Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Classroom Window Quick-Release Curtain Tutorial

My sewing instructor once told us, "You want your items to look 'handmade' not 'homemade.'"  Heck, I'll settle for either.  I'm all about quick, easy, done.  If you are inspecting my seams, then take a step back sister -- you are too close anyway.  This tutorial is not at all fussy...just don't inspect any seams.

At school we have classroom windows.  This windows are supposed to stay uncovered so administrators can peak in --- unless there is a lock down drill in which case the window must be covered.  We aren't given anything to cover it with so last year my door had half a ripped handmade homemade "Don't Do Drugs" poster behind it at all times.  It was trashy - with a capital T.  I'm doing one better this year with a Quick Release Curtain.

The curtain attaches to the door with a little velcro.  The ribbon holds it up so administrators can peak in.  Then with a quick swipe of the hand, the ribbon tabs, again with the velcro, release and it falls to cover the window.

Here it is handing on my bathroom door because I don't want to go to my classroom, but you get the gist.

Here are my step-by-step instructions.

1.  Start with two 1/2 yards of (45inch) cotton fabric.  Mine is light colored and I wanted it to look nice and be opaque --- you know for lock downs and all-- so I got a solid for the back.  I used TWO 1/2 yards of fabric because I lined it.  If you pick a dark color, and don't care if the back looks nice, you can just hem the whole thing and skip to step 10.  Go you! (cheater *eye roll*)

2. Iron the fabric so it looks all crisp and edges line up.  (I lurve this pattern.  It is remnant from the curtains I made for my classroom last year.  Ooh! Matchy-matchy same-same!)

3. Line up the two pieces of fabric right sides together (in sew speak that is the "nice" sides together).  Pin along THREE sides...trim any excess.  Do not pin the fourth side because you'll need to turn it inside out.  See the right sides together here?

4. Do a straight stitch along the three pinned sides leaving about 1/2 inch seams.  Doesn't really matter though.  I'm okay with homemade.

5. Once you've sewn the three sides, turn it inside out.  Make sure to poke out those corners with your finger.  :-)  Essentially, you should have a giant pillow case now!

6. The edges like to try to bubble in, so pull the seam taut and iron it down.

7.  Run a top stich down the top seam about 1/4" from the edge to keep it from bubbling.  You really should stitch down all the sides to keep them from bubbling -- especially when you wash it, but I was feeling lazy, so I just did the top.

8. Run back over to the ironing board and make a 1 inch hem and iron it.  See that selvedge edge?  Yep -- too lazy to cut it off.  I just roll it into the hem.  Make another 1 inch roll, iron, pin, and sew to form a bottom hem.  That 1 inch double roll will be a little heavy and that is a good thing.  It will help pull the curtain down when you unfurl it later.

9.  It should look like a big curtain now!

10. Attaching to the door is tricky.  I decided to do Velcro -- cuz, I lurve velcro --and it makes it easy to take down later.  I cut about 3 1/2 inch pieces for the left and right sides.  I sewed the soft part to the curtain and the hard "hook" part I will hot glue to the door frame.  Ghetto fabulous right?  But I can scrape it off with a straight blade later.  I may see if those Command Velcro pieces will work for the hook part, we'll see.  But I'm okay with hot glue.

11. Sew the soft part of the velcro to each corner.  Normally Velcro gets the X stitch treatment because you pull on it, but I doubt I'll be pulling these on and off the door often, so I just went over the edges twice. I also changed out the bobbin color to a cream so it would match the underside when it went through.  Stick the hook part to it when you are done so you don't lose it!

12. Pick two 15 inch pieces of complementary grosgrain ribbon.

13. To keep the ribbon from fraying, use "Fray-Check", carefully melt the edges with a lighter, or if you are fancy like me, cut it with a wood burning tool on a piece of glass.

14. Pin the lengths of ribbon to the back of the curtain just inside the velcro pieces.

15. Use a zigzag stitch and go back and forth to attach the ribbon to the curtain.  Get it on there good.  No need to be pretty.

16. Cut two 1" pieces of velcro for your "quick-release".  Wrap the ribbon around the curtain like it will be when done so you know what side to put the velcro on.

17. Pin the velcro piece on the fabric over that gnarly spot where you just attached the ribbon on the other side.  Pin the velcro on the ribbon NOW -- because you'll totally forget what side to pin it on later.  (Not that my seam ripper and I know anything about that).

18. Sew down the little soft pieces of velcro onto the fabric.  Get 'em down good.  I should have changed out my thread color, but I was tired forgot messed-up lazy.

19. After seeing that thread I DID change out my thread to match my ribbon for this part because it will show.

20.  Stitch down those little pieces of velco pinned on the ribbons.  You can X them or just make sure the edges are down good.

21.  Accordion fold the length of the curtain and wrap the ribbon around and secure the the velcro tabs together.  It is ready to be attached to the door!  A quick tug on the ribbons and it will unfurl to cover the window.  Tada!

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