Simple DIY Curtain, using vintage fabric

Simple DIY Curtain with vintage fabric

I love vintage Mid-Century Colonial Revival style. I can still see the living room of my childhood, with an oval braided rug anchoring the colonial maple furniture. That vision evokes many fond remembrances of sweet days for me.

When I found some vintage fabric from that same time period, (in excellent condition! I might add), I decided that it would be perfect for the back kitchen door on our house. After all, our home is a Mid-Century that we’ve been renovating into a Colonial Revival Cottage style.

Have you shopped for vintage fabric lately? Here is my favorite resource for vintage fabric online. (click it for the shopping link) There is truly an amazing amount of vintage fabric still in wonderful condition… sooo fun to weed through and find some great treasures!!

Now to the door that I was making the curtain for…

It is a steel door that was grey primer for the last year until other more pressing projects got finished up. That gave me time to visualize what color I wanted the door to be.

I decided on a pale green to match the vintage shelf sitting close to it out on the back screened porch:

Simple DIY Curtain with vintage fabric

No need to adjust your monitors. The first ‘go-round’ was a flop!

3 things I did wrong…

  • First, I selected this green color in the store, only looking at it under the store lights, HUGE mistake!
  • Plus, I in my impatience I obviously didn’t bother to bring a swatch back home first, to see if it actually matched the vintage green shelf.
  • I also ignored the fact that paint color will change from setting to setting.

I should have taken the time to bring a swatch home, viewing it in the setting where it would be used. I knew better, but thought it’d be okay… I figured it’d be close enough. Well, I was wrong!

It was a jarring lime green. I just got this color finished the day before I hosted book club at my house and didn’t have time to re-paint it, so whatever… I didn’t mention it.

I have no idea if they noticed the glowing from the corner or not, but being the kind ladies they are, they didn’t mention it, (to my face at least, LOL) Truly though, I’m at the point in my life of decorating prowess that I’m not insecure about my selections, (or mistakes… so much for ‘prowess’). I love Julia Child’s advice in cooking for others, but fits with decorating as well.

She said: “I don’t believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and explanations over the food you make. When one’s hostess starts in with self-deprecations such as “Oh, I don’t know how to cook…,” or “Poor little me…,” or “This may taste awful…,” it is so dreadful to have to reassure her that everything is delicious and fine, whether it is or not. Besides, such admissions only draw attention to one’s shortcomings (or self-perceived shortcomings), and make the other person think, “Yes, you’re right, this really is an awful meal!” Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen, or the cake has collapsed — eh bien, tant pis! Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, as my ersatz eggs Florentine surely were, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile — and learn from her mistakes.”

Great advice!

So I didn’t apologize for the door, but the day after book club, I repainted it:

Simple DIY Curtain with vintage fabric

Since I already had the too bright green paint, I added some white and grey to it, just to see if I could mix up a good, toned-down color. Yes! it worked great… but, I don’t advise to do it that way. There are obvious drawbacks to mixing your own custom color like that. Say if I didn’t have enough paint to finish the job, I’d probably never be able to exactly match it for more paint. In this case, I figured since I already had the too-bright-of-green paint, I wasn’t out much by adding some leftover paint to it just to see what I could come up with. Simple DIY Curtain

There’s the vintage green shelf on the screen porch… my new ‘custom mixed’ green coordinates with it so much better now!

Okay, door fixed… now to the window treatment…

The vintage fabric I found, was actually already a pair of old curtains. They were just too large for the door. In fact, I only needed one of the two panels for this project, (the other panel is for a future project, a cabinet curtain in the kitchen).

Laying out the one panel, I was able to cut it in half lengthwise and have the perfect width for the now two panels of the door curtain.

Simple DIY Curtain with vintage fabric

Next, I needed to shorten the curtain. Allowing for the hem allowance and for the curtain rod to sit well above the actual window, I cut off the remainder.

For a detailed tutorial to make simple curtains refer to this post, in it I show simple diagrams detailing the hem allowances etc. 

Then I pressed and pinned the raw edges of the side seams where I cut it in half, and I folded and pinned the bottom hem for stitching.

Simple DIY Curtain with vintage fabric

Of course, folding the fabric over twice on each seam/hem to hide the fabric’s raw edges.

Lastly, to create a simple and easy rod pocket to slip the curtain rod in to, I just sliced the inside layer of the header seam, that was already there from the old curtain:

Simple DIY Curtain with vintage fabric

Having a window treatment on a door, that gets opened and shut frequently, can sometimes cause a ‘floppy’ mess, due to the window treatment flying back and forth with the door movement. So for this curtain, to keep it a little more contained, (as we do use this back door a lot) I added simple ties, made from gingham ribbon. Those two little ties are held with small 3M hooks that are mounted on the door just behind the curtain panels, hidden from view.

Simple DIY Curtain with vintage fabric

A magnetic rod on the top does the trick to firmly hang the curtain from without having to drill into the door.

Simple DIY Curtain with vintage fabric

What a great invention! (Here is a shopping link for some magnetic rods in different colors)  This post shows how I used a magnetic rod in the apartment with a ‘no sew’ door curtain! This curtain on the kitchen door could be made in the same ‘no sew’ way too. I prefer to sew with my sewing machine, (when I have access to it) but I know that some people either don’t have a sewing machine, or are intimidated by it, so a ‘no sew’ approach could work great.

Another great thing about magnetic rods on a door like this is if you change your mind about having the curtain there, it is super easy to take it down!

Simple DIY Curtain with vintage fabric

But for now, I love the simple Colonial Revival Cottage style of the back kitchen door curtain.

Did you know I now offer e-decorating? I can help you with your decorating needs via email, without having to step foot in your home. If you’re interested in more information, visit my e-decorating site: Frame and Frills. I’d love to help you with your project!

Here are more sewing tips and tutorials:

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