Sunday, January 11, 2015

Curtains for Days

I had a second sewing project for the bus before we left on our great road trip.  We needed curtains for the bus to provide some light insulation and to act as a security measure for when we left the bus in metropolitan areas.  Now, the curtains were very much a priority for me but not so much for the guys (with good reason). So, while the guys did an amazing marathon of improvements to the bus, my mom and I set out to solve the curtain dilemma.  

We had a number of constraints to consider.  We needed to keep the costs low while still obtaining around 20 yards of fabric. The fabric needed to be thick enough to be non-transparent and light enough to be hung on the inside of the bus with earth magnets.  It also had to be visually appealing. That's a tough order at any time of the year, but it felt especially challenging at Christmas when traditional fabrics weren't on sale and inventory was low.  

Ultimately my mom and I had a great time trying to accomplish this challenge.  We ended up choosing a flocked chevron felt from Jo-Ann Fabric's.  We originally wanted only aqua but we quickly realized there actually wasn't enough fabric available in Georgia to achieve that goal.  Shipping the fabric from Jo-Ann's website would have been a disaster because it was so close to the holidays.  We ultimately decided to do half aqua and half gray and only had to visit two locations.  We decided to alternate the colors every two windows to cohesively use the two fabrics.  I did some quick envelope math to decide how much fabric we needed and we walked away with around 12 yards of each color.  I spent right around $150 including tax for 24+ yards of fabric.  

When we got home I cut the felt to size so that each panel covered two windows on the bus. The felt was a great choice of fabric because I didn't have to sew single hem!  I sewed a small 1 inch patch over an earth magnet in the corner of each panel of fabric and the task was quickly done. At the end of the project, it became clear that my math was way off and I ended up with several yards of each color leftover.  I used some of the leftovers to cover an AV cabinet on the bus and the rest of the fabric now lives under a couch on the bus.  

The installed curtains were exactly what we were looking for! They were easily removed and replaced as needed by passengers.  As an added bonus, the felt really repels dirt! 

In Utah the bus blew a high pressured fuel line.  It was around midnight and snow was falling.  The engine trouble resulted in a lot of noxious fumes coming out of the engine (located inside the bus). We had to drop the windows so we could breathe and that's when the curtains really came in handy! The felt kept a lot of the snow out of the bus and still let us get fresh air.  The curtains were very helpful for the entire trip but this one application was worth all the effort!
Inside view during the first breakdown of the trip. 
Curtains are riding low for maximum views.

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