The Schoolhouse originally had seven tall windows – three on each side and one in the front. We took out two to create the kitchen so there are five left, curtained in matching blue(ish). The one in the front looks out on the front porch and road and across to our neighbor’s house directly across the street. Even though we’re the last house and hardly anyone comes up the road I keep the curtain closed but it’s kind of dark and for months I’ve been meaning to make a privacy curtain so that we can keep the blue(ish) curtain open during the day and not be in a fishbowl.
Finally on a trip to Ikea I spot the perfect curtain: a sheer bright white with a pattern that, when gathered fairly tightly, will provide a lot of privacy while letting light through. The curtain panels are 98 inches long, unhemmed, with a casing at the top. I need 60 inches. All I have to do is trim them down and fold over to create a casing at the bottom. I unfold them, measure out 60 inches plus 3 inches for a casing and cut. Simple as pie, right? Not so much.
When I shake out the pieces, I have one piece that I expected – a 63 inch piece of curtain with the casing at one end. But instead of a second, identical piece, I have a 63 inch piece of fabric, and then a 35 inch piece of fabric with a casing on it.
I’m confused. Mystified, in fact. I turn the pieces over and around, laying them top to bottom and back to front and I cannot figure out what on earth has happened but then it finally dawns on me: Ikea folds their curtain pairs TOP TO BOTTOM, instead of TOPS TOGETHER. And by not realizing this and cavalierly chopping them both down together, I have RUINED one of the curtain panels. I hate when I do something like this and I am frustrated and in a bad mood so I just crumple up all the fabric and put it away for a few weeks and try not to think about it.
But a few weeks later I haven’t made it back to Ikea to buy another pair and the crumpled ball of fabric is still sitting there and the front window is still dark. And then I get an idea. Years ago, as a child, I read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books so many times I practically memorized them and I am still obsessed with the idea of the milk-fed pumpkin in Farmer Boy even though I actually tried it once and it didn’t work. And I think of the conversation Laura had with Ma when she was making sheets for her hope chest. Instead of folding the fabric together in a traditional seam, she asked, couldn’t she lap the finished selvage of one piece over the raw edge of the other? “I believe they’ll be flatter and even more serviceable,” she said. (And no, I am not looking at the book; I told you I was obsessed.)
What would Laura do indeed. I took the 35 inch reminder of my stupidity and carefully cut off the casing. Then I lapped the casing over the raw edge of the 63-inch reminder of my stupidity and VWOLLER, as my dad would say.
Then I made a casing in each panel at the bottom and hung it with those cheap expandable rods that fit inside the frame. It’s exactly what I imagined, plus or minus a little pioneer ingenuity.