Saturday, April 3, 2010

Home Economics 101 – Made Our Own Curtains!

Our December trip to Houston taught us much about the Trek and the realities of living in it from day to day. One of the big things we discovered was the difficulty with the windshield privacy curtains…I think they were the original ones when the Trek was brand new. Anyway, they were made of a stiff material and tightly pleated so they “accordion’ed” into the tie-back areas on the driver and passenger side windows. They were also just a tad bit too long which made it very difficult to smoothly pull them across the windshield.

Every night when we closed these curtains and every morning when we opened them, it was a struggle that quickly became fairly irritating. Consuelo and I agreed that fighting with them for 5 or 6 months would make one of us go insane, so we decided to replace the curtains.

We started looking into our options and soon learned we had a couple choices: we could order some custom-made curtains through numerous on-line vendors that would cost us over $350, or we could buy ready-to-hang curtains off the shelf at Camping World for about $140. So we tried the latter but discovered there were very limited colors to choose from and the standard length of 36 inches was about 3 inches too short for what we needed. So, we returned those curtains and scratched that approach. We really did not want to spend over $350 on custom curtains in colors we could only view online and so we decided to just make our own. How hard could that be, really? 

So we made a bunch of measurements and examined the hardware and construction of the existing curtains. And we asked my mother – who used to be a sewing instructor – for some advice, and she offered assistance if needed. So the three of us (Mom, Consuelo and I) headed off to Joanne’s Fabric Store to find material for our new curtains. As luck would have it (and as is often the case at Joanne’s – I suspect), they were having a sale and we found something we liked for less than $8 a yard! The fabric we chose is a light upholstery material with an ivory/cream background and dark brown cheetah spots - a perfect pattern and color scheme for our Safari Trek!

From Joanne’s we bought more than enough fabric, pleating tape, and thread to make the curtains. We also needed a small collection of hardware to hang them on the existing I-beam track. We got the curtain carriers from Camping World and Wright’s ceiling pleater drapery hooks from Create For Less.

Once we washed the new fabric, we headed over to Mom’s house to begin our project. Although I have a sewing machine, I keep it stored in a closet (like a trophy)… but my mother sews a lot so her machine is always set up, ready to go and she has a nice sewing room with a big sewing table. Mom helped us figure out how much to turn over for hems and showed us how to pin it up. Then, she took the material and sat down at the sewing machine and started sewing.  It just could not have gone better than that!

As the project evolved, and after examining the pleating tape, drapery hooks, and looking at the track the curtains would be hanging on, we realized we did not have enough clearance between the top of the curtain and the track. But, no problem! We headed to Home Depot to see if we could find some tiny S hooks to add between the drapery hooks and the curtain carrier hardware. They didn’t have S hooks small enough so we bought some small “J link” chain and then used 3 links from the chain on each drapery hook to add the needed space between the top of the drapery hook and the curtain carrier doo-dad. Actually, Consuelo sat with a pair of needle nose pliers and did this… it was a little too tedious for me but she didn't seem to mind!

Click here to see photos of our new curtains

All totaled, with fabric, pleating tape, thread, drapery hooks, curtain carrier hardware, and chain our new curtains cost us $210 - a $140 savings! And we got a fabric that matches the décor inside the Trek plus we had enough material left over for Mom to make three throw pillows for the couch!

We send a big THANK YOU and hug to Mom for her help!


Carol said...

Good choice on the fabric, so nice to see the inside of your RV. Happy Easter

Unknown said...

Looks Great!!!

RognCath said...

Looks good - nice safari theme you've got going!!!

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