The tiny apartment got a big upgrade this weekend: linen curtains!
First, a little backstory. Three years ago, I moved from Illinois to my brother and sister-in-law’s farm in the hills of southern Wisconsin. The farmhouse is tucked into a valley, surrounded by woods and grassy pastures full of grazing sheep and cattle. I moved during a very tough season in my life, so as you can imagine, I purged a lot of my belongings before uprooting. Quickly, my 500 square foot apartment and the surrounding land became my safe place. Only my favorite things were allowed through the door. Cozy, minimal, and finally, a space of my own. Wide open spaces. Room to wander, to dream, to create something new.
So that is exactly what I have been doing the last three years, creating. Slowly breathing life back into the space and a broken heart, one home sewing project at a time. This weekend, I finally tackled the window coverings, a project I had on my to-sew list for an embarrassing amount of time. Anyone else buy fabric before they are ready to sew it?
In its former life, the tiny apartment was a garage, so a large window faces the southeast side where the garage door once operated. Since moving in, I knew I wanted to make custom linen curtains that were neutral in color, a beautiful drape, and transparent enough to let in some light.
To create the desired look, I used Heavyweight NATURAL Linen from Fabrics-Store and natural vegetable tanned leather from my own scrap bin. Since the window is very large, I used the full width of the fabric, only trimming the selvage, and simply measured the length from the curtain rod to the floor. I added 2 inches to my length measurement to account for the ½” finished hem. I folded and ironed each raw edge under a ½” twice to enclose it, then finished by stitching just inside my ½” folded edge.
I cut each piece of leather to 1” wide by 8” long with a clear ruler, Fiskars rotary cutter, and a self healing cutting mat. I rounded the corners and punched holes 1/2″ from the edge using an anvil, leather punches, and a rubber mallet. Each piece was then skived, oiled, and attached to the linen curtains using an antique brass rivet and rivet setter. As a leather bag-maker, these are tools I use every day in my sewing studio. However, if this step seems daunting, you can purchase long leather strips from many leather suppliers and cut to length with shears. Happy to help if you need recommendations!
The curtains are a beautiful addition to my simple and cozy apartment. They are completely one-of-a-kind and unique to the space. Each leather loop was oiled so it moves pretty easily along the curtain rod and keeps the fabric from weirdly bunching on each side when the curtains are open. Success!
I hope this project inspires you to make something unique to you and your space this year. It’s a wonderful feeling and a great way to kick off 2021.