the finishes shirt piece and sides.
At this point you have a finished curtain to which you can use your own attachements for hanging it up. I made loops that I could thread onto a curtain pole. This is how I did.
Out of my fabric I cut 7 pieces of 7 x 30 cm (3 x 12 inches). Fold them in half and overlock the long edge.
Turn the pieces through.
Fold and iron. With the sewing machine sew the pieces on with an even distance between them. Top-stitch on the front side.
And your curtains are done. Go out and thrift yourself a curtain pole and hang those curtains up for all to see and comment on 😎
If there is someone out there as crazy as myself who attempts to make such curtains, then please do share a link to your version. I would so love to see them 🙂
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