Do It Once, Then Do It Right
Updated: Jan 15, 2019
Well, the countdown is on until baby comes… less than 1 month until my due date!
As expected, I’ve been spending a great deal of time and effort on baby-related crafts and getting the nursery ready. I’ll do a more comprehensive nursery décor post soon, because there’s lots to tell you about, but there’s plenty to write about just in the sewing department alone!
With the help of my handy mama and her seamstress skills, I wanted to make curtains for the baby room. A great deal of searching and deliberation went into the fabric selection, button selection, pleat style, etc. I didn’t have a pattern to follow so we were going off of my mom’s past curtain-making experience and the knowledge she had built up in her head. As we calculated measurements and she walked me through the steps, I honestly absorbed very little of what she was talking about. But I followed her every step of the way and worked with her as we measured, cut, pinned, and pressed our way toward some adorable window coverings for our little guy.
There was one hitch. My parents were going on vacation to Belize for a week. Even though my mom and I spent a full day working on the curtains together before they left, there were still many steps to go (like, for example, actually stitching the fabric and sewing the pleats… minor detail). She gave me detailed instructions and flew off toward warmer weather (while we were hit with a huge snow dump and -25 degree Celcius weather).
Before she left, I started on the hem for the lining, and I made a mistake because we were doing this fancy double-blind stitch hem that I still have a hard time wrapping my head around. But my mom had said “if you can repeat the same mistake on the second lining, then it should be fine and consistent”. So I had to figure out how to repeat my mistake…and I did! Achievement unlocked. Then I worked on the hem for the curtains, which I did properly thank you very much, and I was so proud of myself that not only did I repeat my mistake when I wanted to, but I didn’t repeat it when I didn’t want to. Sewing success! Then I laid the lining and curtain fabric together before I started stitching together the seams…and something wasn’t matching up. Well, it turns out my half-mistake/half-success was screwing all the measurements up. And the lining was not going to be the right length in proportion to the curtain. So I took it all apart and started again. My mom has made the joke before when we were sewing: “do it once, then do it right”. So I guess that’s what I had to do.
Then I moved onto the next step: stitching the seams together. Again, something wasn’t adding up. We miscalculated one of the measurements and the entire width of the lining was now off by an inch on each side. So back to the cutting board I went (literally) and trimmed it again before stitching the seams together.
At this point I felt discouraged by the amount of re-work I had to do, and nervous to move any further without the supervision of my mom, and stopped working on the curtains until she got back. When she got home, she laughed and said “do it once, then do it right” as she had said in the past…to which Navin jumped in with “or do it six times, then do it right”. So true…
Now that she was home we did the final steps together of sewing the tops of the curtains, sewing the pleats (again, several measurement recalculations later, after pinning and re-pinning) and all that was left for me to do was tack the pleats down and sew on the adorable buttons we had found. These parts had to be done by hand, so I spent a few nights in front of the TV finishing off these adorable nursery curtains. Or so I thought… You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?
After tacking down all the pleats, and sewing on all 22 buttons, something seemed off. I texted a picture to my mom who confirmed my suspicions that something wasn’t right. Blurg. Luckily it was an easy fix and just one pleat needed to be fixed, and we were able to finish the curtains off in just a few minutes.
Ta-da! Here they are:
I love them so so much. I’d love to share the instructions of how to make these with you, but I honestly don’t think I can!
The next sewing project we took on was a bedskirt for the crib… because it turns out those can be pretty expensive (and boring)! Plus, I saw this adorable idea of how to tie in the curtains with a bedskirt on Pinterest (and had leftover curtain fabric) and thought “I can do that” as Pinterest tends to make me say about everything. Luckily, while the math and measuring was enough to make my head hurt, this project went much more smoothly (thank goodness mama was around!) and turned out to be equally adorable. And we didn’t even follow the Pinterest girl’s steps, we actually made a real bedskirt that goes all the way over and around the frame.
I also used some of the leftover curtain fabric to make an accent pillow for the glider, which as it turns out was the easiest part of all.
There’s a lesson to be learned here: Along the same lines of “do it once, then do it right” (or in my case, “do it six times, then do it right”), don’t be discouraged by mistakes. It’s good to take the steps you can to avoid those mistakes…think through the steps you need to take, measure, sanity check… but if you happen to make mistakes along the way, don’t beat yourself up. It’s better to take on a challenge, fail, and course correct so that you can succeed than it would be to not try at all. You might just end up with adorable curtains, and a bit more curtain-making knowledge than you had before.
“The only mistake in life is the lesson not learned.” – Albert Einstein