Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ikea Faux Dotted Swiss

Some girls like faux fur, faux bois, faux tans, faux boo.. well, you get the drift - as for me - I like a good faux dotted swiss......  

Well, truthfully, I like dotted swiss curtains, but what I like even more is saving money.   A love of fabrics and fiscal prudence are gifts from my mom - she had a true love of design and I have yet to meet someone who loves finding a great bargain more than she did. She especially loved window treatments and changed them more than some people change their shoes.

So, when our the last new window was finally installed, trimmed and painted in the back bedroom of our second floor, it was time for me to call upon the skills my mother cultivated in me.  

Our new old house is an early 1920's hybrid of craftsman meets colonial, which we completely gutted and have restored into a rather respectable cozy home - and while we have allowed the hard details of the house to lean to the more masculine side of things, the soft details are all girl... well, mostly, so far as my husband will endure.  To me it's really just about balance of design - which speaks to me across the board - I like balance - like a vanilla and chocolate twist, bacon and eggs, peanut butter and jelly, circles and squares, stripes and checks, etc, etc.  So to balance the masculine details, I settled on the idea of feminine dotted swiss cafe curtains.  I wanted these throughout the second floor of our house for continuity both inside and out.  As for the dotted swiss, I didn't want the curtains to be silky or formal - I wanted them to suit the casual nature of the architecture. 

bad old windows & aluminum siding         beautiful new windows & cedar siding    

 To my great surprise, dotted swiss cafe curtains are not as readily available in the stores as they were when I was a kid.  So I did an online search and was further shocked by the fact that for the smallest window on my second floor it was going to be $35/per window for one pair of 72"w cafe curtains - that is just barely more than double the 32" width of the window - not lush by any measure.  My mom was all about making something look like more than it actually was and, ideally, doing it for the least amount of money possible.   I couldn't bear to think that it was going to cost me nearly $400 for 9 pairs of   cafe curtains that weren't even going to look lush. Undeterred, I continued to search, until one day I when was walking through Ikea with my sister and came across these...

Matilda sheer panels from Ikea.  Take a look at those dimensions - that's right, that 55"w is PER PANEL - or 110"w per pair.  For $19.99!!  Wait, because this gets better... the 98"l made it possible for me to get three - count 'em, three - pairs of cafe length curtains from each package.  Now, I am a girl who knows how to operate a sewing machine (I have 4 of them), knows what she likes, is rarely deterred and loves to find a bargain - so this deal hit all the bells for me.  Cutting these panels into three sets of curtains meant I was getting nearly quadruple the width of each window for $6.50 PER WINDOW!  To get this kind of "lushness" it would have cost me $70 per window online and it would have been four separate panels per window instead of two.  Of course, I did have to cut and sew them, and they aren't exactly dotted swiss, but look below - now tell me that isn't some cute fabric....

It's what I like to call "faux" dotted swiss... and it's machine washable and 100% cotton!-

I bought three pairs for a grand total of $60 and couldn't wait to get home to spike the bargain in the end-zone.  I measured all the windows and went to work.  

It was ridiculously easy.  
The sides were already finished and from every package the last pair cut from the bottom of the panel were technically already hemmed-

Just pin the hem and the head of the curtain, iron, sew and iron again.  
This fabric irons BEAUTIFULLY.

Last pair of 9 complete...

All that's left to do is put them in place, stand back, and

know that my mom is somewhere up there beaming with pride!

                       tv/sitting room                            guest bedroom                            master bedroom

As I mentioned, I grew up with a mom who loved curtains - like L-O-V-E-D - curtains.  When I was 5, she would persuade me into a trip to her favorite linen shop with the chance of having lunch across the street at the Woolworth's lunch counter with one of the older sales ladies from the linen shop while she shopped for curtains.  Before you draw any rash conclusions about my mom letting her 5 year old go off with "strangers" so she could "shop", it bears noting, that times were definitely different back in 1974 - and my mom had been going to that linen store, dealing with that same sweet sales lady, for the better part of 15 years.  It was a win-win as far as I was concerned - I must confess, curtain bargains didn't hold the same charm for me back then and I was VERY happy to sit at the counter of Woolworth's with a sweet old sales lady who was clearly charmed by my 5 year old nature.  Given my later need for a special diet for hyperactivity, I suspect the owner of the linen shop probably happily picked up the tab for that grilled cheese and coke to keep my mom in the store and me, well, not.  See, everybody wins... 

As for the bargain hunting, I am the youngest of five so my mom not only knew how to find a bargain - it was a financial imperative.  My mom would say - we have champagne tastes and a beer budget, but she made it fun and taught us all a lot about quality and getting the most for your money. My mother's ability to comb through that jamb-packed linen shop for just the right curtain style, impressed me - maybe via osmosis, but just the same... On the way over to 5th Street, my mom would quiz me on fabrics, colors and styles.  Later, when I was a little older, we'd do the math to get the right size for the window opening or maybe the math of how much it was going to cost to furnish the kitchen with new curtains for Easter.  The money math we kept just between us - nobody, sometimes not even my dad,  -needed to know just how good she was at finding a bargain.  

Our house was always tasteful, dignified, but most importantly, cozy.  How my mom did it all with five kids and one man's salary, I don't know, but she passed on the importance of making a house a home, knowing good quality, and virtue of prudent economics - sometimes under the clever guise of new kitchen curtains and the promise of a grilled cheese at Woolworths.... now, who's beaming with pride...

this post is linked to:

Furniture Feature Fridays


1 comment:

  1. I've been looking for dotted Swiss myself with no luck. Now I know just where to find them! You have a gorgeous home and I love your cafe' curtains!