Curtains: to make or not to make?

I had grand plans of making my own curtains for all of about 48 hours. I had done SO much research on how to sew them, add a lining, or even make a no-sew version if I wanted. I was in a crafty mood and I knew I had a short window to take advantage of it, or I’d move on to other grand plans. That’s kind of my M.O. I know now to take advantage of my moods because who knows how long they will stay! So I went to Joann’s in search of fabric and with a 40% off one item coupon on my phone. There I had the depressing realization that fabric, especially the home d├ęcor kinds I was interested in, is certainly not cheap. Even at 40% off, making my own curtains wasn’t a bargain. Especially when you consider that you can get pretty cute curtains at Target or West Elm for equal the price or even less than what it would cost to make yourself. But Heather, you may ask, can you really put a price on something you make with your own two hands? Isn’t the accomplishment worth something? Sure, it can be. But I think it depends on the cost difference, especially when you factor in the time spent.

I realize it’s a little unfair to make comparisons to Target prices, but I want to be realistic in that Target is one of the first places I would go to search for housewares like this (and no, they’re not paying me).

Take these curtains from Target, currently on sale at $23.79 per panel.
I knew I wanted something similar to this color scheme -- a little cream, a little yellow. Neutral, if you will. So I went to Joann's to check out fabric. I can't remember exactly what print I was looking at, only that the brand was Waverly and that the colors were similar. Something like this, which I found on Joann's website: 

How much do you think this would cost per yard? Naive Heather would've thought, what, $10 a yard? Try $59.99. PER YARD. And fine, it was on sale for 40% off. But that'll still run you $35.99 per yard, and I needed about five yards per window. $180 curtains were not in my budget, especially when it would've taken me at least a couple hours to iron and sew everything (and that's highly optimistic).

I know you can find cheaper fabric. But isn't the point of making your own curtains getting to choose exactly what you want? And apparently my tastes run expensive. But don't worry, my hopes were dashed for all of about a minute. I flew the white flag and ended up at Target, like I usually do.

And done.
They took a while to grow on me (all patterns do) but now I think I love them. I don't know what it is about me that finds it so hard to commit to housewares. I just keep thinking that something better will come along (a cuter pattern, a better sale) and it keeps me from pulling the trigger. But sometimes I find that you just have to bring something home and put it up for a while to see how it melds with your space. As I like to say, you can always take it back!

4 comments:

Megs said...

Sad realization, right? Been there. I have actually been able to make my own curtains for cheaper than I would have been able to buy them for, but not always. I have a mix in my house. If you choose the cheaper cotton fabric with a muslin lining sewn in, sometimes you can get the panels for under $25 with a JoAnn coupon. Or, if you're determined like I was to have those big, bold, striped curtains (and refused to paint), you can get creative and use bedsheets (http://megeletto.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/diy-black-white-striped-curtains/). Admittedly, sometimes I just like the already-made ones, because let's be serious-- sewing curtains isn't for the feint of heart.

Heather Seymour said...

Thanks for the tips Megan! I never thought of sheets, that is creative!

kw said...

oh gosh, I'm learning this about fabric lately too.
My mom laments how sewing stuff was actually thrifty back in the day, but now you have to pay to do it as a hobby..like skiing or something.

as far as making baby clothes or small stuff, I actually buy extra large shirts from goodwill and cut them down for fabric :) we have to be much more creative nowadays for where to get it from!
(I like your new curtains, tho :)

Heather Seymour said...

So true! I'm in the middle of teaching myself some sewing basics and I keep on having to buy stuff... but right now it's more of a start-up cost and once I have my tools I can focus more on fabric or altering what I alrady have. Goodwill is a great idea!