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Why I choose handmade

Happy Tuesday loves and welcome back.

Last week I talked to you about window treatments for traditional spaces because I was planning to sew up some roman blinds for the master bedroom. Well I managed to get them finished so I wanted to briefly tell you about my experience.


Blogs and videos will often talk about the 'what' and the 'how' but very rarely the why. I think that part's important in many ways because what is right for me may not be the right option for you.




Why?

Let me start by saying that I do not sew my own window treatments for the love of sewing! That may surprise you, coming from a creative background and having now sewn 8 blinds for our home. Sewing is quite a task for me. Usually I am sewing in poorly lit conditions as I need to wait until my children are in bed so I have time and space to work- not ideal. Then there is the pressure of getting them right because I am using my hard earned cash to buy fabric. One wrong snip and it's game over. Lastly, it takes time, which I am finding more and more difficult to find any spare. No, it is not the love of sewing which prompts me to sew- It is merely being restricted by budget.


Seamstresses are on to a good thing. Having curtains and blinds made are hundreds of pounds. Truly though, you couldn't pay me to sew for a living. It isn't easy, so absolute kudos to those who do. I remember the stress of measuring up for James Hare silk, hand sewn hemmed curtains, piping- the lot and getting the measurement wrong, meaning that the curtains didn't skim the floor neatly! Luckily, although I did lose money, I didn't have to personally remake them as the life saver head of department sorted it for me. Having to explain that one to my client was painful and I could have cried with her!


We just don't have the budget to spend on beautiful professionally made curtains. I'm not a fan of ready made, off the shelf curtains and blinds because usually my windows are too wide or too long. I detest short curtains and I like a white lining, so it looks clean and tidy from the outside (does this make me fussy?) Also, pencil pleats wouldn't be my first choice. I guess what I'm saying is that I have expensive taste. In order for me to buy what I really really want, I would have to spend a long time saving and since I am capable of sewing, I suck up the dread of getting them wrong and get to work.


I have been lucky in the past to buy batch ends of Sanderson fabric for my children at a fraction of the RRP. Designer blinds for very little money! This part of the process definitely is an incentive to keep going with the DIY.



I don't want to paint a picture of perfection here. I am not a seamstress. I don't have a great big cutting table to make sure my measurements are precise and unfortunately my cutting skills are questionable but I make it work.


So tell me how?

This last task saw me making 3 roman blinds for the master bedroom using a plain natural linen. I purchased the fabric from https://www.the-millshop-online.co.uk

In more recent years I have started buying roman blind kits, for a more professional look (and because I didn't want to screw wall cleats in to my PVC windows). They are made of aluminium and have a metal chain pulley to raise and lower the blinds. They have been so much easier than sewing my own rod pockets. I purchase my blind kits from https://www.terrysfabrics.co.uk/products/connect-cassette-aluminium-roman-blind-kit


How it went?

This time around, I have actually really enjoyed it. It is the first time I have had broad daylight to sew. Both my children have been at school and I took a few days off work to get them all finished. In my haste to finish them, I sewed them up in what seemed like no time at all, only to find that 2 of the blinds were 1cm too wide!!!!!!


note to self- read and re read instructions before cutting fabric. The reason my blinds didn't fit is because I was having two blinds side by side in a square bay. I guess this is where my experience of window treatments helped me...or would have if I had stopped long enough to think it through (I would recommend cutting your head rail to size first so you know how wide your blinds need to be). I didn't cut my head rail first. I measured the windows but what I forgot to do was deduct the width of the mechanism (which is an additional measurement to the fabric width) meaning that there was no room to physically fit the blinds in. I had to unpick one half of each blind, alter and then stitch them back together. Frustrating but I worked late in to the night to get them finished (with my husband amending the headrail and rods).


Are they perfect? No. Are they good enough? Absolutely! To the untrained eye, these blinds look professionally made. I have a designer look for what probably cost me £250 (for 3 blinds!!)


So although I don't always love the process, it is totally worth my time and energy to get exactly what I want at a price I can afford. Next on my list is two pairs of curtains.... I haven't made them before but I will give them my best shot!


See you next time.

Lots of Love


Mayajoy x

work in progress. Bright patterned curtains still to make




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