No-sew curtain adjustments

Yesterday I stood in the curtain enclave of a big-box home decor store for a good 20 minutes. I couldn’t believe the god awful choices and the sheer expensiveness for all that polyester and linen awfulness. 

I’ll admit it, I’d hoped for a cheap and easy out for window coverings. We have so many dang windows in this new place of ours (NOT complaining, really). Most of the important windows are covered thanks to a big bag full of extra-long IKEA curtain panels that a friend didn’t need after she and her BF moved to their new place. [Never say no to free, cute curtains; they’re plushy and easily moved and acquiring curtains will certainly drive you mad long after the frenzy of the initial stages of moving are over.]

Of course, I have to mention that the curtains I made for our Brooklyn apartment don’t fit a single window in the house. Now what?

Sure, you can tack a sheet up there for the interim, but who wants to look at that for more than a few days? (And who has ‘extra’ sheets that you want to nail to the wall?)

I’m going to be honest, it’s going to take me at least 3 months to truly address the curtain issue. Making your own is one of the easiest beginner sewing projects out there, but I’ll be leaving for book tour in T-minus 13 days. I do not need to be making curtains right now.

I pulled out my prized homemade curtains (the first and only set of curtains I’ve ever made) and the pretty pins. This is my go-to solution for adjusting curtains on the fly.

All you have to do is fold and pin. In my case, I folded over the patterned portion of my old panels to make a ‘home’ for the curtain rod. Insert the pins on the back side (the side that will face the window, not the room) of the curtain, go all the way through both pieces of fabric grabbing a half-inch or so before you bring the bottom of the pin back through to rest on the back side again. See how I did it above?

This also works for hemming on the fly. If you have super-long curtains that you need for a not-so-long window, you can fold the whole curtain up to reach your desired length and then insert the pins in the same direction as they are in the image above.

Do your pinning with the material laying flat and not pulled. Gravity and the mechanics of this situation will keep the pins in place if you place them straight up and down. Do not do it horizontally (to the curtain rod); you’ll stab yourself every time you slide open the curtain and the weight of the curtain will pull holes in the fabric. You’ll obviously need pins with a ball head on them, a straight pin will pull right out with the weight of the fabric once it hangs.

The more pins you do, the more evenly the weight of the fabric will be distributed, but 10-15 pins is sufficient for a 60-72”-wide window.

I found this $9, all-wood curtain rod at the hardware store, tucked amongst a bunch of more expensive and exponentially uglier options.Give this ‘hip trick’ a try next time you find yourself needing some coverage. You’ll buy yourself time, spare your sanity and not cringe every time you look at the windows. Unless you’re really looking, you can’t tell I’ve improvised with what I had on hand. [If people judge me by my curtains when they come over for my book release party, then they’ve surely not read my book.]

Moving is hard. Give yourself a break. Some of us are getting settled more quickly than others…