Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mistreating with Burlap

My friend Courtney (aka, High Maintenance) called me crazy when I told her I was going to hang burlap in J. Smooth's windows for curtains. And perhaps I am. To go into a major sewing and notions store and not know the proper terminology...I felt a bit crazy. That I can concur.
"Yes, can you point me in the direction of the burlap?" (Check.)
"Excuse me, can you tell me where I can find those things that you nail into furniture.?" (Blank stare) "You know, you nail the cloth into the furniture......." (decorative tacks?) "Yes!"
" I am sorry to bother you again, but can you show me where the glue is.....for seams?" (Are you sewing this project you are working on?) Seriously.....
"No. I am gluing. I am mistreating, like the Nester suggest. I cannot treat, but I can mistreat". (blank look)
"I don't sew after the traumatic moment that turned me from it when I was 12". (Go on!) "In Mrs. Berryhill's 7th grade Home Ec. class, I was the very last person to finish my apron. The class could not go onto the best part of home ec....the reason everyone joins home ec..... until I finished. That would be cooking. They did, however sit in the cooking room to go over terminology, leaving me alone in another room to finish my sewing. For two weeks, I sewed alone in the room, while they waited for me to finish. It was very embarrassing. Never again did I attempt to sew. Several hundred dollars of therapy have helped me to get past it.....but never, never will I sew again.
Ok, I added on the last sentence for effect. But the rest of the story....true.
"Sew" (to speak)....I got my notions from the store and came home to work on the curtains for J. Smooth's room. I wanted burlap. I wanted something raw and unpretentious. Despite Courtney's lack of confidense in my choice.
"Burlap? Like a sack?",asked Courtney.
"Yes. Like a sac"......

So, I took my ugly , UGLY white curtain rods and painted them black.

Then, at the end of the burlap, I just folded the burlap over about 2 inches, to make sort of a cuff, to give it more of a structured appearance on the rod. Notice the raw edges.....I don't care that they aren't "perfect".

Then, I glued the edge down with the clear tacky glue.
Finally, I took some shower hooks that I also purchased at the sewing store
I unhooked it and slid it right through the burlap. It works perfect, sliding right through the natural holes in the burlap.

Then I just strung it through the rods. And wah-la......instant no sew curtains.

Mistreated the best I could. As the Nester says, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."

Lookie there at that burlap curtain!
And do notice how the walls and ceiling turned out. To save myself some $$, I went down the basement and began pulling out old paint. I decided to play (as High Mae likes to say) "Sherman Williams" and mix three shades together: white, a grey (seedpearl) and a blue.....and I got the color I used to paint the walls of J. Smooth's room. I painted the walls and the ceiling the same color. No cost paint. I love that!
Tomorrow.....I will show you the headboard I made from the shutters.


justabeachkat said...

You go girl!


Keetha said...


I find it fascinating that you hung the curtains with the folded over portion, what home-ec class would call the "wrong" side out. Any special decorating reasons for that?

Keetha said...

Oh - - - and I am SO with you on the 'never sew again' thing, and I didn't even have the trauma of sitting in the "other" room for two weeks to finish my apron. I will do a hem-stitch by hand to rehem new pants that are WAY too long for me otherwise.

Mari said...

I'm impressed! The curtains and the pain look so good. Can't wait to see the headboard!

The Nester said...

I hope the fabric store ladies didn't call the police on you I'm pretty sure they thought you were breaking the law.

I love that you used hooks to to hang your burlap! Great job!

I think we are gonna have to have another mistreatment party soon to share all of these good ideas!

The Nester said...


Blogger had a server error and my big long comment didn't go through!

Great job!

"J" said...

I love love love love love love the curtains!!! You did a GREAT job!!!! I'm sooooooooooooooooooo PROUD of you!!!! What made you come up with that?!?!? I love it!!!!

I can't wait to see the bed!!!!

The walls look GREAT too!!!

What did J Smooth think of it?!?!?

Polly & Steve said...

You did a wonderful job! I haven't sewn anything in a long time but I plan to start back even with your encouragement! haha. I looks really good and I am really proud of you and the way you make my day!

Bama Belle said...

Very impressive LOVE it!!

Kristy said...

GIRL! I am impressed.. I so wish I was talented like you.. I have gotten so many ideas from you on here. YOUR ROCK!! Can't wait until tomorrow to see the headboard.

Trina said...

Yeah, I was one of those people in home ec. who just didn't the sewing part. And my mom sews BEAUTIFULLY. Obviously, that gene was left out of my DNA.

The curtains look great! I love the idea of burlap for them. Gives me something to think about when (if) we ever get our lake cabin built.

Susan S. said...

I like your style and your gumption! Not all of us can be wonderful seamstresses (I'm including myself in the NON column!) Have you tried Stitch Witchery....the iron on glue stuff....awesome!!

Can't wait to see what you did with the shutters/headboard

Susan in the Psych Ward said...

I have burlap drapes hanging in my living room... and I love them! I did sew them and line them, but the sun shines through... and I added a small "stripe" of fabric on the edge... I just adore them.... you may can see them in some of my festivus pictures.... I'll let you know!! Great Job!!!

Leigh said...

Thanks Beachkat!

Keetha- 'cuz I ain't right....on sewing-glad I am not alone.

Thanks Mari-tune in!

Thanks Nester, I did feel as though I was committing some cardinal sin by being a non sewer in that store. I hoped it wouldnt be obvious, but they saw right through me.

J- I was actually inspired by my sister in law, who used burlap of all things (with B&W toile) for her wedding. It was the most beautiful and unpretentious wedding I have ever seen. Amazing. She and her mother (a decorator0 have this inate magic and ability to make something so common and raw look magical. I love to go to her home and ooo and ahhh. J Smooth, he's a boy. Not much reaction, but he did like it b/c it was a "older boy room". He is easy to please though.

Go Polly! Go Polly! (cabbage patch)

Thanks Belle-see you in the AM!

Thanks Kristy, you are so sweet. If I can, anyone can and better!

Train-you and me both! You just reminded me that my cousin has burlap in her cabin in Mentone (seacrh my blog cabin). It looks fantastic!

Susan S, the ladies at the sew store recommened that, but changed their mind saying it would show through the burlap when I began to explain my idea. I AM going to try that out though on another project.

"Crazy" Susan (LOL)-I am going to go and look. Mine too has a stripe on each edge. One is red the other blue.

Tammy said...

SO CUTE! And that's a similar conversation I had with the fabric store lady recently.

And your wall color turned out so pretty.

Momovthree said...

I love your curtains, they look great! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog! I'll be checking back to yours often.

jennifer said...

They look great! I am all for interesting solutions that cost very little. That way you aren't as committed and can change sooner (I like change!).

Something else that might look good... I saw in a magazine silk ivy leaves that were painted black. You could glue them to the curtain hooks and then they would look like the same black metal as the rod except they are light weight.

Kirby3131 said...

I totally use iron-on wonder tape or something when I need to do any "sewing" activities. You totally rocked out the burlap! Great Job!

Misti of Studio M Designs said...

These drapes are very cool! Funny, I was just a WalMart the other day pricing burlap for drapes in my living room and dining room. I want to dress mine up a bit with trim and possibly a band of fabric on the edge or bottom, maybe both! Burlap is great for recovering furniture, and it makes really cool pillows too. With the price of burlap at usually under $2.00 a yard, you can afford to splurge a bit on trims! I have boys and they would have to pass on the trim too, but for my family room, bring on the trim! Great post... BTW, I LOVE YOUR MUSIC CHOICES! I could hang here for a while and just listen... ahhhhh.

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Great idea mixing all the paint together! The curtains/drapes came out your creativity! Susan

kari and kijsa said...

You truly rock...we love these...kari is working on burlap curtains for the study...this is a great idea!

smiles, kari & kijsa