My First Time Sewing

So, I received a sewing machine over two years ago for Christmas, but I never took it out of the box.  To be honest, I was scared of it.  My only other experience sewing was in 7th grade in FACS class where we made patchwork pillows and my was a hot mess.  It had holes every where and that was with help from the only girl in the class who had sewed before.  But I asked for a sewing machine anyways because I had big plans for it once I got over my fear of it.

Well the other day, the time had come for me to get over my fear.  I had bought my material and had researched how to sew curtains in Singer’s The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing and my favorite DIY blog Young House Love.  I took the sewing machine out of the box.  But I did not know what to do next…

Thankfully, my sewing machine came with a DVD Instructional Guide that showed me how to thread the bobbin and thread the machine.  Although all sewing machines are a little different, the concept is the same, so I included a How To Video for those other beginner sewers out there.

So after I got my machine threaded and ready to go, I was on to the next scary step…  Measuring and cutting the fabric.  Even still, this is always my least favorite part because I am scared to mess up because once you cut it is final.  So after a lot of stress and research online, specifically the two references mentioned above, I decided what would work best for me was to buy 5 yards of fabric, cut it in half, and hem the 4 sides.  A great tip I have learned is to use tile grout or a rug as your reference to cut a straight line.  But since I was just cutting the fabric in half, I just folded it in half and cut down the fold.

Then, I took one panel and pinned 1/2 inch seam on one side.

sewing, curtains, DIY

Then to be extra cautious, I went back through and ironed the seam in place.  Generally, instructions will tell you to do one or the other, but this was my first time sewing, so I was a nervous wreck and wanted to make sure everything was perfect, so I did both.  And, I still do both because I feel it works best for me, but you can pick what works best for you.  The next step is to hide the rough edges of the fabric and is optional depending on how you want the backs of your curtain to look.  So, if you choose to hide the rough edges of the fabric, you will just measure and fold another 1/2 inch seam.

sewing, curtains, DIY

Then, I took my panel to the sewing machine and sewed the one side that was pinned and ironed.  Don’t mind the band-aid.  It was just a battle wound from all the pinning I was doing.  Did I mention I was extra cautious and pinned a lot!

sewing, curtains, DIY

Afterwards, I repeated folding a 1/2 seam, then folding another 1/2 seam, and sewing each side until all four sides were done.   By this time, it was getting pretty late, so Wilson wanted to help me hurry up and finish, so we could go to bed.  Here he is helping Mommy finish the curtains.

sewing, curtains, puppy

So, I took Wilson’s hint and called it a night and decided we would tackle the next panel tomorrow night.  I was scared of it anyways because it involved more of my least favorite task…  cutting fabric.  The other half of the fabric I bought was missing a chunk from when the lady had previously cut me a sample of it to match it to our bedspread before I bought it.  So before I could begin measuring and marking my 1/2 seam, I had to make sure the fabric was straight.  So I laid it out on a rug and cut off the rest of the fabric to make one straight line.

sewing, curtains, DIY

Then, I could make this panel just like the last one.  Fold, pin, and iron a 1/2 inch seam along one side.

sewing, curtains, DIY

Next, refold, pin, and iron another 1/2 seam to get rid of the rough edge.

sewing, curtains, DI

Then, sew that one side.

sewing, curtains, DIY

And then, repeat until you are finished with all four sides.  If you want you can be finished with your curtains after that step, but I wanted to add black out fabric behind them, since they were for our bedroom.  I bought 5 yards of black out fabric.  I cut the blackout fabric in half to make the two panels like we did for the curtain panels.  Then, I took one curtain panel and cut the black out fabric down to be a little smaller than the curtain panel.  I did all this as an estimate with my eyes; I did not get exact with it and measure everything out.  Then, I did the same thing with the second curtain panel and black out fabric panel.  I did not sew my curtain panel to my black out fabric.  I just clipped them together with the curtain clips.  It is not really noticeable and now I can reuse the black out fabric if I choose to make new curtains for this room, but right now I am in love with my new curtains!  Here is a picture of the back of the curtains and the black out fabric.  You can hardly tell they are not sewed together and from the front of the curtains, you can’t tell at all.

sewing, curtains, black out fabric, DIY

Here is the finished result!

sewing, curtains, DIY

sewing, curtains, DIY

Here is Wilson with the curtains.

sewing, curtains, DIY, puppy

sewing, curtains, DIY

I also bought some more fabric and made some matching pillows for the bed.

sewing, pillows, DIY, puppy

So here is the budget breakdown:

  • 5 yds of 54″ drapery fabric ($7 per yd)–$35
  • 5 yds of 54″ black out fabric ($5 per yd)–$25


I am very proud of my curtains, if I do say so myself, especially since they were my first sewing experience!!  And let me tell you, that black out fabric does wonderful things, like letting me sleep in on the weekends WAY past how long I should.  What do you all think?  Not too shabby for a first timer, huh?  Have you been sewing lately?  Do you have any tips for a novice sewer, such as myself?