What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, April 05, 2010

A Shower Curtain Easter

I have a slightly embarrassing confession to make. I am obsessed with perusing the clearance endcaps in home decorating sections of stores (especially Target) because I snatch up the very best fabrics there for pennies on the dollar. I buy shower curtains to use as tablecloths and tablecloths to use as curtains, or both to cut up and make into pillows, purses or clothes. I even have a few saved for the backs of quilts. (I can't remember the last time I bought fabric at a fabric store...) I never pay more than $5.00 which is a whole lot more fabric than I can get at a fabric store. Very often when I buy them, I wait until they are $2.00 or $3.00.

I may or may not be slightly addicted.

The slightly embarrassing part is that I contemplate NOT letting you in on this little secret because I don't want to lose my chance at nabbing these great deals because of any of you! :-) (No one lives near me, right?!?! RIGHT!?!?)

Well, thanks to this addiction, I had several packages of shower curtains lying around in my fabric stash. Thanks to this years resolution to DWINDLE that stash instead of adding to it, I decided I would challenge myself into making coordinated Easter ensembles for the WHOLE family using ONE shower curtain as the common denominator.

I wondered HOW I would do it. I wondered IF I could do it. I wondered if people would point and whisper about how obviously cloaked in shower curtain-ness we were. And when days and weeks passed, and the Tuesday before Easter came and went without me making a stitch in the right direction, I kinda sorta doubted that I WOULD do it. But somehow the motivation bug finally bit and I got to work.

I promised you I would show you all some pictures if I actually was able to accomplish this feat, so here you go.

I *REALLY* REALLY REALLY wanted to get a family picture of us all dolled up together. ( I didn't. Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh)

I really Really REALLY wanted to take my time with the photos and do little photo shoots with each person. (HA!) Easter was so busy I picked up the camera ONCE (during the egg hunt) and tried in vain to get the children to stop for ONE NANOSECOND while I snapped a picture. Keep in mind that the egg hunt was after about two hours of playing in and around dirt. This is what you get. Take it or leave it.

I chose a pale green plaid shower curtain. The red clearance sticker was still on it and read $3.29. It wouldn't be enough to clothe ENTIRELY all members of the family, but that's the fun of it! I had to be creative in how to pull it all together. Plus, there is a fine line between CORNY matchy-matchy and CUTEY matchy matchy. Obviously, I was going for the latter.

I wound up using the green shower curtain to pull it all together and a white cotton bedsheet (yardsale!) for the lining. I used another white shower curtain for a contrasting fabric.


Her dress was small enough that the entire dress could be made of the green curtain fabric.

I found a pattern in my stash for a "bubble" dress but unfortunately, it was a size 8 girl, not 18 months. I somehow successfully (still not sure how) formulated my own pattern for her dress and followed the instructions on the pattern for the big girl dress for the assembly.

You can't really see the "bubble" effect in the sitting down photos for some reason, so I include this cutie patooti view. It sorta shows the bubble effect. Let me tell you. Cute toddler who waddles along in chubby little legs looks pretty adorable in a bubble dress. Pictures don't really do it justice.

I used pearl snaps for the back enclosures....

... and I added a contrasting white sash around the middle. (You'll see why in a bit.) I also included a small bit of blue velvet ribbon to a bow.


I was originally going to make him a bow tie and vest but the boy is infatuated with cowboys right now and for some reason equates any sort of belt as standard fare for cowboys...even the not quite so cowboyish ones. I figured a cummerbun would do the trick nicely. Turns out, cummerbuns are VERY "cowboy chic" in his mind. He was totally game.

Made the bowtie up out of my head by simply sewing two rectangles (one slightly smaller than the other), pinching them in the middle with a rubber band and sewing blue velvet ribbon around the center. I sewed a length of elastic to go round the head/neck but be invisible under the collar.

For the cummerbun, one of those fabulous clearance things I spoke about above had been wrapped with a thick black grosgrain ribbon with velco sewn on the edges. I gave it to Andrew to play with and he immediately put it on like a belt. It fit round his waist almost perfectly~only *slightly* big. I remembered this as I was trying to figure out how to accomplish a cummerbun.

I made a fabric tunnel, encased the ribbon with it (centering it, obviously) and pleated each side to line up with the ribbon. The unpleated middle, then, widened naturally. This picture isn't exactly self-explanatory...you can hardly even see it. Sorry. One had ONE nanosecond, remember.

When we got to church, he held the door for us and a few other families walking in and it seriously made me swoon. Maybe it was because he had just turned the big 04 or maybe it was because he looked so stinking sweet holding the doors, but I nearly melted into silly putty right there on the spot.


This girl dress would be far too big to use the curtain, so I decided on just accessorizing a white dress. Remember that contrasting white sash around baby girls' middle? Well, that white fabric was from a DIFFERENT shower curtain....the very one I used to make BIG girls' dress.

The only complication? That shower curtain had obnoxious (but BEAUTIFUL!) firework-type holes everywhere and around each tiny hole was some sort of weird paint that made ironing almost impossible. (I know. Not smart on my part.) The holes forced me to completely line the entire thing which added a lot of time to the process. I had to iron with an ironing cloth atop the fabric.

I made the skirt very twirl-able (because you KNOW that is a MUST). I added the green curtain fabric to make ties and tie it in with the other stuff. I had hoped to add a blue tulle ruffle to the bottom of the lining piece but when it got to be 1:30am on Easter morning, I opted to scratch that idea for a later date. (Speaking of which: does anyone know if tulle is wash/dryable?! This ought to be discovered before I waste time gathering the awful stuff!)

Since my machine is in the shop and I was working on a loaner (an electric one to boot with no manuel) I couldn't figure out the whole zipperfoot thing. Of course, machine sewing zippers is incredibly intimidating to me even with expert seamstresses holding my hand on my own machine. It was all too much. I gave up and handsewed the zipper in back.

The dress turned out to be huge in the waist for my insanely scrawny girl, so I double the ties around her body instead of just tying them in the front. It helped the "tighten" things up a bit. Good news is that she will be able to wear it for a while!!


I never planned to make him something. Most guys would never dream of playing matchy-matchy with their children, so when he suggested I make him a tie or something so he would match Andrew I about had a coronary. I scraped my jaw off the floor and got to work. I love this man for so many reasons, not the least of which is that he wanted to play matchy matchy with his son. That is a REAL man. Sadly, he was the one person I never cornered and forced to smile for a photo. (He wasn't finding eggs in the egg hunt, mind you.)

So for a moment, forget that you are looking at a horrible-lit photo taken of a flat shirt on a bedspread with an untied tie taken at 11:30 at night under a tungsten bulbed lamp. Instead, imagine a ruggedly handsome man sporting a dashing shirt and tie combo. Yes, do. That would be what I saw throughout Easter.

Despite the wonky colors of this photograph, the shirt is not crazy bright pink in real life but the same color as Andrew's shirt above. The tie, too, is not true to life. Oh well.

Ties are super easy to make, turns out. And the fact that you can make one is SUPER impressive to husbands I find. I will warn you though-they use up ALOT of fabric because they are cut on the bias.

As for me: no photo. I wore a white dress that I did NOT make because I have YET to make something for myself that actually fits and looks nice, let alone with this crazy almost 20 week pregnant body I am sporting. I had planned to make several fabric-incorporated flowers for my waist but I lost my glue gun. I searched for an hour in the wee hours of Easter morn, gave up and went to bed only to rise a few hours later and renew my search with more vigor (and desperation). I never did find it so right before church I pinned a silk flower to the side of my waist (what's left of it) and wrapped the rest of the blue velvet ribbon around me as an impromptu sash. I never had time to do my hair.

I looked harried and huge (with bad hair) but seeing my family shine in their newly resurrected shower curtain duds made me proud despite myself. And no one pointed and sniggered at us when we walked in the church, so I guess we didn't look TOO straight-from-the-shower.

And guess what? I have about 1/4 yard of the green fabric still left! ;-)


Terri said...

Rebecca, thank you so much for the tip! I never thought of doing that and I promise I won't go anywhere near your Target. ;-)

You did a wonderful job and everyone looks splendid!

Unknown said...

SO CUTE, Rebecca! I live no where near you and now I'm excited to scour the curtain sales...what an excellent idea!!! :) You are so Proverbs 31-ish! HEEHEE! Seriously. Great idea. Would have LOVED to see you and the cute baby bump but hey, I understand the last minute stuff. :)

Happy Tuesday!

Leah said...

You did a fabulous job! I love everything you made! I would've loved to have seen a picture of you, too, but I know you're usually (if not always) the one behind the camera. ;) So will you make yourself something with the 1/4 yard you have left? Maybe you could all wear the coordinated outfits on another less busy day and have someone (like Abby) take a family picture?!?! I'm not tryin' to be pushy or anything. Heehee.

As for my sewing/crafting projects, I didn't get everything accomplished that I'd have liked. I did get Esther's dress done. But I didn't get my maternity skirt finished or the gifts for the children. I should be able to get them done this week, though.

I have a question for you. Now that I've started sewing for Esther, I'd like to sew for my boys, too. Do you have any suggestions of what to make for an almost 8 yo, a 6 yo, and 3.5 year old? I'm kind of at a loss.

Bonnie said...

GOR-JUS! (how do you like my spelling?)
Really, I am so impressed! I am always looking at the clearance section for usable fabric too, in fact if I need a length of plain material, I often just buy a twin size bed sheet. $4 bucks and about 3 yards worth of decent material!

Your children look stunning, I'm sure Matt looked dandy, and we all know that regardless of what you thought, you looked beautiful as well.

I'll be hopefully be posting The Bed Sheet Dresses tomorrow. I never had a chance to get pictures Sunday, and the dresses are in the wash right now.

Good Job!

MameyJane said...

Love your confessions! I, too, look for shower curtains for dolling up stuff. I use them each year for covering my outdoor cushions. The vinyl shower curtains are easy to wipe off! The outfits are beautiful! You're my hero!

Rebecca said...

Terri~glad to have helped. I always keep my eyes open for these such things at yard sales too...but you have to be more careful about stains there. :-)

Amy~ you'll be seeing a very BIG bump very soon! Promise.

Leah~sewing for boys is MUCH more complicated than girls. I am sorry, but it is TRUE! Slippers are always an option but knitted slippers are way better (imo) anyway. Ties are super easy, bowties too. Pants and shorts are easy to make for your boys, especially church pants since they are a lighter fabric. I still haven't mastered the zipper yet, so mine would probably be made of elastic (maybe too babyish for John). Of course, you can make shirts but if it is the button down kind, they are more time-consuming. I have considered using old mens' shirts to make boy shirts (and using the buttons already sewn in!) to make it a faster job. PJ's are easy and fun to make (and on my list to do for poor Andrew, who has winter pants that look more like shorts these days...) Also-mittens and hats can be stitched and BABY boy jumpsuits are SO ADORABLE (if this wee one is a boy) and quick to make too. Blankets, pillows, knapsacks, a stuffed hobby horse (was going to make that for Andrew had I had enough time). TSHIRTS and PJ's are easy to make but usually call for knits (which are crazy expensive). I would scour yardsales and thrift shops for good quality knit shirts and use them for their fabric.

Just a few suggestions. For some reason, I am always less inspired to sew for bigger boys.

Bonnie~can't WAIT to see them! I love that you used bedsheets. Did you feel very depression-era as you sewed clothes from a sheet? I admit it~ I kinda did (and loved the feeling.)

Rebecca said...

Mamey Jane~ we must have been commenting at the same time! Outdoor cushions~AWESOME idea! We need ours covered in the WORST WAY!

Melodie said...

Since I am just now learning how to sew, the shower curtain idea is great! I've always been afraid to invest a large amount of money into fabric that I might waste with my amateur sewing skills. = )

I loved the outfits, you are so creative!

Oh, and i live in Texas so your Target is safe = )

Kelli said...

What a wonderful source for fabric....genius idea! Everyone looks so cute and beautiful! I can see why you were one proud mama!

Sharon said...

Hi, I am new to your blog and I absolutely love it. I enjoy everything you write about. You have a lovely family. Shower Curtains?? I never thought of that, I do buy tablecloths on clearance and have made curtains with them, now I will hunt for shower curtains too, thanks for the idea. xoxo

Diane Shiffer said...

Sewing? From shower curtains?? Seriously great idea ya got there. Seriously. I love it.

Your kids are adorable and I love how you've made them all coordinate but not completely match.
Great job mama☺

Miranda Hupp said...

Ok Rebecca I have a confession to make...My husband knows you as the lady that does everything before I do. I have read your blog for atleast a year now. When I first came across your blog I think it was when you did the family pictures yourself. I can remember you and your hubby standing in front of a fence.

Anyway I had just done the same thing. I cant think of what else there was but I get ideas and then I come to your blog and you just did the same thing!! LOL. Its really kind of funny. So yeah when I tell hubby something from your blog I say "you know the lady that does everything before I do". :)

I do not know how to sew. So this idea I wont be doing any time soon. Very cool idea though!


Nanci said...

I am absolutely SPEECHLESS!!! And you KNOW that RARELY happens. You have done a fantastic job! No one ever would know that your entire family was "cloaked in shower curtain-ness" unless you told them.
As always, I'm pining away and wishing that I could have seen it all in person. It was so good to hear your voice the other day. Give my hugs and kisses all around.


Cochran Clan News said...

Rebecca you are amazing. Your children looked beautiful and I will laugh all day long at this: "I wondered HOW I would do it. I wondered IF I could do it. I wondered if people would point and whisper about how obviously cloaked in shower curtain-ness we were."
Thank you for your beautiful posts. You are inspiring.

Hollace said...

I have converted eyelet bedskirts to curtain valances. It's a lot cheaper than buying eyelet by the yard, and it's already gathered.
I look for flat bedsheets, especially Queen or King-sized, to make into round table cloths. For my church I found 15 mix-and-match pastel print sheets at Ross' (several stores) and I made round cloths with coordinating napkin squares for basket liners out of the corner left-overs. Pillow cases that came in the sets worked, too.

bean said...

(Here from Femina - I'm bean :) ) Impressive! I'm glad you posted pics. Now, are you willing to share your men's tie pattern source? I am making little boy ties right now for a friend's wedding and am curious about trying this out for hubby. My son loves being just like dad. :)

Rebecca said...

Bean~thanks for jumping over! (har har har)

Here is a link for a mens tie tutorial...


bean said...

Thank you!!! Bookmarked and ready to try!

Anonymous said...

you are extremely talented. i just think how much all this would cost at a place like jcrew (and not even look half as good) and im thinking at least 150 dollars for the full "family outfit"