Once I had gathered all the necessary materials for my new curtains, I was keen to get started. I spent Saturday reminding myself how to thread (thanks YouTube!) and practicing using the Singer – it has a hand crank so one hand is needed to turn the mechanism leaving only one hand free to guide the fabric through. It used to have an electric pedal to control the mechanism but I wan’t sure if it would still work and I prefer being able to run it off-grid.
At first though, I thought it was broken because it kept skipping stitches and the ones it did manage were irregular in length. Again, the internet came to the rescue, and I read that this could be caused by something as simple as a blunt needle. I switched it for one of the new ones I’d recently bought (learning in the process that the design of the machine needle has barely changed for over a century, so that my 1931 machine could use the same needle as a modern one) and the result was perfect – even, neat stitches.
Once I felt confident using it, the next step was to cut the fabric up – possibly the most important step! When I was younger, making things in our Textiles classes at school, I used to be terrible at cutting things neatly, relying on seams to hide the wobbly edges, but I’ve now learned the value of accuracy! Without a large table (although I’m lucky that my drop leaf table is a pretty decent size) I found that the best way to cut the patterned fabric was the thread pull method – isolate one thread, and pull it so it bunches up and then when you flatten it out again it leaves a track through the fabric where it has shifted. This took a while to do but resulted in a very straight cut. The blackout lining was too tightly woven for this method to work so I simply drew lines on it using a straight edge and cut along them, which worked well enough.
Then it was a matter of pinning and sewing the two layers together and attaching the rufflette tab along the top, which was actually fairly straight forward (thanks again to YouTube tutorials!). I managed to make one on Sunday evening and another last night – once the fabric is cut it’s actually only about an hour’s worth of work (at my pace) to put one together, and I really enjoyed it. Only eight more to make… I’m sure the novelty will wear off but the resulting curtains will be worth it, I’m so pleased with these ones, the fabric is just perfect!