Sew 'Stream

Window treatments are so vital in the Airstream. Close quarters in RV parking warrants some serious blocking of the windows. You want to avoid feeling like you are in a fish bowl. There are several options obviously, but I have chosen to use curtains due to cost of other options. Anything custom can get expensive easily. Because I am able to make them on my own, I like to use that saved money to buy pretty things. I also like the softness curtains bring to the design resembling more of a (tiny) home. We also use a removable frosted liner (see Right) for the bathroom window to ensure maximum privacy at all times. Curved walls in the ‘stream lead to the curtains falling away from the wall-leaving gaps. To remedy this in the rest of the Airstream, we use magnets to secure the edges of the curtains. The removable frosted liner also allows the space to have as much natural light as possible, and I like as much counter space possible making curtains suboptimal.

 
 

Along with design, one of my Airstream niches is being the on call seamstress. I am hospitalist PA, meaning I have a schedule that affords me one week off at a time (flip side is I work 7 days in a row as well). Shortly after starting this gig about 3.5 years ago, I quickly learned that I could not fill my days with only watching Bravo, I mean I totally could, but it wasn’t a good look for me. I had become intrigued with the idea of being able to sew as my mom would always conquer little sewing projects that added a lot to our home design. Living in College Station meant I could no longer rely on her to help me with my projects if I wanted them done in a timely manner. With a large amount of time on my hands, I decided I would conquer learning how to sew. It sounds more dramatic than it was. I bought a machine on Amazon, it arrived in a couple days, and I went to local Joann’s sewing class. Then I was off to sewing!

Like Will has mentioned in previous blogs, you learn with experience. This is no exception.

Couple things I have learned about conquering custom curtains for the Airstream are:

1. Fabric choice is imperative.

In the first Airstream I didn’t realize exactly how important this was. The fabric I choose was a woven fabric that almost had little holes in it. Luckily it wasn’t sheer, but it didn’t offer as much privacy as you would probably want. Main reason I didn’t realize this is because the fabric opacity changes when it is backlit. AKA when you hang it in the airstream at night with the lights on, you can see a lot more than you think! I recommend getting swatches and testing it out before making a decision. Another point within this topic is print on the fabric. The first Airstream was plain white, the second was plaid… very wide range here! I kind of went mad with plaid. Although I loved the plaid curtains when they were open, it was a little overwhelming in such a tiny space when they were all closed. For the third Airstream, I feel like we are in the middle of spectrum with a wide horizontal stripe. I’m currently finishing them up now, so I will have to update on how I feel about them when they finally get hung!

2. Come correct. Measure correct.

“Measure twice. Cut once…” I know it sounds like a no brainer, but measuring correctly how much fabric you need is so important. I have made many mistakes despite doing this (insert *eye roll*). My routine consists of picking out a fabric with the width of the bolt and orientation of print in mind. Having this in mind helps you determine what the most cost effective way to utilize the fabric. Measure all the windows (a couple of times- lengthxwidth) and write those numbers down systematically. I usually allow for at least 1.25x the width of the window (I believe people usually do 1.5x the width in interior design, but with a small space I stick with 1.25x). Do not forget to add at least an inch to length and width for hems.  Then the math part comes into play by converting how many inches you will need into yards. I have stood at the Joann’s counter many a time asking for help… checking and rechecking my numbers.

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3. Black out or not to black out?

That really is the question. Will really pushed for black out curtains in the third Airstream for several reasons, and I have been cursing his name ever since. Main reasons include being able to sleep better, better insulation from the Texas heat, and more privacy. Like I mentioned before, I am still in the process of finishing them, so I cannot comment on the finished product. All I can say, is I hope it was worth it. Choosing to line the curtains is essentially doubling your task, so tread lightly. I originally wanted to limit it to the bedroom to help decrease my workload. Will wasn’t having it, and the linen fabric I choose was too sheer to hang independently (*eye roll* and see #1). Needless to say, I will be ecstatic when they are finished.

 Do not be afraid to recruit help from anyone willing!

Do not be afraid to recruit help from anyone willing!

Thanks for reading, and please comment below with any specific questions!  Any professional seamstresses out there please feel free to chime in as I am still learning as well! I better be getting back to the sewing machine!

 
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Britt