This week is Design Week in Portland and I love that my job allows me to see some of the serious talent this city has to offer.  Today, I dropped by Show PDX 2012 and was blown away by amazing custom furniture.  Some pieces were all about clean lines and beautiful function… others were true sculpture.  I took a ton of photos and will share more details later this week.

Instead, I already had on deck to tell you about one of my own customized projects.  In July when we upgraded Tessa’s drapery panels, I decided to give Evan’s a boost as well. Both kids have west facing rooms and although they have amazing views, they get a lot of sun making them the warmest rooms in the house.

The Project:

I had picked up Evan’s panels at Target when we re-decorated his room several years ago. The fabric was the perfect look for the space, but the panels themselves had a few issues:

  • They were too narrow for the window.
  • They were also a little too long.  At one point his bed was in front of the window and now the cabinet is in front of it.  The fabric hanging to the floor continually gets bunched up and looked messy.
  • The panels needed to be lined to help reduce the amount of heat and light the room gets in the summer.
  • I really wanted to raise the height of the current rod.  We had originally hung it just above the window and I wanted to take it all the way to the ceiling.

Determining Size – Width:

Since we were knee deep in other projects, I decided to make this as easy as possible on myself.  I knew I wanted to extend the curtain width by adding a border of red fabric (that I already owned) to the outside of each panel.  I then let the width of the blackout fabric determine how wide the border would be.

The original curtain panel was 43 inches across and the blackout fabric was 54 inches.  I cut my border fabric 12 inches wide giving me an 11 inch border with half inch seams.

I attached the new red border to the stripe curtain panel.

Determining Size – Length:

I then needed to decide how long the panels should be.  Currently, Evan’s cabinet is in front of the window so I figured that the length should come down below the window sill, but skim the cabinet… 63″.  This also accounts for the added inches we needed to raise the curtain rod.

Putting it All Together:

Once the blackout fabric and newly widened curtain was cut to size, it was just a matter of spreading everything out, front sides together, then pinning and sewing.  I stitched the sides and bottom together, leaving the top open to turn the panel right side out and to do some finishing work. Seriously… it was like creating a giant pillow.

Finishing Details:

I also created an additional tab for the top of the new red border so that the new section would hang nicely from the rod.  The existing tabs were 2.25 inches wide and 3.5 inches long.  I then cut a piece of the red fabric 4.5 inches wide and 7 inches long.  This allowed me to fold and stitch a long strip that I could then fold in half creating a loop.

The tab was ready to attach.

Finally, I added the tab along the top making sure that it was spaced the same distance apart as all the others.  And then I stitched the entire top closed.

The hardest part of working on a project like this is the scale.  You are working with A LOT of fabric and the blackout can make the whole project HEAVY.  I inevitably stabbed myself multiple times with the pins which made me want to yell and throw things.

But the results were worth it.  Evan’s room was much cooler this summer and I like that the window treatments go all the way to the ceiling and no longer bunch up at the cabinet.

Have you customized any furniture or home decor lately? Have you seen any new local art in your city?  What’s the most memorable piece of furniture you’ve ever seen? Looking forward to sharing my favorite with you Friday.