When I remodeled my tiny main bathroom, I raised the shower rod, as high as possible. Two reasons: that’s nicer for tall people and I think it makes the space look more spacious. That meant that the existing outer cotton shower curtain looked stupid. It barely skimmed the top of the tub.
Time to go long. My options were:
- Ignore it and try not to let it bug me
- Add an extension to the existing curtain
- Buy a new, extra long shower curtain
- Make one
Options 1-2 just weren’t going to work. The bathroom was hardworking enough. It deserved a little pretty, not a makeshift or almost good look. Also, I was feeling lazy seamstress-wise.
Option 3 was a no go because when it comes to things like shower curtains, I can be seriously cheap. And if I am going to spend money, I want exactly what I want. Shopping about for extra long shower curtains gave me some serious sticker shock. Also, I didn’t really like anything I found. Spending money on ick, well, that would be icky.
Option 4 took a bit of thinking. I really was NOT IN THE MOOD to sew anything.
Still, I had to size the project. Shower curtains typically measure 72×72″ (sometimes 74″). I wanted something that was roughly 72×82.” Wide fabric comes in at about 54″ pre-shrinkage, so just not wide enough without a seam. With seams and hems, I’d need six yards of something. At $3-$5 per yard for cottons that I didn’t loathe, the shower curtain was costing $18-$30 to start.
I thought about a tablecloth, repurposed. Poking about, pretty vintage ones were pricey. New cheap ones were too poly for me. And still pricey.
Then it hit me. A full size flat sheet might do the trick. At 81×96,” it would certainly be wide enough. So the center seam issue would be solved pretty easily. That said, it would still be slightly large. Folding, I thought, would solve the issue. The sheet could be folded at the top to offer whatever length was necessary. Width wise, I could either space out the typical 12 grommet holes wider than normal, or I could fold again at one end. So, folding a double size flat sheet it would be. Since I had none, I hit Target because they offer 300 thread count cotton sheets at $11.99. I went for white but there were other pretty colors.
Next came the grommets. Now, the biggest problem with doing grommets is once you start, you don’t want to stop. Self discipline is called for. And offering to make grommety things to everyone you know. For this project, I went for big grommets because I like that look and it would fit my fat shower rod hooks. Joanne was my source. Using coupons, one grommet kit and one set of additional grommets cost me about $10 (the kit comes with about eight, and a typical shower curtain needs 12 grommets. For my folding strategy, I needed 13.). Note: Joanne Fabric’s site doesn’t show all the grommets they offer online. Cool tip: Grommets in the sewing section are slightly cheaper than the ones in the drapery section.
Here’s the blow-by-blow on getting it done.
Budget: Less than $25 for the basics, if you get your grommets with coupons and buy an inexpensive sheet. If you don’t have stamps and ink on hand already, that will be an additional cost.
- Gather what you need:
- Full length sheet
- Grommet kit and enough grommets for your shower rod hooks (usually 12 for the hooks but you will need a 13th as well). Choose grommets that offer a fat enough hole for your hooks
- Hammer and solid surface for pounding (concrete steps are ideal)
- Stamps and fabric ink pads for stamping your curtain
- Iron, for assisting with the top fold and setting the stamps
- Launder: washing and drying the sheet is necessary. It will shrink a little and you’ll want to wash it every month anyway. If it’s super wrinkly and you’re going to stamp, you’ll want to get the wrinkles out. This was not necessary with my Target sheet. Plus I like the slightly wrinkly look of cotton.
- Fold: The top of the sheet with the fat white hem became the bottom of the curtain. This means the top of the curtain would be the bottom of the sheet. Fold the bottom of the sheet over so that the total folded length will be length you want. Iron the fold.
- Space & mark: Using your old shower curtain or liner, space out the the grommet holes and mark them with a pencil. Make an x, don’t make a heavy mark or then you have to get rid of it later. Add a 13th grommet hole at the end of the shower curtain.
- Pound your first hole. Pound one grommet hole through the top folded section (so you’re going through two pieces of fabric). Do the side that will be seen the least, just in case you get the spacing wrong. The grommet kit will show you had to do this and there are a ton of examples online. It’s so easy and fun!
- Test: Hang up the sheet to check that the length is right. Really, do this. It can go wrong.
- Finish pounding: Once you have the right, pound the rest of your holes. Make sure you’re consistent. You want the grommets on each side to look like they match.
- Hang your curtain. Fold that leftover end over so you have two grommets hanging on the 12th hook.
- Contemplate the design you want to stamp.
- Be arty: Take the curtain down and stamp it. I wanted something simple and subtle so I made a border of sea monsters at the bottom in a sea blue. The always wonderful LuLu improved this by stamping bubbles randomly over the rest of it in two other blues. Also, she did some stamping at the top to disguise my bad pencil marks that wouldn’t wash out. It’s perfect for me, both fresh and subtle. Glancing at it, you basically see a white cotton shower curtain. Up close, you get fun surprises.
- Cure & set: Let it cure for 24 hours and then iron it. This sets the fabric ink so it won’t run when you wash it again. Hang it back up. You’re done!