Who’s old enough to recall the early days of the Internet, when every business still had the word “online” in its web address? The TV was blaring with ads claiming that you could: Buy plane tickets in your PAJAMAS! Check your bank account in your UNDERWEAR! Pay your gas bill in your BARE ASS!
Back in 1999, the future was here, and it meant never having to get dressed ever again.
The only problem? That pesky combination of windows and curious neighbors. The problem hit home for me last week, when I came home from my morning run, kissed the kids good-bye, and stripped off all my sweaty synthetic running clothes (I have a somewhat rational fear of becoming permanently fused to my sports bra).
As I cooled off, I wandered into the kitchen to reheat some coffee. Before I could press the “quick minute” button on the microwave,* I heard loud footsteps just outside the kitchen door. I scampered away to the modesty of my bathrobe. My upstairs neighbor was tromping down the back stairs with his laundry, and came within seconds of getting a show through our kitchen door window. Here’s his view:
While sipping my stale coffee, I stepped back and thought, Hey, that looks pretty good! The baby blue perfectly matched the walls, the brown made the woodwork pop, and the dark cyan blue even picked up the color of my Bowling Alley Chairs in the dining room. Maybe it was time to get serious about my backdoor modesty!
—Simple D.I.Y Modesty Curtains for the Clothing-Optional Kitchen—
STEP ONE – PICK YOUR FABRIC: For full-sized windows, it’s always cheaper to buy pre-made curtains than to make your own, due to the sheer volume of fabric it requires. Really cute (i.e., Japanese) designer fabric will cost you at least $15 a yard. And as many times as I’ve tried to use old bedsheets for curtains, they always end up looking just like old bedsheets.** Loyal readers know that my favorite place to get cheap and stylish curtains is a certain Swedish Big Box store. However, for this tiny window, I could spare some of my adorable designer fabric (which was from IKEA anyway).
To determine how much to cut, first measure your window. Then add 1 inch to each side, 1 inch to the bottom, and 3.5 inches to the top of your fabric. Use chalk to mark your cut lines:
STEP TWO – IRON & SEW: Let’s start with the sides of your curtains. Fire up your iron (or just plug it in). Lay the fabric wrong-side-up on the ironing board. Fold ½ inch of fabric over and iron flat.
Back to the ironing board, and repeat the steps above (fold and iron, fold and iron, pin and sew) to create the same hem for your bottom edge. Take it to the sewing machine and connect it to your sides. The bottom corner should look like this:
Back to the iron, one last time, for the top panel, or what I like to call the “Rod Pocket.” Fold and iron yet another ½ inch over the top, just like you did for the sides and bottom. Now – here comes the exciting part – fold the fabric over again about 2 ½ inches.
Don’t get cocky: Be sure to use a ruler or measuring tape to make sure the Rod Pocket is uniform throughout. Iron and pin, as usual.
PRO-TIP!! Always err on the bigger side when sewing your Rod Pocket. In past curtain projects, I’ve foolishly made the rod pocket only slightly wider than the rod. This makes it nearly impossible to slide the curtain back and forth across the rod, and looks tight and uncomfortable for the curtain. Have you ever bought a sweater from some tiny woman at a yard sale, and when you tried it on later you realized you couldn’t even push the sleeves up your arms cause they were too tight? Don’t do that to your curtains.
When you are comfortable with the size of your rod pocket, sew it shut.
Now, this project wouldn’t be complete without me dragging some garbage into the house. Since I didn’t have an actual curtain rod, I grabbed this rusty “tetanus rod” out of a weed-filled planter in the back yard. I’m guessing my landlord left it back there ten years ago:
Can we see that rod close up? Yes, those are toddler fingers, and yes, he’s had all his shots.
* A “Quick Minute” is approximately 58 seconds.
** We all have someone on our block with bedsheets for curtains – don’t let it be you!