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Shibori Inspired Curtains

Isn't it funny how one project can spawn another?

So I updated the blinds in the living room {HERE} and then I decided that there was just too much white going on with those windows, and I needed to tone that down.

But what to do?

Well, obviously, I was going to add some color, but what color? And how?

The how was actually pretty easy, because I knew I wanted something natural feeling and I spied an indigo dyed wall hanging at Target and it was instant love. That is what I wanted to emulate for my curtains. A quick google search revealed that shibori style dying would be just the ticket. For those that don't know, shibori is the Japanese method of resist dying for fabric. I wasn't going to be using a wood block in my project, cause I'm lazy like that, but I did love the geometric lines and symmetry to some of the shibori dying techniques.

So after a quick trip to Ikea (love Ikea!) to fetch some white 108" curtains, and then realizing that I bought the wrong white curtains. I had bought tab-top curtains, and I wanted traditional rod-pocket curtains. No biggie! A trip to my sewing machine and I stitched those tabs to the back of the curtain and voila! I have some rod-pocket curtains now.

Now it was time to agonize over what color to dye said curtains. After some (ha!) back and forth over colors, I decided that a pretty primrose yellow would be just the thing for the living room.

I apologize for the lack of pictures here. Hopefully, you guys can visualize what I'm talking about here.

Now in order for me to have the loosely geometric line effect, I needed to fold the curtains a specific way. I would basically fold my curtain like you would the flag. In my research, I failed to notice just how they folded the fabric on the diagonal. This would come into play later. I placed 3 rubber bands loosely around each side of my triangles.

So I mixed up my dye bath following the directions on RIT's website {Primrose Yellow}, and then put my curtains into the bath for 30 minutes or so.

I pulled out my curtains, and I was in love. Then I rinsed them, and I was not so in love anymore. While the color had been what I wanted, my folding technique had thwarted my dying process. Only the top of my curtain was really dyed, and the yellow was not a pleasant one.

Determined not to be thwarted, I hung up the curtain and it became abundantly apparent that I had screwed up. The hubs came home and was very kind in his opinion about the newly dyed curtains. I told him they looked like pee, and I was going to redo them. He did not argue with my assessment of them.

Ok, so what went wrong? First, was my color choice. The yellow was not strong enough, and after seeing the yellow curtains against the strong green of the room, it just wasn't going to work. I needed a color that would hold its own against the greens, purples, and reds in the room. Hmmm, what color would work with those colors? The color in the room is Grape Leaf by Behr, and the rest of the colors I've picked are similar to grapes......  You see where I'm going with this? I needed a nice raisin color. Clearly, my room was speaking to me. RIT's website came to the rescue again and I decided on Tawny Port. See it {HERE}.

So now that the color was decided on, I needed to examine my folding technique. When you fold a flag, you wrap it up in itself in a series of diagonal folds, and that's where my problem was. The dye couldn't penetrate all those wrapped layers. If I wanted the edges of my curtains to receive the most dye, I needed all the folded edges exposed, so rather than wrapping the diagonal folds, I needed to accordion fold them. & Then We Tried has a great post about shibori folding techniques {HERE}.

So now that I knew how I'd screwed up, it was time for take 2. I mixed up another batch of dye. This one definitely looked like a witch's brew.

I folded my curtains like the flag again, then I refolded them the way I needed to. Sometimes I'm a slow learner. Then into the bath, the curtains went. They hung out for about 45 minutes.

Note, I didn't bleach the yellow out of my curtains. I put them in the new dye bath as they were, and said a prayer that it'd all work out. I'm a crazy hippie that way.

Luckily, I was not destined to fail a 2nd time. After rinsing the curtains, I was so in love with them! They turned out exactly as I envisioned. Into the washing machine with a healthy dose of vinegar was the next step. Then into the dryer until they were mostly dry.

While the curtains were doing their thing in the laundry room, I started hanging up the new curtain hardware. I screwed up again. I only bought enough hardware for one bloody curtain. Of course! Argh!
Well, my one curtain looked super nice hanging up by its lonesome for about 2 weeks, before I got back out to Ikea to buy more hardware, but once I got the 2nd one hung it was totally worth the wait.

 I love my new curtains, but I now I need to attend to some touch-ups on those walls.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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