Frugal furnishings for a frustrated seamstress


It may be March, but it is still rather chilly here. We don’t have double glazing but are, in fact, quite glad, as when you’ve got a roaring fire in the stove, it can actually get too hot and I do like a house that breathes – rather than a stuffy, over-insulated airless space.However, as we have a length of wall which is made up of only windows in the living room, when the North wind starts to blow, you really need curtains to take the edge off.Thick material is a great insulator. At the amazing “Musée des Maisons Comtoises“(Franche-Comté Houses Museum), which I have visited many times, I will always remember  the bedrooms in certain houses, literally alcoves containing a raised bed, cordoned off by a very thick curtain, or sometimes a cupboard door. Logical really, energy saving and avoids wasting heat.

Inspired by those bedrooms and tired of the North wind, I set out to make some curtains. However, my sewing machine, annoyingly is in England, so I wanted something quick and easy without a lot of sewing by hand. I am a real fan of “friperies” & “ressourceries”, French junk shops, often great initiatives which provide jobs for the local community and also recycle old objects, furniture, clothes etc.I found a huge piece of old, thick,grainy, cream-coloured linen. 6m for 5€, bargain!

I also stumbled upon some unusual square, wooden, curtain rings, which seem to have been made in the Jura in the 80s.


I then discovered these great curtain clips, which simply attach to the material, no need to sew on curtain hook loops etc. I also discovered that my thick linen did not fray when cut. I simply folded over and ironed the top hem, which wasn’t really a hem, but thought 2 layers would make it stronger. A hazelwood rail chopped off one of our hazelnut trees, a mixture of wooden and wrought iron brackets, to fix the rails to the wall and my curtains were born.They may look like something from The Flintsones, but I like to think they have a rustic charm. In any case, we have certainly conserved a lot of heat this winter, which would have otherwise escaped through the meagre windows.