Make Do: Caravan curtains

For this summer I have bought a caravan. More about that later, but one of the first things I’ve done to make it a bit more me is taking off the shabby grey curtains and replacing them with some self-made ones.

The colour scheme for the whole caravan is pink, blue and green, and for the curtains I bought a couple metres in a fresh apple green checked print.
The fabric itself is fairly see-through and as the main thing I’m intending to do in there is sleep I bought white blackout fabric to line them with. I bought the blackout fabric online and was a bit worried it would be a strange texture or not very blacking out being white, but it’s absolutely perfect. It’s a bit heavier which is good to keep the curtains straight and doesn’t let any light through.
Caravan curtains are not the easiest to find ready made and as I’m not dirty of a little needlework I made them myself, and its not difficult at all! Here a little tutorial how to make them. Of course its still the same concept for making full length curtains in your home, with or without the blackout lining.
Materials needed:
  • Your curtain fabric. This doesn’t need to be specifically for curtains, I bought some simple cotton from the market.
  • Blackout fabric (optional). Preferably use a complementary or lighter colour than your curtain fabric so it won’t shine through.
  • Bandex, or other kind of band. It’s basically a band with 2 or more strings that you can pull to make folds in your curtain and they often have little loops you can put hooks through to hang the curtain on the rail.
  • Thread in a complementary colour. I went for white.
  • Sewing machine, measuring tape, pins, maker, etc. All you need for any sewing work.
Step 1: Measure the size of your curtains and cut the fabric.
If you already had curtains hanging its easiest to measure those.
If not, measure the window/rail and add 5-10cm on either side (I’d go for 5 on small caravan curtains, but 10cm in your home). This makes sure you won’t end up with a gap between the curtains.
For the hem add another 3cm on the sides, 10 cm on the bottom and an optional 3cm at the top (I folded the top as the fabric was frail and to keep both layers together).
For example: my window was 50×70, so I cut out 58×83 of fabric.
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Cut the same size of blackout fabric. As I found this fabric very slippery and the checks where easier to cut, I first cut the checked fabric, pinned this on the blackout fabric and then cut it out. This way its also already perfectly pinned together for the next step.
Step 2: Pin and sew the fabrics together. (Skip this step if you don’t line your curtain)
If you are lucky enough to have an overlocker its best to stitch the layers together. If not, use an overlock stitch on your sewing machine or another strong stitch that will keep them together.

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Step 3: Hem the sides.
Iron and stitch the hem by folding the edges double so you won’t see the raw edge anymore. Careful with the blackout as thats usually not very resistant to a hot iron. If you do it neatly you should end up with a 0.75cm hem.
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Step 4: Hem the bottom.
Do the same with the bottom, but fold it over wider so you have a larger hem, of about 5cm. This will make the curtain heavy at the bottom so it hangs neatly.
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Step 5: Hem the top (optional) and stitch on the bandex.
As the bandex will cover the top you can just fold over your fabric and stitch the bandex on top. With the bandex make sure you cut some extra so you can still reach the strings (optional, I just used it for the hoops).
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You have now finished your curtain!
Give it a last press, hang the hooks on and slip it on the rail. Et voila: you can have a lovely sleep in the dark.
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Meet Alice, my lovely little caravan.

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This summer I’ll be working at a theatre festival, which means I’ll be living in a caravan for about 3 months. Until 2 years ago I said I’d never even go on holiday where I don’t have my own toilet and shower, but with the prospect of a fun job I’ve caved in and bought a funny little caravan. Now I can’t live in a boring old caravan all summer and I had a couple of weeks off before I started the job, so I’ve done some decorating.

Initially my plan was to paint the whole thing inside out, but that seemed to be a bit too much effort. Instead I put coloured plastic foil on the cupboards, lots of posters on the walls, a pile of cushions on the bed and made fresh curtains.

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I used a green, pink and blue colour scheme. Partly as I still had accessorise in those colours lying about, and it looks very cheerful.SONY DSCSONY DSC

Most of the images on the walls and the collage on the wardrobe door are from Flow magazine, one of my favourite Dutch magazines (that now also has an international edition). Of course I also opened my pandora box of postcards to choose some nice ones to hang on the wall.

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I’m hoping to get a good and sunny festival season this summer, at least my caravan will bring some sunshine.

Oh and why Alice? Well the caravan is officially called ‘Adria’ so it had to start with an A and I do have a bit of an ‘Alice in wonderland’ feel for the whole thing. Like you’ve gone down a technicolour rabbit hole and landed in a flowerbed.
Ps. A tutorial on making those curtains are up later this week, super easy!

Am I seeing double or is it my camera?

On holidays next to my iPhone and SLR camera I usually wonder around with a bright pink plastic analogue camera around my neck. I love playing with my Diana mini, and although they are usually not the best of pictures, they are the ones that end up in the photo album.

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Today was the excitement of finding out if I had not forgotten to take the lenscap off and if the photolab could deal with my random sized pictures. -it normally takes square images, but with multiple exposure I’m sometimes tempted to make the roll one long panoramic picture)-.

They all came out fairly alright. Some random overlapping between events and one I really don’t know what I’ve done with it, but looks pretty cool. Here as promised a selection from what I’ve taken in Italy. (there were also christmas pictures on the roll, but it’s not really the time for that).

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Double church

Two churches in one at the San Marco Piazza.

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Relaxing at the waterside beside some gondola’s.

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I’ve got a weakness for decorated bows around church entrances.

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Julia's Keys

Romantic locks at the house of Juliette.
Mystery of VeronaSuppose a little overexposed, it’s like someone scratched off only bits of the picture.

Having a laugh for charity

I have recently moved out of London, back in the Dutch countryside. One of the surprising things I’m missing is browsing my local charity shops. In my London neighbourhood about every other shop sold second hand goods for charity. In Holland I have yet to find an Oxfam store for some cheap books or old granny finds.

However with the start of summer most local churches have their annual flea markets. They are basically one big charity fete where between the trash you can find the greatest things for no money.
I have to admit, most of it is rubbish and its also very much about having a laugh with friends and family. The first one I visited was from my nan’s local church. She intended to go alone, but in the end we had a car full with my mum, brother and I joining.
She wishes she’d never told us about it. They had just opened and we were already almost fighting over some deck chairs! My brother got lucky and got the last one for 5 euro. Such fun to see people practically running to be the first to find a great chair, vase, bag or whatever. Soon we split up, only to find each other at the strangest places with the craziest things in our hands. While I was diving into the handbags I spotted my brother with an old stereo and a rug under his arms.
My nan managed to make me crazier than I already am at such occasions. My brothers rug was obviously hers and together we found another rug for in my caravan (I guess you  can’t wait to see my carpeted caravan). And I got the last 2 English china cups and saucer after she bought the rest. (50p per set!)
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I also got a large leather weekend bag for only 2euro (partly to carry everything else), 2 small tins for teabags and sweets (1.50 together), a 1950s Afga Clack photo camera for 5euro, and a pile of books.
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After about 2 hours laughing, coffee, cake and greeting people we carefully made our way home with the deckchair balancing between our heads as it only just fit in the car.
This Saturday I’m helping out at the flea market of my own local church, who knows what we’ll find there.

Playtime

The last couple of days I’ve been busy behind my sewing machine making curtains. I don’t mind doing it, but all those straight lines do get boring. For variation others might get up and do something else, I only swap the sewing foot and dive in my scrap box for some fun freehand embroidery. Today only I’ve made this telephone and typewriter.

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Not entirely sure yet what to do with them, you can have only so many cushion covers. Might make some more similar images and put them together in a quilt. Should make a nice display of vintage items I like.

Call the midwife dress

A couple of months ago I bought an original dress pattern from late 1950s. As sizes have changed a lot over the last 60 years I decided to first try it out on a white bed sheet I never used.

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Having finished it the size is pretty good. Only feels like quite a shame to just trow the white version out, so I decided to cheer it up with blue buttons and some embroidery stitches from my new (yes again, long story) sewing machine.
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I do like the outcome, however 1950s, white and blue, makes it look like I could easily join the nurses from BBC series ‘Call the Midwife’.
Suggestions how to make this dress less ‘nurse’ are welcome. I might just cut up another sheet for a second dress, this time a stripy Cath Kidston one. Hoping it will look like the stripy dress on the pattern.

Italian rainy days

Not all summer holidays take place in the blazoning sun. Despite my optimism by packing summer dresses, my favourite item of the week became my raincoat that I last minute put on as it was raining here.

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However we did still have some sunny moments with 29°C at its peak in Bologna, and as it was mainly a city trip that was almost too much for us.
And the stripy ‘gondola’ top I made was perfect for Venice.
I’m not really one for Maria statues, and the reason I like this one is probably more for the little frames next to it and the sweet dried flowers.
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Architectural my favourite building in Venice; the Doge’s Palace. Beautiful Venetian Gothic style and a warm salmon-pink colour (which you can’t quite see in the picture, you need real sunlight for that).
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More pictures are made with my analogue Diana Mini, so will have to wait till they are developed to show them. Fingers crossed they come out alright.