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Fabric Shower Curtain
This beautiful shower curtain is guaranteed to improve your singing in the shower by 110%. We’re not sure how we will ever back up that claim, but since everyone figures they sound like Beyonce when the water’s running, how can we go wrong? We chose two coordinating Waverly Sun N Shade fabrics: one with a bold motif for the main curtain, the other in a smaller design for the valance. Pom poms provide a pop of color. Toss that plain plastic shower curtain and go for gorgeous instead.
But wait, don’t these kind of fabrics have to be dry cleaned?! A “dry clean only” notice makes many sewing enthusiasts reluctant to work with outdoor fabrics, like Waverly’s Sun N Shade, because they’re afraid it will be too expensive to care for. However, the recommendation to “dry clean only” is often listed because consumers don’t/won’t follow washing instructions carefully. Manufacturers fall back on this professional cleaning warning in an attempt to avoid problems attributed to improper care. Here’s the inside scoop (from our friends at Waverly): although dry cleaning certainly is an option, it isn’t your only choice. These fabrics can be spot cleaned and even laundered if you closely follow a few simple rules. Find out more in our Waverly fabric care article, which details steps for spot cleaning, extra protection, and even how to machine wash your project. The poms are polyester and so can stand up to laundering as well.
With a fabric shower curtain, even one in as tough a fabric as Waverly’s Sun N Shade, we still recommend using a plastic liner. We purchased an off-the-shelf plastic shower curtain liner at Target® that was the appropriate size for our curtain. It featured 12 grommets across the top and we used the liner as our template to place the valance grommets. This way, once hung together, it was a perfect fit.
Another great thing about working with Waverly Sun N Shade is the great selection of colors and prints. From wild and whimsical to traditional, there’s an option for every bathroom decorating scheme.
Our sample shower curtain finishes at approximately 72″ wide x 72″ tall, which is a standard size for a tub/shower curtain. You could certainly adjust smaller or larger as needed to best fit your opening.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional, but helpful to keep a straight, narrow seam across the wide widths of this project
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: As mentioned above, our instructions and yardage are for a 72″ x 72″ shower curtain, and the fabric listed includes extra to allow for the perfect center seam match up of both the main curtain and the valance.
- 5 yards of a 54″+ wide outdoor fabric with a large motif; we used 54″ Sun N Shade by Waverly
- 2 yards of a 54″+ wide outdoor fabric with a coordinating but smaller motif; we used 54″ Sun N Shade by Waverly
- 6½ yards of large polyester pom poms in a contrasting color; we used vintage turquoise poms from the S4H stash
- TWELVE ½” – ¾” metal grommets; we used a Dritz Home 7/16″ Grommet Kit
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- From the fabric for the main curtain, cut TWO 38½” wide x 75″ high panels.
NOTE: We have a good tutorial on how to cut large panels using a rotary cutter.
- From the fabric for the valance, cut TWO 38½” wide x 24″ high panels.
NOTE: For BOTH sets of panels, fussy cut one panel first, carefully centering a main motif along one edge. Then cut the second panel along the same motif so the two panels can be perfectly aligned (more on the seaming technique below).
- Cut the poms into three equal lengths (apx. 78″). These lengths are slightly longer than needed, but the extra will allow you the flexibility to best place the poms along the edge.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Assemble the panels
- Both the valance and the main curtain panels are seamed and finished in the same manner.
- Along the raw edge that will become the center on one panel, press back the edge ½”, which is the width of your seam allowance. Press well; you want a strong, visible crease line.
- Place this folded edge over the raw center edge of the other panel, adjusting the placement of the folded edge until the motif is an exact match. Pin in place.
- Flip over to the wrong side, re-pin as needed along the entire height of the panel. The raw edges of the seam allowance may be slightly off-set depending on your motif matching.
- Using the original ½” crease line as your guide, stitch the entire height of the panel.
- We finished the seam allowance for both panels with a Mock French Seam. We have a full tutorial on this process, which you can find here. In summary, press open the seam allowance, then press the raw edge of each side of the allowance in toward the center (toward the seam).
- Bring the folds together and press to one side.
- Move the main fabric out of the way, and edgestitch the folded allowances together.
- This leaves a single, perfectly matched seam visible from the front and a tidy seam allowance on the back.
NOTE: Remember, you are seaming both the main curtain panel and the valance.
NOTE: We originally designed this valance to be cut into three strips then seamed back together with the poms secured within those seams. However, we discovered that keeping a slice 100% perfect across an intricate motif for 76″ was challenging at best. Instead, we came up with the following tuck-and-stitch method. The result is the same, but it is much easier to press precisely across the width, and you can adjust the fold slightly as needed should your printed motif not be perfectly straight and true.
- Find the seamed valance panel the three lengths of poms. You’ll also need your iron and tape measure.
- Place the valance wrong side up on your ironing surface.
- Measure 7½” down from the top raw edge. Fold the fabric at this measurement and press. The fabric is folded wrong sides together. Continue to measure, fold and press across the entire width of the valance. Then, pin in place near the folded edge – you don’t need a ton of pins, just enough to keep the fold in place when you flip to the other side in the next step.
- When pinned in place, flip the valance panel over so it is now right side up on your ironing surface with the folded edge along the top. Fold down this top edge 1″, creating a little lip. Remove the pins from the back that held the first fold in place and re-pin the lip in place from the front. Then reach around back and fold up the original top section of the panel. The panel is now completely right side up and flat with just the little tuck running the entire width.
- Find one length of poms and slip the pom insertion tape under the tuck. Pin in place across the width of the panel.
- Adjust the starting and ending points of your poms so the first pom is about 2½” in from the raw side edge of the valance. Trim away the excess poms if necessary and trim the pom tape flush with the fabric.
- Edgestitch the poms in place, securing both the poms and the tuck with this one seam.
- Repeat to create a second horizontal tuck 4″ below the first tuck. To do this, measure 4″ down from the bottom of the first tuck, fold the fabric under at this measurement and press. Continue to measure, fold and press across the entire width of the valance. Pin in place as above – just enough to hold the fold in place as you work with the wide width of fabric.
- When pinned in place, and with the folded edge still running along the bottom, fold under this edge an additional 1″, creating a little lip towards the back. Then reach around back and fold down the entire bottom section of the valance panel. So the panel is once again completely right side up and flat. This second little tuck is now on the front, running the entire width.
- As above, insert a second length of pom under the tuck and stitch in place.
- There is one final tuck, but before creating it, you need to make a 1½” simple hem along the bottom edge of the valance. To do this, fold back the bottom raw edge ½” and press, then fold back an additional 1″ and press again.
- Pin in place, then stitch across the entire width, running the seam close to the inside fold.
- When the hem is complete, create the third and final horizontal tuck 4″ below the second tuck. Measure 4″ down from the bottom of the second tuck, fold the fabric under at the measurement and press. Continue to measure, fold and press across the entire width of the valance.
- Create the tuck in the same manner as the second tuck: fold under the pressed edge 1″ then reach around and bring the hemmed edge down into place.
- Find the final length of poms, and as above, slide it into position under the third tuck.
- Pin and then edgestitch across the entire width to secure the trim and the tuck.
- Make a 2″ simple hem along both sides of the valance. To do this, fold in each raw side edge 1″ and press.
- Fold an additional 1″, press again and pin in place. Stitch in place, running the seam close to the inside fold.
NOTE: This 2″ simple hem is the reason you started and ended your poms approximately 2½” in from the raw edge.
- Set the valance aside.
Hem the curtain
- The main curtain panel requires a 2″ simple hem along both sides and across the bottom.
- Make the side hems first. Fold in each raw side edge 1″ and press. Fold an additional 1″, press again and pin in place. Stitch in place, running the seam close to the inside fold.
- Fold up the bottom raw edge 1″ and press. Fold up an additional 1″, press again and pin in place. Stitch in place, running the seam close to the inside fold. This creates a simple square overlap at each bottom corner.
Attach the valance to the curtain and add the grommets
NOTE: The fold-and-topstitch method we show for this step in the construction was chosen as the best way to secure with the least amount of bulk in the seam allowance.
- Find both the valance and the curtain panel.
- Along the entire top of the valance, press back the raw edge ½”.
- Along the entire top of the curtain, press forward the raw edge ½”.
- With both the valance and the curtain facing right side up, align the top folded edges, sandwiching the raw edges between the layers. Pin in place across the entire width.
- Using a Quarter Inch Seam foot if possible, stitch the layers together across the entire width.
- To add the grommets, find your shower curtain liner to use as a template. Align the top of the liner with the top folded/seamed edges of the curtain and mark each grommet hole. We used 12 grommets.
- Cut the holes for the grommets through all the layers.
- Following the manufacturer’s instruction or our dandy Sew4Home How To Install Metal Grommets tutorial, insert each grommet.
NOTE: It is important your grommets are close to the top of your curtain. Too low and the curtain will bunch up under the rod, which looks bad. The top of our grommets are less than ½” from the top of the curtain.
- We used pretty roller rings to attach our liner and curtain on the rod.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild
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