Tip 177: Tack Your Curtains.
Silvery branches outside of our apartment are clinging to small rust colored caps. The leaves that made up the rest of their autumnal wardrobes have all blown off this week, but the trees’ loss is our gain. We get sunshine bouncing off the slate roof across the street and an apartment that’s at least 20 percent brighter now than it is in the summer months. But there’s another thing that’s making our apartment brighter these days, and it’s a little quirky but maybe worth sharing in case anyone finds themselves in a similar conundrum.
When we moved back into our apartment this spring, we were reluctant to rehang our cotton curtains. I’d made them myself–simple white cotton curtains that hung doubled over a bit of wire stretched between two screws. They’d always been plain, but against the freshly painted walls, they looked just plain dingy. Besides, the painters had made a mess of the wire, making our never-perfect curtain fix even less so. Over the summer we slept with no curtains at all, but as we started to lose our bit of leafy privacy this fall, I recommitted to finding a solution to work for us.
The windows in this space have always been tricky. (Our last solution was the second one we tried in this space—the first featuring clips I later came to regret.) The windows are high and set into shallow dormers. They’re also two different sizes and they’ve got little room for mounting hardware. Deep sills and sloping walls make lots of the most straightforward kinds of solutions impractical. (If I could find a record of the number of times I’ve Googled “window dressings for dormer windows” and come up empty the number would be truly staggering.) Most solutions are fussy or expensive and nearly everything results in a considerable portion of the window remaining covered at all times. I didn’t want to sacrifice even an inch of light, let alone a whole foot.
Finally, it struck me: We needed curtains that could be taken down altogether. Endlessly inspired by the work of Kiva Montyk of Thompson Street Studio, I decided to try my hand at the Korean quilting—pojagi—that she uses in much of her work.
I rummaged through my bag of fabric scraps—scraps I’ve held onto from my wedding dress, and favorite baby swaddles, and old curtains, and handkerchiefs that belonged to my great aunts and grandfather. I hand-stitched the pieces together in as much of the traditional method as I was able to teach myself through online tutorials. Together the scraps make our new curtains—fabric screens to hang up at night and take down again come morning.
To hang them, I nailed three tacks that look like oversized map pins along the top of each window. (I found my tacks at a local shop and haven’t been able to find an online source, but other slim tacks, or any kind of long nail would work as long as you like the look of it.) Along the top of each panel, I sewed three black o-rings. When we want the windows covered, we hang the loops from the pins and when we want the light to stream in, we take them down again. During the day, the panels are folded neatly into a basket that we keep under the bed. It’s not anything you might call usual, and yes, I need to drag a child’s chair over to the window to reach the tacks, but it’s exactly what I’d call perfect for me. Any perfect solutions in your own imperfect spaces lately?
For the curious:
This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.