Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Unfinished Home Furnishing Project #89938...

There is a reason that I have't posted for a few days...

Let's start at the beginning.

Most of my friends have bought existing homes where they may want to replace some things, but everything they need is already there in the interim. Some bought new houses that were built by project builders and have everything in them all shiny and new. They are painted, have the driveway included, all the door furniture installed and even turf and garden beds.

We moved into our brand new house the Christmas before last and have been slowly working on things that we decided to do ourselves in order to save cash. My advice to anyone considering it - just get the builder to do it. Here is our list:
  • Internal painting (most of it done by the time we moved in - thanks expert-master-painter-extraordinaire Mum - but the architraves, doors and the final coat on the spare bedrooms are yet to be completed)
  • External painting (can't be entirely finished until we get the yard level enough for trestles)
  • Door furniture installation (generally not a problem as there are only two of us in the house)
  • Driveway concreting (thankfully we got this put in before the rain last summer, but we still want to get it stencilled when we can afford it)
  • 'Proper' fencing to the back yard (we're relying on star pickets and dog wire at the moment)
  • 'Nice' fencing around the front yard
  • Battening in under the front part of the house where it isn't the full 2 storeys (most of it is now done, except where we want to have gates)
  • Insulating the underneath of our floor (which I've requested Hubby to get done before next winter)
  • Landscaping and garden beds (although we have one garden bed down the side of the house, the side and front yards need to have dirt brought in to level them out, and we have a mess in the front yard where we've left rubble to go under the necessary dirt)
  • Curtains (We have a very nice selection of old sheets and towels combined with the odd old curtain that we've borrowed from family who have upgraded)
  • Carpet in the bedrooms (which would be nice before next winter, but probably won't happen)
  • Mirrors for the bathroom and ensuite (done - thank you, wonderful hubby)
  • Sliding cupboard doors for the built-ins in the bedrooms (who needs cupboard doors?)

That's all I can think of for now, but it is a significant list. Things are slowly getting done, but we still have a long way to go. And every now and then, something actually happens.

My husband's father's cousin's wife, a lovely lady whom I shall call Em, offered to come and sew curtains for me. What a sweetie.

Now I was certain that I could actually work out how to sew curtains, but I couldn't find the time to complete such a huge job. The other option was to break it down into little bits and the house would be a mess of curtain manufacturing effort on and off for months. But Em said that when they came to Queensland on holiday they could stay with us for a week and she would sew. Bless her cotton socks.

So during this year I have searched for and selected fabric that I loved, and bought all the thread and lining and other bits that she'd need. We ordered the tracks and they arrived last week so that Hubby could get them up before our visitors arrived Thursday (tomorrow).

Now we get to the reason that I haven't posted for a few days. Monday morning I was madly trying to get a report finished for a client so that I'd be able to assist with the sewing party at the end of the week. My husband's father's cousin rang to say that Em wasn't feeling well, so they wanted to get home sooner, could they come to us after lunch that day (Monday)? Then Em could sew on Tuesday to get something done, and they would leave Wednesday.

There was no problem with that, I had a couple of hours to get the essential housework done ready for their arrival, then we had a cuppa. I said that if Em wasn't feeling well, she didn't have to sew, but Em was keen to get some done. We started with the lounge because the fabric I'd bought didn't have backing, and I had bought separate lining - this made them more complicated, so a more experienced seamstress was an advantage.

Things started out OK, but got ugly quickly. Em wasn't feeling 100%. I don't know enough to be much help in working out the maths. It turns out that I could have saved heaps of time by getting the fabric shop to cut the drops, rather than getting it all in one piece. I didn't know they would do that. The pattern wasn't straight across the fabric, but not off by much. This ended up with us crawling around on the floor with my trusty old high school set square in an effort to get the drops straight.

An added complication was that when I'd ordered the material the girl had told me the wrong width for the fabric. Fortunately it was wider than I thought, but that then meant I didn't have enough lining.

Also, I had taken the shop-girl's advice over the phone about what sort of lining to buy. She steered me away from a cotton twill, saying it would perish and that she had some fabrics with thermal/blockout properties. It sounded good to me, so I fell for it. What came in the post was rubber-backed stuff. I haven't done much sewing, but knew enough to avoid anything that was rubber-backed because it perishes. Of course, I didn't open the package until Monday afternoon when we needed it. It felt icky, and kept grabbing onto the face fabric and skewing it all over the place.

Unfortunately it wasn't until the first windowful of curtains were finished that the worst of it became apparent. The horrible lining had skewed, and then stuck onto the fabric at the wrong locations. As a result, the curtains had sort of static-ed themselves into weird shapes, and the hem had gone off straight (unless I pulled it down). It had to be unpicked. The horrible rubber stuff grabbed onto the sewing thread, too, which made that a cow of a job.

We finally admitted defeat. It wasn't worth doing any more. I decided to give the horrible lining to Hubby to use at work to keep his glass and security screens from getting scratched when they deliver them to site. I will unpick the finished curtain and redo it later on with good lining (once I've found out precisely what constitutes good lining).

The photos show an overview of what the house now looks like.

So how many curtains did we get finished during the last two days?

...Approximately None


Anonymous said...

The pretty stuff looks good! You'll have it finished in no time. Life is just one great learning experience.

Mother of Givinya and Crazy Sister.

Crazy Sister said...

That material is awesome. If I were you, I'd be rubber-wrapping that shopgirl's house.

Hippomanic Jen said...

I LOVE the fabric. The only bright spot of the whole fiasco is that the fabric is gorgeous and worth rescuing.

I'm also really chuffed to get a comment from GdE and CS's mum. Hello, and I hope that all is well at your place.

If only I knew where the shopgirl's house was, I may in fact be arrested for some adolescent prank.