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Follow these steps to create your own colonial curtains.
Brackets and Rods
Some bracket designs, one-half actual size, for 1/2-inch dowel. Many variations of these surely existed in colonial homes; all were functional and simple in design.
These must be made and put up first, in order to be able to measure properly for fabric.
Theoretically, they should be mounted inside the window frame, as was the colonial custom. This looks best if the woodwork is narrow; however, the modern, wider window casing would be better hidden by the curtain. Usually, the brackets are placed at the outer edge, and in some cases right onto the front face of the window trim. (This necessitated the longer pole; you might be better off to do it authentically and use the shorter dowels, despite the 5-inch casings).
The brackets should be positioned high, right at the top of the window frame if mounted inside, and somewhere midway within the top piece of trim if placed on the casing. The curtain top in any event should cover the glass; your eye should be the judge here as to where the rod looks best. Be sure to allow room to put the rods in and out, if the ceilings are low. Fasten brackets with finishing nails or screws.
Measuring for Fabric
NOTE: allow for shrinkage when buying fabric.
Spacing Fabric Loops
Loops on old curtains have been found spaced from 5 inches to 9 3/4 inches apart. This means six to eight loops per panel. Seven is an easy number to use for figuring the placement. Any minor errors in spacing disappear when the curtain is hung.
Fabric Loop Construction
For each loop, you will need a piece 2 inches by 4 inches, to make loops 1 1/2 inches when finished and attached to curtain in a 1/2-inch seam.
You may want to use tape for the loops. Regular twill tape is fine. Also "venetian blind" tape is available at most fabric stores, in a 1 1/2-inch width. Doubled over and stitched, it makes excellent loops.
Curtain Panel Construction
This would go well with tape loops. The same tape may be used to bind the side and lower edges, instead of hemming. Beginning at top seam line, stitch to wrong side (inside) of panel sides and lower edges on seam line. Trim seam to % inch. Then pin loops in place and sew facing (see instructions). Turn tape to right side; press. Pin in place; hem invisibly, by hand.
With this way of finishing, you will need slightly less fabric (i.e., no 3-inch hem allowance).
Source: Adapted from an article by Anne Carnahan
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