Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words may be encouragement to them. Ephesians 4:29b

Friday, March 27, 2015

My Little Man's Shower Curtain

Since we moved into our leased Montreal home in July, I'd been distracted by an item in my home - a specific decor item. You'd think it was something prominent like a room paint color, one of the 7 hanging chandeliers in the house, or a the terrible kitchen curtains!  Nope, it was far less important - it was my son's shower curtain.  LOL!  Yup, a pretty low-priority item in the scheme of things, but it really got to me.  Why, you ask?

Well, first, his bathroom is a little odd.  It's large at 10 x 5.5 sqft! Too much space for a 9-year-old boy, but it's nearest his room and his sister has her own.  We added storage and some A&M flair to only a toilet and a pedestal sink in the grand space...

 Listing Photo
Post Move-in: Mirror+Shelf+Towels+Mats

As you can see from the listing photo, the shower is the main oddity in the room.  It's underneath the roof angle of the house, giving it a triangular ceiling.  It's a standard height under the nozzle and short at the back end of the tub.  I'm 5'6. The shower rod is at 5 feet.  No sneaking up on anyone in here!  So, it's a usable shower, just weird, and a little inconvenient to any potential tall visitors who may want to shower dance. :-P

Fortunately, we have a basement inlaw suite for our guests. AND...it's the perfect fit for my "Little Man!"

The problem I was having was this...

Sheer, beige, plaid...and 5 feet long.  The window had the same fabric, both were homemade. I guess they were trying to go neutral. But the curtain rings...wait for it....

Ha! Yep, those were gone fast. ;) So NOW does it seem more like a priority?? Probably not...but that's OK. Moving on...

I found clearanced A&M bins and a window topper online and got mini-blinds, but the shower curtain had me stuck.  Obviously, it would have to be a custom-made curtain, and it came down to 2 options:
  1. Make a curtain using my new sewing machine
  2. Buy a curtain and cut the length off the bottom
Option 1 was great and all, but the process of (1) researching material (being new to the sewing world), (2) cost (fabric type, source, shipping, etc.), (3) taking the time to find/receive/see it, and, my personal biggie, (4) making a dozen ring holes (aka: button holes) or loops for the rings. 

I really preferred Option 2. It just seemed like the easier option. However, licensed A&M curtains online were either too pricey for this short-term purpose (+ international shipping/taxes), or I was unable to cut them due to a centered logo. 

I moved to solid maroon, but found zero in stores here.  I looked at gray options....but they had loud prints, feminine patterns or textures that just didn't fit my boy and his decor.  Even the college dorm options failed. :(   I was not up for the trial and error of ordering online because I wanted to see and feel it in person and avoid what I went through finding my daughter's bathroom shower curtain. Nope.

Over a span of months I regularly checked all the shower curtain aisles where I was willing to pay for them. I wasn't about to buy one at Hudson's Bay (like Dillard's) only to cut it, use it for 3 years and never use it again.  

Then a funny story happened...

Right after our move-in, I bought this two-toned gray shower curtain at Ikea for $12. It was my "this will work 'til I find something" curtain that I didn't love.  I'd thought of adding an adhesive vinyl logo to it, but realized it may not withstand the steam and moisture. So, I stuck it in a closet and forgot about it. 

I rediscovered it during my winter sewing organization and endeavors.  I also discovered that the material was actually 100% polyester. This was good because it wasn't a vinyl but a fabric!  Light bulb!!  Since sewing, I've been inspired by some awesome appliqued items out there by a dear friend and others on Pinterest/Etsy.  It was this inspiration that led me to my decision. I would use my Fightin' Texas Aggie status to its fullest by giving that shower curtain the Biggest. Applique. Ever.  That's right...my first true applique.  Why not? :) It would be a combination of Option 1 AND Option 2! Score!

I got to work immediately.  First step: Cut the curtain to fit!  The old curtain was right at 5 feet, so I cut the bottom off the new one and hemmed it up to the same length.

Next, was the applique.  I applied Heat N Bond Lite (an iron-on fabric adhesive) to the back of a large piece of licensed A&M print cotton I had on hand. (HNB smooths and supports the fabric when applied to the curtain.)  I created a card stock stencil of the A&M logo with my Silhouette Cameo and traced the stencil onto of the heat-bonded fabric with a chalk pen.  The T was just over 12x12" (larger than my Silhouette cutting mat), so I traced/cut the letters all by hand, instead of using my Silhouette to cut them.  There are many tutorials out there on cutting appliqued fabric with a Silhouette, for those of you interested.  I just needed more practice first.

Next, I ironed the fabric to the center of the curtain (Heat N Bond's final step) using the recommended heat settings.

It bonded perfectly!  Next, I wanted to do an applique stitch on the edges to give it a more finished look. NOTE: Heat N Bond Lite is for sewn appliques, whereas Heat N Bond Ultrastrong is used for no-sew appliques.

The applique stitch was definitely the most time consuming part of the project. Plus, I chose a more tedious stitch - the blanket stitch - because I liked the look with this design.  With white thread in my brand new machine, I took my sweet time for my first applique stitching. :)

And it wasn't only because I was taking it slow.  Stitching an applique with right angles in the center of a huge piece of fabric can be a bit of a bulky tangle. :) 

The stitching caused rippling in the material around the letters that I hoped would iron out.  This was either caused by the type of polyester, the type of stitch, or both (most likely).  This is a good FYI for anyone considering this project. This kind of slick fabric like this isn't going to accept this type of stitch the same way softer fabrics do.

 Once I ironed the entire area out, it definitely looked better...not perfect, but better. And I doubted my 9-year-old would mind too much. :)

 Pretty cool, huh?  After ironing out the entire curtain, my project was complete! I just LOVE the stitched finish, regardless of the flaws. :) I was pleased and I truly love this look more than if I'd bought/made one in licensed A&M print, solid maroon or a boring old gray.  It's perfect for my boy and his Aggie theme!  What do you think?

Here's the rest of the room! Gig'em!

I surprised my son with it after school and he thinks it's very cool.  I've since decided that I WILL try to reuse it after our Montreal adventure. I can either add maroon to the bottom, making it a standard length again, or I can use the applique some other way in his room or bathroom. There are all sorts of ways to show this off! 

Although this was a fun project for me, I must try not to get caught up in the smaller, less important things that cloud my mind, keeping me distracted.  When I use the talents God gave me, I must constantly remind myself of this:

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength He provides, so that in all things He may be praised..." 
1 Peter 4:10-11a

Yes, this project was in service to my son, but it was also too self-serving along the way.  May my focus be less distracted, and more about serving others while showing His love through the gifts He bestowed upon me. 

Keeping Him in Mind,

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