As the weather warms up, most of us like to change out our heavy winter curtains and drapes for lighter weight and colored material for our windows. There seems to be nothing that compares to wonderful breezy spring days when you can open the windows and have light weight sheer curtains fluttering in the breeze. It not only cleans the stale winter air out of the house but the sunlight and warm sunshine and breezes are good for the soul.
Now that we are in the thralls of summer and it is much hotter than normal this year, many people are thinking of ways to keep heat out of their homes which means cutting out some of the afternoon sun that enters the windows. Do you put up a different set of drapes an curtains, do you layer the ones you have and hope that you don’t make your house as dark as a dungeon?
I have a solution that I use an you may want to give it a try as well. I actually use double café curtains all year around on some of my windows. During the winter, I use heavier weight material and I line them, whereas in the summer I use very light weight semi-opaque sheer material and do not line them. One advantage to having double café curtains, is that you can open up the top set to let sunlight in and keep the bottom ones closed for privacy.
I also make full length draperies or curtains, which I hang on top of the café curtains on a separate curtain rod. During the day, when it isn’t too hot, I pull them back and drape them loosely and secure them back using a curtain tie-back hook. When it starts getting too warm, I drop these full drapes to also cover the window and give another layer to help keep the heat from penetrating into the rooms. I also like to close them at night, to provide privacy. In the winter, this same method of double layering helps keep the cold out.
In my bedrooms, I have used floral café curtains with the long draperies, using a solid color that is predominate in the floral pattern of the café curtains. Since most people like to have the uniformity of all white or another neutral shade on all their windows from the outside looking in, you might want to line them with either inexpensive white cotton or bleached or unbleached muslin. If you do use the muslin, be sure to wash it first before using, because it is one material that will definitely shrink on you!
Café curtains are so simple to make even a beginner can master them easily. From the time you cut them out to hanging them at your window, should be less than a two hour project. If you do not want to make a placket to run a pressure rod through and gather the curtains on that, you can purchase drapery rings that just clip onto your fabric and then run those through your curtain rod. You can use the same methods for the long over draperies as well. Gathering your curtains on a rod will give you a more country or cottage feel to your draperies. You might like to choose florals or gingham checks, and even embellish them with lace. Whereas the clip-on drapery hooks along with solid color fabric, will provide you with a more sleek modern appearance which many people prefer today. Most café curtains that you purchase in the store will not be lined and are reasonably priced. You could easily make a lining to be attached to them. Using bleached or unbleached, pre-washed muslin fabric or even use old white cotton bed sheets to cut to size and made into linings.
When it comes to making the long solid color curtains, why not use cotton flat sheets? You can use the top hem of the sheet as the top of your curtain to be run through the rod. You might want to run a line of stitching about 1/4th of an inch from the top fold to give a more professional look to your curtains. You will then run your curtain rod thru the remaining large pocket that is left below this top stitched section. Many stores sell sheets singularly rather than in packaged sets. You can hit the bulls eye by getting individual flat sheets in 200-220 thread count from $9.99 to $11.99, brand new, or check out your local thrift stores where you can often find them at just $2.00-$3.00 each.
No matter whether you decide to purchase café curtains, or make your own, I am sure you are going to find them well worth it when you see how much they help in keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
You can purchase books on how to make cafe curtains here.