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Posted: July 10, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Best laid plans

I went to my sister’s last weekend for the express purpose of making yet more curtains. This time for my granddaughter.
We calculated that together we have made at least 30 sets of curtains (sets, not individual curtains) and she had made at least 10 by herself and the same for me.

Why do we make so many curtains? Well, for me, it is the size of my windows. Store-bought curtains won’t fit them. For my sister, she likes things to match and she is picky. Making curtains insures that she gets just what she wants. For our children, getting home-made curtains means free window coverings. Maybe once or twice one of them has actually bought the material, but that is all. And that doesn’t count lining and thread and curtain weights and all that stuff.

I had washed and dried the material, ironed it and cut it out. I had hemmed the curtain material and lining. I had also made the tabs (the curtains were to have tabs in front of the material) before I went to my sisters. We were making curtains for a double window and a single window. The curtains are floor-length and made from sheets that match the new comforter in the bedroom makeover.

I hoped we would be able to make quick work of it. But that never happens. My husband asked me how long I thought it would take, and I told him it will take us at least two hours of talking and measuring and figuring before we even start.
And that was true. I got to my sister’s about 1 p.m. Sunday. At 3 p.m., after spreading the cut-out and hemmed sheets and the floor and much measuring, we discovered that the pattern on the sheets was printed a little crooked. We couldn’t use the pattern as a guide to cut the sheets (as I had done). We managed to get the cut as straight as we could. There will be a little sliding down on the right side of the curtains in the pattern, but it couldn’t be helped. The hem is exactly even with the pattern, but it gets a little off as you go up the curtains. We decided to make the hem even as the top would be obscured with the tabs and the slight tilt would not be that noticeable.

I used one queen-sized flat sheet and two extra-long single flat sheets for the curtains. But since lining is cut smaller than curtains, I bought one queen-sized sheet and one double sheet for the lining.

It was not until we were about to sew the lining to the printed sheets that we realized my mistake. In my defense, I do not have a queen-sized bed in my house. Just a king and double beds. I thought queen-size meant it was wider, but (as my sister told me with a withering look) it also means longer. The double sheet was not long enough and unusable. So at 4 p.m., still not having sewn a single stitch, we got in the car and headed for the nearest box store.

My sister lives near a peach orchard outside of Hollonville Unincorporated. The nearest big box store is 30 minutes away. A trip there and back and a stop at a drive-thru for dinner and we were back to her house close to 6 p.m.

Nothing ever seems to go as planned when we sew. I think we think too much. It never fails that we have to go to the store for something else. One time we were making poodle skirts out of pink felt for my granddaughters. We didn’t have a pattern. The plan was to fold the fabric twice, cut out a circle for the waist and bottom and then just add a waistband. Again it took us two hours of debate and planning with newspaper patterns. The only problem was after all that figuring we only folded the material once and cut it before we realized our mistake. We had to go 45 minutes to a cloth store and buy more felt. And my sister insisted on a pattern.

We did finish the curtains Monday about 2:30 p.m.

But when it comes to our sewing, the best laid plans (and oh do we plan to avoid problems) usually don’t work.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be contacted at pnbtravis@att.net.

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