A Little Privacy, Please?

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  January 19, 2012 — 10 Comments

One of the big things that has kept Nick and I from spending much time in the front room of our house (I’ve got to come up with a smoother name for it than “the family room/office”) is the completely uncovered window that looks right out onto our porch.

It’s actually a door, but we don’t use it as such and haven’t been able to get it open in months. It wasn’t a huge priority when I was making window treatments for the rest of our house because the porch affords an illusion of privacy, but you can see that the houses in our very old neighborhood are so close together that our neighbors could look right out of their window and into ours. Plus, there were more than a few awkward occasions when I found myself working in the office makeup free and liberated from the awkward confines of a bra only to look up and lock eyes with the mailman, right there on my porch. There are some days I would just much rather hide from the mailman and this window was making that impossible. After an accidental encounter with the UPS man while I was working from home on Monday, I decided something needed to be done. I rifled through my fabric stash until I found something about the right size and tacked it up there to see if it would do the job.

Perfect. I measured the window, then took the fabric down and hauled it to the laundry room for a good iron. Pretty much the only time I ever iron anything is if I want to cut it. It’s hard to get nice cuts in wrinkled fabric.

Once flat, I laid it out on my handy-dandy cardboard helper. I know that this thing is not technically intended to be used for cutting fabric, but instead some much fancier and technical endeavor like drafting patterns or some such nonsense, but it has really been a lifesaver for me in the cutting department. I used to have such a hard time figuring out how to measure and cut straight lines in fabric, but the grid makes it so easy. The squares are 1″ each so I just lined up one edge of the fabric with a line on the grid, measured over 24″ which of course lined up perfectly with another line, then used that line to guide my cutting. Spoiler alert: I forgot to add extra width for the hem. Oops.

I cut cut cut. then slid the fabric down and cut cut cut some more.

Ta-da! A perfectly 24″ wide panel. I didn’t care at all about the length. You’ll see why in a moment.

Next I sewed a hem on all four edges. It was around the time I sat down at my sewing machine that I realized I’d forgotten all about the hem allowance, so I only folded the fabric over once and kept it pretty narrow.

Then, with all four edges looking nice and neat, I tacked the panel up at the top of the window with four brass-ish thumbtacks I found at the back of a junk drawer. The panes of the window made a good guide for spacing. The fabric was just barely wide enough to cover the glass. I told myself it gave the whole thing a refreshingly casual air.

See? Just thumbtacks. I used a hammer to gently tap them in.

And now, for the most exciting part! I folded the bottom of the fabric up for a roman-shade-esque effect. I secured the folds first with straight pins until I was happy with the look, then came back and switched each pin out for a couple of stitches sewn by hand. And why yes, that is a lot of random crap you can see hanging out on the other side of our door. A lawnmower and a Christmas tree stand, to be exact. The curse of a spacious porch is that it collects clutter.

And voila! The final result! A 100% free, completely casual shade that took me less than thirty minutes to whip up on a whim.

I showed it to Nick when he got home and he actually said out loud, “Wow, this room is really starting to come together!” I about died. He pretty much never comments on home decor beyond standard grunts of approval, but it turns out that bare window had really been bugging him. It’d been bugging me too. Now I can lounge on the new sofa in any state of dress without fear of mailmen or neighbors. It’s a brave new world.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap

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10 responses to A Little Privacy, Please?

  1. Janet (Country Mouse January 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    How cute. I like the way the windows are covered up but still let in light.
    Fortunately for me, we live in the middle of nowhere so I don’t worry about window covering so much. Sometimes my lack of window coverings makes my city friends nervous. Our lane is almost 1/4 mile long. The dogs put up such a fuss that I am warned of UPS people and such. I like to watch the deer and the birds.

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap January 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      I’m jealous! It’s nice that we’re so close to everything but I do crave a bit more privacy now and then. Juliet doesn’t bother barking unless someone knocks on the door. My neighbors’ Pomeranian, however, takes it as a personal offense that I ever come within ten feet of his house. Unfortunately, that distance covers the entire width of my driveway. I can’t get in and out of my car without him having a panic attack at the window.

  2. The cardboard thing you’re using was originally sold as a temporary cutting board. I had one before I built a table wide enough to accomodate most fabrics.

  3. Nice job… and less than 30 minutes! Impressed.

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