Measure Once, Cut Twice

curtainsNo, wait. That’s not right. I think it was supposed to be “Measure Twice, Cut Once.” Oops.

Back in November, when I had just returned from ten days in Europe and we had started this never-ending winter, DS told me that DGS needed some draperies on his bedroom windows in the new rental house. There were sheers on the windows, but nothing that afforded any privacy.

Being the good grandma that I am, I measured both windows and wrote the measurements down in the Notes app on my iPhone. A few days later, I snuck into Jo-Ann Fabrics on Saturday morning after Thanksgiving. I had great coupons in the Jo-Ann’s app on my phone, and the line wasn’t bad at all. I scored great fabric and insulated lining (along with some fleece to make DGD’s blanket) for a great price, and brought it home to stash for my next sewing opportunity.

Then I got involved in a political campaign, and my sewing moments are few and far between. But last weekend I carved time out and set to work.

I had measured the south window at 29.5″x56.5″ and the west window at 29″x57″. I wanted the curtains to come just below the window sill, as both walls have heat vents at the baseboard below the window. Going just below the sill would give my much-needed privacy without obstructing much-needed heat. A young man who’s going to be a teenager in August has his needs, knowwhatImean?

I decided to start with the west window, finish that piece, then run it to my son’s house to make sure it fit. I drew a picture on a piece of paper, added all my seam allowances and hem/rod pocket allowances, and pulled the selvedge out along my cutting table to measure the required length. Then I sat and pulled a thread across to get a straight cut. When I got to the last couple of inches of that cut, I suddenly thought I hadn’t check to see that the cut edge of the fabric was straight. Big Damned Oops! The selvedge edge I had measured was 2″ longer than the other edge. People, I’ve been sewing for 50 years!!! How could I have forgotten to straighten the cut edge first?!!!!

So I straightened the cut edge and rethought my hem turnbacks. Instead of doubling the 2″ hem (or whatever it was), I decided to just turn back a ½” and make the hem 1½” rather than 2″. For the next two hours I turned, pressed, folded, pressed, inserted insulated lining, pinned, and stitched. Hurray – #1 done.

Pulling on my snow boots, I drove the four miles to my son’s house, let myself in, and slipped the curtain onto the rod. Oh. Shit. It was 2″ short. (By the way, I don’t care that the sheer hangs almost to the floor. Not my problem. Son doesn’t care. Grandson doesn’t care. All we care about is privacy and less cold air. But I did care about the curtain ending below the sill.)

What on earth did I do? How could I have made this error? The only thing I can think of is that I used one of those big steel measuring tapes in the yellow-and-black case. Y’know, where you have to add 2″ or 3″ to the final number you can see on the tape to get the actual length? I think I was supposed to add 3″ and failed to do so. (Huge sigh.)

I stood there and tried to think of ways to solve the problem without making an entirely new panel. I could get some fabric in the pretty army green of his walls and add a 3″ panel at the bottom and a 1″ band of trim around the panel. Or I could just cut another piece of the fabric, hem the bottom and sides, and topstitch to the wrong side of the hem of the existing panel.

Or, as DS suggested when he got home and saw it, leave it as is. Let the record show that DGS didn’t notice any problem at all.

So I made a note to add 3″ to my calculations for the next panel.

And to hit myself in the face if I ever again measure something only once.

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About Jan

Musician and geek and Juris Doctor; lover of fine art and fine craft; mother and grandmother and significant other and friend. Passionate about sewing.

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