Look how far I’ve come: comparing curtains

My opinion of my own sewing is pretty high.  I don’t say this to “brag” but just to acknowledge that’s I’ve worked really hard and put in a lot practice to get where I am in terms of skill with a sewing machine.  I think the stuff I make is good enough that someone else would want to buy it.

The other day I washed two sets of curtains that I’ve made.  I don’t normally go back and closely scrutinize something after I’ve made it, but when I pulled these two sets of curtains out of the dryer, I couldn’t help but notice some difference in the construction of them.

First up, we have our living room curtains, made for another house at some unknown date.  I can’t remember when these first appeared, but it was sometime prior to 5 years ago.

These are compared against the tab top curtains in the girls’ bedroom, made approximately 2-1/2 years ago.

Both are very similar in style with the different band of color at the bottom of the curtain, but when you look closer, you will see the differences.

Here’s the point where the band at the bottom joins the rest of curtain.  It’s a just a straight seam, which is fine when it’s on the inside of a garment (though serged seams are better there) or hidden between the layers of a lined bag.  I guess I figured that this was the back of a curtain so it didn’t matter how it was finished?  If I were to do it today, I would have done something called a french felled seam, which is like the seam on the outsides of jeans.  The raw edges are completely enclosed.

Another option is what I did here, on the improved model.  I made the entire curtain out of one piece of fabric and added the accent at the bottom, on top of the other fabric, to give it additional weight.  The only way you can tell from the back that this is where the band is attached is the single line of pink stitches.  Much neater, I say.

Also note the side seam on this curtain.  It’s folded under and then sewn down, so there is no raw edge sticking out.  This is how it should be done.

As for this next side seam, I cringe when I look at it!  Not only did I leave the raw edge exposed to fray and look sloppy, I increased the slop factor by failing to even trim up the accent band to the same width as the main part of the curtain.  It sticks out all weird and uneven.  And I left the selvedge (the edge of the fabric as it’s manufactured) on.  You don’t typically do that because it washes/wears differently than the rest of the fabric, but in this case, at least it doesn’t have additional fraying.  I guess that’s a plus?

Next up, the bottom hem.  First, notice the not-straight lines of stitching.  Okay, so they’re straight-ish.  You probably wouldn’t notice unless you are looking close (which we are).  When you look at it like this, it actually looks not-so-bad, right?  The two lines of stitching give it a nice finished look, and the raw edge is actually turned under.  Right?

Uh, no, actually, flip that hem down a touch and you will see that I sewed up the bottom hem, and then folded it over and sewed another line of stitches.  The problem here is that I put the second line of stitches below the first instead of enclosing the raw edge like I should have done.  Who does that?!  (me, apparently, several years ago!)

The bottom hem of the more recent curtains?  Lovely, right?

And that ends my self critique.  It’s nice to know I’ve learned something over the years, and I’m fairly certain that I’ve improved since the time the better curtains were made.  Practice makes perfect.