My (apparently desirable) retro curtains, or the moral of looking before you leap

So I planned to sew all of Saturday afternoon.  How did I spend this precious sewing time?  Making up my navy Clovers?  Getting to grips with my 80s high waisted skirt?  No (self satisfied smile)-  I actually mended my lounge curtains noted on this blog in January 2011 as needing new header tape due to mega sagging & looking like crap.  (They looked even worse drawn, literally hanging on a string!!)

Now this delay in itself shows how unenthusiastic I am about home sewing.  I had thought taking the existing tape off and sewing new would take approx 2 hours.  Five (or even six) episodes of the West Wing later I was nearly there (all that unpicking don’t you know).  And lo!  They hang, sweeping the top of the radiator.


Should I tell you that too late I found absolutely nothing wrong with the original header tape but everything wrong with the person using it?  This marathon of unpicking was not necessary, & it could have taken me half an hour to fix.  Why was I so scissor happy, cutting off the gathering strings & truly burning my bridges?  Why didn’t I compare the current header tape with the new “correct” tape to see that “Oh, they are the same”?

Oh well.  I do love them though, an Ebay score, unlined retro curtains.  The fabric is Heals “Volution”  designed by Peter Hall (as indicated in the selvage) & I lined them to make them extra luxurious.  But through writing this post I decided to do a bit of a search about the fabric & discovered to my amazement that not only is the design exactly the same age as me (uncanny, no?) but that according to this fabric is ” in the V&A  Museum and is  rare and highly sought after” and look at me, I have metres of the stuff wrangled into curtains. (Beams).

The design itself harks back to 1969 and the modernist revival with some wonderful Deco fan shapes, accompanied by some mad wild 1960s flowers.  It’s screen printed cotton sateen furnishing fabric – nice & weighty (hence dragging my wrongly used curtain tape so badly!) It seems to come in many colours, pinks, purples, orange/ brown, but for me it was the green/ turquoise big bold design that was exactly in my lounge scheme (I wasn’t really after retro designer fabric at all!!)  Here is the link to the V&A and this is the fabric displayed there in brown/orange.

I think “high fives” all round!

So next up (but no promises for when) will be my bedroom blinds.  Guys, they are a true horror story….and sadly no interesting back story to motivate me!  And yes, they too are hanging off a string ….

12 thoughts on “My (apparently desirable) retro curtains, or the moral of looking before you leap

  1. Ginger

    These curtains are too fab! I love them! I have curtains made by my sister a few years ago, before I could sew, and it’s so nice to have curtains that really reflect your own taste and personality (and don’t cost an arm and a leg!).

  2. Rachel

    Sturdily sewn header tape is a must with such cool curtains! Retro curtains are a great love of mine too; the pattern on my gravatar and what used to be my blog header is a bit of a pair of curtains which hang nicely from floor to ceiling in my living room.

  3. Alexandra Mason

    Great curtains! I just started making a blind for my sewing room…it seemed like a good idea at the time, but i seem to be having trouble sewing in a straight line 🙁

  4. Bella

    What an excellent thrifter you are, Winnie! The curtains look great & the fabric is soooo hip!

    We don’t have curtains, but those would be the ones I’d want.

  5. Kerry

    Oooh I do love a pair of retro curtains and these are gorgeous! Very jealous 🙂

    Well done on the fixing – I am also TERRIBLE at doing mending tasks like this.


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