The Bamboo Curtains

9 Jan

These are the new bedroom curtains. Not bad for being made out of scraps, huh?

I love the way they look like a stained glass window. The shadows made by seams remind me of the joints in bamboo, and hence the name.

These guys started as a big bin of scraps at one of the brocade sellers at the fabric market. People generally buy brocade for coats and formal qipao dresses (a qipao has a mandarin collar, assymetrical cord buttons, and thigh-high side slits), and so short lengths are deeply discounted. I got my fabric for $2-3 per meter.

The only real trick to working with brocade is that is frays every time you looks at it, so every edge needs to be serged. I found I even had fraying problems if I left cut pieces un-serged overnight – they frayed more than just-cut pieces after as little ten hours.

The lay-out process

I used a black satin to off-set the bright colors, and used a white flannel on the back to let a bit of light through.

This project was my first foray into using drapery hooks, and I am completely sold. I’ve done tab-top curtains previously, and they never slide as easily as I’d like. I used a heavy-duty drapery tape that has little pockets that the hooks slide into.

The tape would have been super easy to use, except for the spacing of the pockets.  I wanted all the pleats to line up with the black sections, so I just used the tape for reinforcement. I sewed it onto the lining fabric, attached the lining to the curtain panel along the top seam, and folded it over. This made for a clean edge along the top of the curtain. I sewed the pleats through all layers in black thread on the black fabric so there’s no stitch line on the colored sections.

Completed pleats and drapery tape

Here’s a view of the completed pleats, and a picture of what the drapery hooks look like.  The end with the ball goes into the pocket on the tape, or into pleats you make your self. The other end goes through a small loop on the bottom of a curtain ring.

Drapery hook

I highly recommend this type of hardware, and I wish I’d been using it all along – I’m thrilled with the results.

Light through the curtains on a cloudy day