Monday, December 17, 2012

DIY - Window Panels

These are the easiest panels for someone in need of a dark room at night.
It's a very easy project that can be done in under one day - except if, like me, you have a baby and need to stop often to care for your little one. Luckily, I had a great husband that was able to watch her so I could complete this almost uninterrupted.

Window Panel

What you need:

- Fabric (yardage depends on your window size, but I had bought my fabric a long time ago and was able to work with my 6 yards. Also, remember to account for the repeat).
- Black-out lining (again, yardage depends on your window size. I had 6 yards)
- Scissors
- Ruler (L or T shape is better to square the fabric)
- Chalk
- Thread
- Pins
- Sewing machine
- Curtain rod (I used a tension rod since at out rental I can't drill holes on the window walls)

I started by measuring my windows and making a little sketch.

Sketch and notes are very helpful

With my measurements I planned to add 2" on each side, so I can press 1" and then another 1". I added 4" to the hem to have a 2" finished hem (press2", then press 2" - to save fabric, you can instead press 1/2", then press 2"). Lastly, for the top pocket (where the rod will be inserted) I added 3" for a 3/4 rod, so I would have 1 1/2" pocket. You can make that bigger if you prefer, especially if you are going to open and close the panel a lot, so it's easier to slide.

For the black-out lining, I cut it to the finish size, because the lining will fit inside the pressed folds and there is no need for extra bulk. For the ties I cut 2 pieces at 5" wide by 24" long. (I just used the scraps from the sides of my fabric.

My cutting table was filled with other projects, so I went ahead and cut the fabric on the floor.
If you are making more than one panel, you might consider the repeat of your printed fabric. The repeat can be a small one like 1/2" apart or a large one that might measure 36" apart. It all depends on the print you pick. I measured my fabric, then I had to skip a whole 22" to get the same bottom for my other panel. This way my panels will be even when set next to each other. It is a good idea to get some extra yardage when buying your fabric to account for the repeat.
After, measuring and cutting my fabric, I pressed it and then pinned it with the lining inside. Just be careful where you pin the lining since black-out creates a hole where it is pinned. I just pinned it where it was going to be inside the panel folds. You can use a ruler to help you press the hem and side seams all at the same size.

Pressing, steaming and pinning are your best tools!

Prepare to pin a lot. The black-out lining does not stretch as much the outer fabric while going through the sewing machine feeder. I originally pinned the sides at about 12" apart and then while sewing I added more pins as I went at about 3"-4" apart.

Here, the lining is placed inside the panel to be pinned. The sided will be folded 1", then another 1" hiding the lining's raw edges. The hem is folded 2" then another 2". This way, there is no extra bulk.

Pinned and ready to be stitched! Remember to just pin the lining where the outer fabric will cover, to hide holes created by the pins.

Here is a better view of everything pinned together. The top is left open because it will be the last thing to be sewn.

You can see over the pins (just slow down when you get close to it) and occasionally break a needle as I did or you can remove the pins as you sew.
Sew the sides first, then the hem. Lastly, sew the top pocket, but don't close the ends - that's where the rod will go.

Make sure to hold the fabric tight and to sew fairly slow. This will help to avoid broken needles and puckered seams.

For the ties, fold the 24"x5" fabric inside out, so it becomes a 24"x2.5" piece. Sew along one end and the long side with a 1/2" seam allowance. Trim corner, then trim seam allowance to 1/4". Pull the fabric out to get the right side to show.

One tie done, another one to go. Cutting the corner and the seam to 1/4" helps get rid of bulk and give a crispier look.

You can use a wooden spoon or just your fingers. I also used a T-pin to pull the corners out after I reversed it. Press it so it lays flat. Now, fold 1/2" in on the open side to close the tie and top stitch it. Fold the tie in half - this time lengthwise. See a button hole with the two ends touching, so they are attached and then you have a hole to hang the ties.

Well, that's it. You just made a panel. Just hang it up, after sliding the rod through the 1 1/2 pocket. Enjoy your nice dark room!

Hang and enjoy! I think I am ready for a nap!

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