Tag Archives: shower curtain

How to insert grommets

Yikes– it’s been too long since I’ve had the time to post. Last week went by in a blur of the very type of activity that make me GRUMPY! I find that at my certain stage of life, I don’t manage well when I’m pulled and pushed in different directions every hour or so. Oh dear– I’m starting to whine, and I promised myself I would spare you all. Suffice it to say that I am very glad it’s a new week!

To the Great Grommet Tutorial!!

The area that is to be grommet-ed needs to be sturdy enough so that the grommets don’t rip the fabric. For my shower curtain, that meant folding the top hem an extra time, to give me 3 layers of cotton. If that’s not possible for your project, you can face your hem with interfacing or a separate strip of fabric. If you use a strip of fabric, you can use a glue stick to hold the strip in place while you are inserting the grommets– no need to sew the strip in place.
Grommets are widely available in different sizes in silver and gold color. I wonder if they come in other metallic colors?

There are two different types of packages– one with the grommet tools, and one with only the grommets. If you don’t have the grommet tool, make sure you purchase the appropriate package! I bought one pack of each type, as I needed additional grommets to complete my project.
When you open the grommet package (with the tools) you will notice that there are two parts to the grommet: the bottom is a metallic circle with a tall center (it is shaped like a metal top hat), and the top is a metallic circle with “teeth”. There are also two tools: the bottom tool is a thick metallic circle with a dip in the circular part, and the top tool is a longer tube of metal with a circular protrusion towards the bottom of the tube. Both parts of the tool are shown in the third photo, so scroll down to take a peek, then come on back up here for more directions!

Let’s begin grommeting!

  • Mark off the grommet spacing onto your fabric. You can use whatever marking tool you like for this part– the mark will be cut away underneath the grommet. I used an ordinary pencil. Make sure that you leave enough space at the top edge of your fabric to accommodate both the thickness of the grommet metal ring, plus some extra fabric extension beyond that–about 1/4″ is sufficient. To see a finished example illustrating this spacing, scroll down to the last photo of this post.
  • Once you are happy with your marks, cut a small circle out at each mark. Make sure your cut circle is a bit smaller than the inner opening of your grommet! The cut circle doesn’t have to be pretty.
  • Place the bottom grommet tool (the thick circle of metal) on a hard, flat surface that can withstand the vibrations of hammering. Granite countertop= bad choice. Concrete floor = good choice. In the photo below, you see the bottom grommet tool on the concrete floor. I am holding the bottom “top hat” part of the grommet that will sit in the grommet tool’s “dip”.
  • In the photo below, you will see how to insert the “top hat” part of the grommet into the fabric. Push the top part of the grommet’s “hat” into one of the holes you cut into your fabric.
  • Once you’ve got this bottom grommet part inserted into your cut hole, rest the grommet on the bottom grommet tool. (Notice the top “tube” tool in the photo below.)
  • Take the top part of the grommet– the metallic circle with the teeth– and place it on top of the protruding bottom part of the grommet. The metallic “teeth” face down towards the fabric. See photos below:
  • The second piece of the grommet tool is a solid tube of metal with an extended circle towards the bottom of the tube. Place the tube inside of the protruding “hat” of the bottom grommet. The shorter edge of the tube goes into the “hat”, which leaves you with a longer tube to grab onto while you hammer. See photo below:
  • You will now hammer on top of the tube– hold onto the tube while you do this. I couldn’t photograph myself holding onto the tube while hammering while holding the camera because I misplaced my third arm that day. This process flattens the protruding top hat of the bottom grommet and secures the two pieces into one solid grommet-y circle of metal.
  • Make sure that you pound hard enough to flatten everything in place. You’ll get a feel for this. If you don’t think the grommet is secure and settled into the fabric, give it all another whack. Here are my finished grommets, ready for action in the new shower curtain!

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Tutorial: how to make a shower curtain

Making a shower curtain from your own fabric is a really simple project.  This tutorial is in two parts.  Part one will deal with creating the fabric curtain.

First, measure your space. You need to know how wide the tub is (usually 72-74″) and how long you want your curtain.

To get your width, measure your tub space. You have several design choices to make at this point. You can simply measure your shower curtain liner and make your curtain the same width. This will result in a more tailored looking curtain.  You can use your curtain liner as a template to mark off the holes for the curtain rings onto your fabric curtain.

If you want more fullness in your fabric shower curtain, you have several options. You can multiply the tub width by 1 1/2 or even 2x the width to get a more gathered looking curtain.

Generally speaking, your shower curtain liner will have holes for 12 curtain rings.  To create the hole spaces for your fuller fabric shower curtain, you can take your full curtain width and divide that measurement evenly to accommodate the 12 holes. This plan keeps the full width of the curtain protected by the liner, but you might find some of the fabric curtain drooping in between the rings when the curtain is closed.

Another option for the fuller fabric shower curtain is to space 12 holes to line up with the shower curtain liner, then add extra holes for additional curtain rings to account for the extra width of the fabric curtain. The curtain will then extend beyond the curtain liner at either or both ends.

To get the length, I hung one of my shower curtain rings, then measured from the bottom of that down to the floor. Take that number (X”) and add 1/2″ to that measurement to account for the part of the curtain that extends beyond the top of the grommet and into the curtain ring itself (X” plus 1/2″). Now, subtract 1″ from the bottom edge of the curtain hem, to keep the curtain up off of the potentially wet floor (X” plus 1/2″ minus 1″). Finally, add 3″ for the top edge (2 x 1 1/2″– you will end up with 3 thicknesses of fabric at the top edge of your curtain), and 3″ for the bottom hem.

To recap the length: measure from curtain ring to floor, add 5 1/2″ to get your total length, including the top and bottom hems.

Once you have the proper width (sewing lengths together as needed) and length, you will sew the outer edge hems (or leave them as selvedges, if that aesthetic is okay).  I press about 1/2″, then fold that over and press again, then top-stitch.  Repeat for the other edge.

For the top edge, press 1 1/2″ all along the width of the curtain.  Fold over, and press again, then top- stitch.  You should now have 3 thicknesses of fabric, with a 1 1/2″ hem at the top edge.

For the bottom edge, press 1/2″ all along the width of the curtain.  Fold over 2 1/2″, press, then top stitch.   Note:  I usually wait to hem the bottom after the curtain has been hanging in place for a week, to let the fabric relax and stretch if it’s going to.

Up next:  grommets!  With photos!!

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shower curtain

It seems like the cousin of Murphy’s Law goes into effect when you remodel a home: no matter where you start the remodel, you end up remodeling every corner of the house. My house has proved no exception to the rule; we now find ourselves working our way through the house from one end to the other.

One desperately needed upgrade has been the bathrooms. The cabinets and fixtures are the originals from 1976… old, dated, falling apart. The boy’s bathroom got the first re-do:

The cabinet was a dining room buffet piece that Mr. Wild Onion re-finished. The granite is a beautiful rusty gold, with slate tiles as the surrounding backspash. The mirror was a Costco find.

The shower curtain is the point of this post, however.  I couldn’t find a store-bought curtain that looked nice in this elegant bathroom.  One day, I noticed that Mr. Wild Onion had pulled out a piece of my rusted, overdyed fabrics and draped it over the shower curtain rod.  What’s this??  Mr. W.O. is playing in my stash??  Get out!!

Turns out he hasn’t decided to learn how to quilt (phew– my stash is safely MINE!!) He just thought that the fabric looked good in the bathroom.  OH!!  Cool!! He has a very good eye for color and texture, and I agreed that the fabric really added some great texture in the room.

A shower curtain has a lot of fabric, so I had to create some rusty art cloth specifically for the project.  I got out some white cotton, dampened it in a water/vinegar mixture, and tossed it (artfully, of course) into my trusty rusty wheelbarrow.

A week later, after turning and misting the fabric daily, I had enough lovely rusty fabric for the curtain.  I added some whimsically cut chocolate brown squares to mimic the slate tile squares in the backsplash/bathtub area.  I love how it turned out, and thought you might like to see an example of how to use your own art cloth:

Here’s another fairly gratuitous photo, just because I do so love the rusty texture!

Next up:  a tutorial on adding grommets

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