October 2013 - Posts - Dollar Stretcher Guest Blogger
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October 2013 - Posts

  • Upcycled on a Dime: How to Make a Stylish Apron and a Chalk & Memo Board from Old Curtains

    by Kristin Hackler

    I'll bet that somewhere in the back of your linen closet is an old curtain or two that will likely never see a curtain rod again. They're most likely the big florals, ruffled edges and/or farmyard kitsch of old or inherited country curtains, and the only reason they haven't been thrown out yet is because there has to be something you can do with them, right?

    Well, if you're short on chic kitchen wear, then that old curtain can become a stylishly cute apron in almost no time. All you need are:

    • Curtain fabric
    • Scissors
    • Pins
    • Measuring tape
    • Needle and thread or sewing machine

    Step 1: Cut the cloth

    Start by cutting two rectangles of fabric, 18"w x 12"h for the bottom panel and 9.5"w x 10"h for the top panel. For this project I used an old curtain with a frilled edge so I could keep the frill across the bottom of the apron. If you don't have a frilled curtain, you can always cut some extra fabric later and stitch it on.

    I was very lucky with this curtain as I still had the old stay ribbons, which I repurposed as the waist and neck ties. If you don't have stays, cut a length of curtain about 7'w x 7"h, fold the fabric in half and fold the very top edges of the raw side down to create a clean edge and hem in place. Do the same for the neck tie, cutting a length of about 2'w x 7"h for a neck loop or two lengths of 1.5'w each for a neck tie.

    Lastly, I cut a bit of extra ruffle, about twice the width of the top panel, and folded it in a few places to create another ruffle across the top panel.

    Step 2: Pin hem and pin together

    Next, take your panels and pin the edges down to create a clean edge. Then arrange the panels with the waist ribbon placed centrally above the bottom panel and the top panel attached to the waist ribbon above that. Attach the neck loop or ties and then spread the apron out to make sure everything looks right.

    Step 3: Stitch and wear

    Once you have everything in place, stitch the pinned hems either with a quick run through the sewing machine or with needle and thread. You don't need any complicated stitches on this project; just a simple, single stitch will work fine.

    That's it! With only a couple hours effort and a few household tools you've gone from drab country curtains to useful kitchen chic.

    Chalk and French Memo Board

    If you still have some fabric left over, here's another easy project that can also help with your kitchen organization.

    For this project, you'll need:

    • An old picture frame with a particle board backing
    • Chalkboard paint
    • Foam board
    • Fabric
    • Ribbon
    • Tape
    • Assorted buttons
    • Needle and thread
    • Rubber cement and super glue

    Step 1: Chalkboard paint

    If you haven't already discovered the magic of chalkboard paint, this project will get you hooked. With just a couple applications you can turn just about anything into an instant chalkboard. In this case, I covered this "stunning" $1 thrift store picture with two hearty coats of chalkboard spray paint, giving the paint about two hours to dry between coats.

    Step 2: Create memo board

    While your chalkboard is drying, measure your picture frame and cut a piece of foam board the same length and twice the width of the picture, making sure your measurements are for the picture when it's in the frame so it will fit.

    Cut a rectangle of fabric for the foam board, being sure to leave about one inch of extra fabric on each side. Then coat one side of the foam board in rubber cement and attach the fabric. Fold the extra fabric over the back of the board to give it clean edges.

    NOTE: The back doesn't have to look pretty as it will be attached to the chalkboard when done.

    For the ribbon, take one length and run it from one corner to the opposite corner and then do the same for the other side, creating a big "X". Add the remaining ribbon at parallel intervals wherever they look best to you, taping the ends to the back of the board.

    Next, stitch a button onto each of the main ribbon intersections, sewing through the back of the board to hold them in place.

    Lastly, cover the back of the memory board in crazy glue or wood glue and attach to the chalkboard.

    From creating clothing items to recovering tired furniture and fabrics, old curtains can be brought back to life with nothing more than a little creativity and a stitch or two. What are some ways you've found to upcycle old curtains?

    Kristin Hackler writes for eBay.com on DIY home decoration, parenting and other family related topics. Kristin is a children's book author, journalist and mother of a one year old son. Find Kristin on Google Plus.

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