Yes, you already know that I love sheers. In my constant effort to make the townhouse look bigger and brighter, I have found an ally in sheer curtains because sheers let in lots of diffused light but blur the edges of the windows, making them appear larger (and of the same size). With fabric in similar shades as our all-white walls, I think sheers make the rooms look bigger.
But sheer curtains have one drawback: they’re sheer. Sometimes a little too sheer. This was the problem in the living room and dining room where a fabric shortage also meant that the living room set looked droopy beside the noticeably skimpier dining room curtains. Not many people can see into these rooms because we have no backyard neighbours, are nicely nestled a distance from the road and have a curtain of trees, but I still wanted a bit more privacy and a neater, less floppy look. So my Mom came to visit after we went to IDS12 and we tweaked the curtains.
|Our backyard – must fix that dilapidated fence this summer . . .|
Instead of ditching the original sheer curtains and starting fresh, we just added on to the sheers with fabric my Mom scored for $2.00/meter, but didn’t use in her own home. Here’s a before & after photo of the sheers, side by side, so you can see the difference before I explain the how-to:
We started with the original sheers, which were simply hemmed top, bottom and sides, and then hung on rings with clips, from Ikea. The bottom hem is wider, to add some substance.
My mom reworked the panels so they are all the same size now. Although the curtain rods are the same length, we had originally made the patio door curtains wider. Now all four panels (two for the window, two covering the door) are exactly the same, creating a more balanced look and making the window and patio doors seem the same size.
Ordinarily, when we sew a hem (yes, occasionally – very occasionally – I butcher something by sewing it myself), we fold it under twice to hide any cut ends but, because these panels are hidden, my Mom just folded the hem over once:
The new fabric has nicely finished edges, so my Mom only hemmed the top and bottom. She made them just a tiny bit longer than the original sheers so the old ones wouldn’t peak out the bottom.
The real genius of this fabric is that it is extra wide, so each of the four new panels is double the width of the original panel. We folded each new panel in half, and slipped in an original panel into each new, folded panel and then clipped everything into place. From the outside edges, the old panel is trapped inside the new panel and is barely visible. We kind of made a “sheer sandwich”. If you rustle around, you can reach the old panel from the middle of the curtains (where they meet) or the bottom. But it just looks like a floaty, gauzy curtain – it is hard to see where one layers begins and ends.
Here are some close up photos, but bare in mind it is really hard to photograph what I’m explaining because these sheers are so, well, sheer.
|The outside edges|
If you were to push open the sheers from the middle, you could peak in between the layers:
The result is more subtly diffused light, a smidge more privacy and a fuller, less skimpy look. The added layers make the sheers more stiff, too, and thus less droopy. The additional layers really make a difference in real life, but it’s hard to capture it on camera. Take my word that this layering trick makes formerly skimpy curtains look much more full (and more expensive, even though this tweak cost only $20).
Here are the old, single panel sheers, the BEFORE. You can even see the window frame & baseboard heater very clearly through the curtains:
With the “sheer sandwich,” the AFTER, the window frame and heater are more obscured, and the curtains aren’t as droopy at the top, where they are hung on the rings. Subtle, I know. Maybe you should come over for a homemade latte and I can show you?
The look could easily be achieved just by clipping two different sheer panels together, sans sandwich. Either way, the look is floaty, less sheer and perfect for the townhouse.