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The Curtain Saga Continues

October 03, 2020

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So it's October and can you believe that I still don't have curtains on my windows?

Ok, ok, as of this morning, I sort of have curtains in the living room, but they're un-hemmed and the trim is in a pile on my kitchen table.

Red Ball Fringe

How is this possible, you ask? It's been months. I'm a blogger and DIY is my thing.


Yeah, I honestly don't know.

I'd love to say that it's because I've been doing so many other adventurous things that I just haven't gotten around to it.

But that would be a lie.

The honest answer is, I have no excuse. For the first time in my decorating life, I've been completely paralyzed.

And indecisive. Which is totally out of character. And a bit unnerving. Par for this year, I suppose.

I think I've had the same decor for so long...and loved it so much...that change is not easy.

I decorate with my eyes and my stomach. Things have to look right and more importantly feel right in my gut, or I cannot have it in the house.

I know. It's a disease.

Either way, after almost 20 years, and as things have started to fade and fray, it's time for something new.

When we last left off, I was explaining all the online buying and returning I was doing. At that point I had settled on leaving the floral curtains in the living room and ordering buffalo check fabric for the kitchen.

The scrap piece I had hanging up there looked so good, I wanted more.

Excited by the prospect of making my stomach happy, I sent away for samples that very afternoon. I had to track down that exact pattern.

Red Fabric Samples

Unfortunately, when the samples showed up, they were all wrong. Apparently, they don't make that fabric anymore and I was sent back the drawing board, since none of the other samples were quite right either.

The checks were too big or too small, the red wasn't right or the white/ cream portion was too muted or yellow. Every one of those things was a hard no.

Desperate for a solution, I called the shop to inquire and was told they had nothing like that on hand...which I knew wasn't right. I had been there in March, before the shutdown, and they had several similar patterns.

I was going to have to go to the store. Grrr.

In the meantime, I poked around online a little, just because. Big mistake. That just muddied the waters.

You see, first I found the most gorgeous 100% cotton, lined buffalo check red and cream curtains. Hmmm. They were about $75 a pair and I needed four panels. Not cheap, but not bad. 

It would probably cost me about the same for fabric. But no sewing. That was a huge draw.

I also ran across this charming pattern at JoAnn's for a song. Seriously.

Bircham & Red Fabric Pattern

It cost me just over $20 for six yards. That's ridiculous.

So I ordered both the panels and the fabric and crossed my fingers.

Ok, so here's where it gets tricky. The checked panels showed up and they were just as gorgeous in person as they were online.

And they were exactly what I had envisioned in both the kitchen and living room.

Park Designs Red Checked Panels

My ever supportive husband said, order the checked ones, be done with this project and hang them up. It's a big win.

Well...if only.

I absolutely loved the curtains and as someone who makes almost all of my window treatments, that's huge compliment. They were just so well made.


In the kitchen they were too long hanging from the ring clips and too floppy if I tried to hang the generous 2" rod pocket on my skinny metal rod. Plus, that luxurious lining made the room a bit darker than I wanted.

I'm all about sun in this space and they were covering it up.

In the living room, the lining gave them a more formal air, which was good, however that same oversized rod pocket in the kitchen, didn't fit the fat wooden rods over the sofas.

So if I ordered the curtains for all the rooms, at $300, I would still have to do some major alterations. That was just not worth it.

Are you feeling my frustration yet?

Since I still needed curtains, I masked up and went to the fabric store and in less than 10 seconds found the fabric I knew they had. Not cheap at $24 a yard, but kind of what I expected.

I grabbed it and ran before my stomach could talk me out of it.

Bolt of Red Buffalo Check Fabric.

Back at home, I realized that the colors matched the kitchen much better than what I originally wanted and I was set.

Kitchen plan done. Fabulous.

Comparing Red Check Fabric

The living room was still tricky though. I really didn't want to alter those curtains for $150. Plus, this house is not big and I wasn't sure if I was going to love all that buffalo check everywhere I looked this fall/ winter.

So, now what?

That thought bubble was literally hanging in the air when I caught a glimpse of that bargain JoAnn fabric on the floor.

It was very charming, so I threw some of it over the rod in the living room and right away I was smitten.

Red Fabric Over Pole

I put some music on, turned the speakers up and started sewing. I completed all four panels by 10pm. I ironed seams and I put my husband to work sewing. 

I told you, if you can drive a car, you can use a machine

Today, I'll add the trim, since ball fringe makes everything better and I will attempt to make the kitchen panels.

As our decorating saga, hopefully, draws to a close, I have spent $175 on fabric and trim to dress four windows.

Significantly less than what I would've spent if I had purchased them.

And my eyes and my stomach seem happy. So far.

But man, what a long strange curtain trip it's been.

I guess this is why I don't change out my decor all that often.

Kim Signature

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  1. Kim you crack me up. We are so much alike that we see and need our gut to agree. I am so visual and need to see things in person and not just imagine them either. This was a long journey but well worth it. I love that fabric. What a beautiful color and print. I like it better than the check. It is lighter in feel and just gorgeous on the window. Good job. Love that your hubby jumped in to help sew too. I know once you get the trim on these will be stunning. Have a great weekend.

    1. Kindred spirits, Kris!! We totally get each other when it comes to decor!! I have to see things in person and in the space. I wish I could visualize but I’m just not good at that. At all. Glad to hear I’m in good company! 😊

  2. I like your choices a lot! Funny how things can drag and then boom - all done!

    1. It really is, Penny! I guess inspiration has to strike at the right time.

  3. I love that pretty fabric from Joann's Kim. The curtains are going to look beautiful and it's great that you are so talented to make and sew your own. I can't wait to see the curtains finished.

    1. Thanks Julie! I can't believe I got that fabric for such a cheap price. And trust me, I'm not a great seamstress...I fudge my way through.

  4. Wow...that was definitely a roller coaster ride!!! But I love a happy ending!!!! And I love both patterns, especially the check!!! I so wish I could sew. I need new window treatments desperately (hate the ones I have) but we have 7 windows in our "great room" and that means "ch-ching"!!!!! Plus I have no idea what I want. Love the color I have but just not the design. Of course, what I'd really like to do is redo the whole danged room!!!!!!!!! Furniture and all...a girl can dream!!! Maybe someday:)

    1. I can’t believe how much curtains are, Cheri. That’s the reason I learned to sew. I couldn’t afford what I wanted in our first house. It’s been fun to learn how to do it, just don’t look too close at my seams. Good luck with your own curtain hunt…I hope it’s not as bumpy a ride for you. 😉

  5. Please say you used a coupon at Joann's.
    Love the fabric.

    1. I did!! It was clearance at $5 a yard and then I got 25% off the sale price!! I was so excited!

  6. This shows it's hard when you know what you want and it's hard when you aren't sure! I love what you ended up with in both rooms. Looks gorgeous!

    1. Exactly Mari!! And thanks. I just want to finish them up now.

  7. It is not the destination, it is the journey! Ha-ha, I'm making myself laugh, of course it is the destination.

    1. Well that makes me feel so much better, Amalia!! It certainly was a journey! xo

  8. You are about drapery fabric how I am about wall paint. Have to see it on the wall not with those tiny little paint chips. It took a bit to get there but your fabric choices are perfect. The floral looks so good in your living room with the painting, pillow, and sofas. And of course I'm loving the red! Can't wait to see them when you're finished.

    1. Thanks so much, Marie! I really do have a fabric addiction, but yes, I need to see it mocked up in the space. I have so many little samples in my collection. I'm going to need to make something with them all.

  9. Your husband sounds like mine....he's probably roll his eyes & say 'Why all the drama over curtains?! Just buy something & be done with it." Ha!

    I can't help you at all because I love all the choices you've shone.

    1. Thanks so much, Jenny...and yes, buy it and be done! Wise words, but where's the fun in that. Hahaha!!

  10. They will look gorgeous when you're done Kim. I love how a room can be transformed with curtains. And I really love your choice of patterns. Can't wait to see them finished.

  11. I have some of the same problems, but it does seem to work itself out. So glad for you, i love your choices they will be beautiful, love the pretty flower design on your living room curtains, it all will look very chic!

    1. Thanks Marlene! I love the patterns and the way the rooms look now.

  12. It's so hard when you know what you're looking for and can't find it. I LOVE what you chose for the living room....I lean toward florals!

    1. Ann, that is the story behind every DIY I have...I can't find what I want, so I make it.

  13. Kim, it was a long haul for you but I think it was all worth it, at least from my end. Love your choices. The red and white checks are just the right color and will look so great in the kitchen. As much as I love the checks, the fabric for your living room couldn't be more beautiful. So rich looking but not heavy looking. Gorgeous and you should be very proud of yourself for not settling.. You got just the right thing..Stay well..xxoJudy

    1. Thanks so much, Judy! I think I loved the old way the rooms looked so much, that I needed to find something really outstanding if replacing it was going to happen. It was such a journey but so worth it...especially since I don't plan on creating more curtains in the short term.

  14. Oh YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    So, where did you get the check fabric????? I of course, am in the market for buffalo checks in our family room. I have an old Waverly stripe that is very faded :^(
    Thanks and blessings to you, J

    1. Hi J! That pattern isn't available anymore. The new one I ordered is called Lyme in Berry Natural DL20 from Roth & Tompkins. It's about $24 a yard in my neck of the woods, but that's NY so it might be less elsewhere...and I did see it available online. Hope that helps!!

  15. I understand the paralysis! I've been that way with my bedding! Goodness! I'm finally making progress!

    I LOVE your bargin fabric from JoAnns! So great! And the classic red and white check. Perfect!

    1. Thanks Deanna! That fabric is a little different for me, but I love it.

  16. Its'a best seller!!! Both the curtain saga and the beautiful fabric from JoAnn's :D I wish we had something like that here in South Africa. All our craft shops sell only craft stuff and there's no fabric chain store to be found anywhere. Although that being said, it would probably be a very dangerous place to go shopping. My hubby would never see me again.

    1. Oh yes, fabric is my weakness! There are two small fabric shops around here that I could lost in for hours. My husband will occasionally come with me to keep me on track...I need help in there....I think he's afraid I might not come out!! Haha.

  17. This has been quite the saga but with a great outcome. I like seeing fabric in person. My problem is Country Curtains where I used to buy all my curtains is gone. In NJ we don't have any curtain places I like. Big downer so now I have to buy online and like you I don't enjoy it. I need to know it is right.

    Can't wait to see them hung. I know they will be beautiful


    1. Oh Cindy, I loved Country Curtains. They were my favorite. I miss them. I think I found a website that sells some of the favorites from over there. Here it is if you want to peek!

  18. Hi Kim,
    Well as always, you never disappoint with a fun story and project.
    I am ordering curtains today for our dinning room. I will post the project soon.
    xx oo

  19. Kim,
    What a story...I am like you in that it has to look good in my mind's eye or else it will bug the bejesus out of me... Thanks so much for stopping by!!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

    1. Glad to hear I'm not alone, Debbie!! Hugs to you!