Powder Room French Door Curtain

powder room with the ez shade on the doorBefore and after: time to replace the EZ shade still on the downstairs bathroom door with a shirred curtain!

It might seem odd to have a glass door on the powder room but I found 5 sets of salvage doors and used them to age the house. The one for the powder room still had the old brass curtain rods and brackets for curtains intact. I carefully removed the hardware then spent several weeks hand-scraping the paint. I purposely left it chippy and didn’t fill any of the old bracket holes since they would go back on. The side of the door facing into our hallway [top, left] is white with some old awning green showing through. Inside, the door is an odd, pale seafoam green [top, right].

To give the powder room privacy, I threw up an EZ shade and secured it to the top of the door with blue painter’s tape.  Along the way, I found a lovely jacquard-stripe ivory cotton curtain fabric at a Scalamandre remnant sale but by the time I got around to making the curtain two weeks ago, I was horrified to realize that the EZ shade was 6 or 7 years old! Since we had only been using the house half the year, other pursuits had siphoned my attention.

vintage curtain rods and brackets before cleaningFirst, I had to clean the rods and brackets which hadn’t been touched in decades.

curtain rods in the cleaner and afterwardsI had no idea whether they would be usable until after I soaked them in Noxon metal cleaner. Then I began rubbing, and rubbing and rubbing and layers of tarnish gave way to brass-clad rods and brass brackets still dotted in some spots with old paint.

brackets, sleeves and screws in mineral spiritsAfter the Noxon rub-down, the brackets, sleeves and screws got a  mineral spirits soak to finish the cleaning.

measuring fabric for the powder room curtainThe key to making a privacy curtain for a glass-pane door are the top and bottom rod pockets so it can be gathered, and held taut, across rods above and below the window. It only requires basic sewing skills and nothing fancy.

My door measures 79-inches high by 23-1/4-inches wide overall. The window area measured 66-1/2 inches high by 16-3/4-inches wide. My fabric was 53-inches wide (half  is 26-1/2) so my finished curtain would be a generous double width.

The right/front side of the curtain is made to face into the powder room – the back visible through the glass. The first task was to create a 1-inch finished border on each side.

stitching down the selvedges to finish the sides of the curtainFor some reason the selvedges on this fabric were red so it was easy to fold them back, press them for a crisp line and stitch them down close to the folded edge.

measuring the side borders for the curtainThen I finished the sides with 1-inch borders by turning the fabric back by 1-inch and stitching over the previous line of stitching. The finished side looked good and went quickly.

first measurement for the top rod pocket on the curtain I decided to complete the top rod pocket so the curtain could be basted and put up to test for a snug fit. For the top pocket, I measured ½-inch from the top of the fabric, pressed that down, and stitched close to the edge.

double row of stitching for the top rod pocketThen I sewed a second row close to the first and trimmed away the excess fabric.

testing the size of the rod in the top pocketPockets can range from 1-1/4 to 2 inches, depending on the rod thickness since the pocket should not be too snug. My old curtain rods were about ¼-inch thick so I calculated 1-1/4 inch pockets. Before sewing down the top pocket, I tested to be sure the rod would slide easily – and it did. So I made the top pocket 1-1/4 inches deep and sewed it down.

The old bracket holes for the curtain rods were located about 2-inches above and below the glass. They were not in perfect condition but they worked with the rods, which fit between the brackets and were held on each end by a threaded brass sleeve.

curtain rod installed on top of powder room doorI installed the rods and brackets loosely. Then I measured from the top of the top rod to the bottom of the bottom rod and got 70-1/4 inches. I added ½-inch (total diameter of the two rods) to that for uptake. My target finished length was 70-3/4-inches.

Next came the test on the door. The curtain moved beautifully across the top rod but I quickly realized that the cut edge on the bottom was woefully crooked and the curtain was too short on one side! I thought I had measured accurately and I tore the fabric across the top to get it straight, but the bottom was uneven. So I reopened the side borders, added a 6-inch patch (for good measure) to the bottom and restitched the sides. Then I basted in the bottom pocket and rehung the curtain for a second test.

both sides of the bottom rod pocket with the patch seam visibleThe seam fell in a good spot and was hardly visible. The basted length seemed fine. So I just finished the bottom rod pocket, stitching it down the same way I did the top.

top and bottom of powder room door after finishingOnce the curtain was hung, I could see it was still a bit uneven on the bottom left side but it fit snugly.

close up of the top and bottom rod pockets after installationHere is a close up of the top and bottom rod pockets after the brackets were screwed down and the sleeves threaded onto the brackets to hold the rod securely.

exterior view of the powder room door curtainFrom the outside, it was opaque enough for privacy. It’s not perfect, but it was my first curtain project!

view of the powder room door curtain from insideNext time I sew a French-door curtain, I will start by cutting the fabric as long as the entire door —  ample allowance to prevent me from coming up short again. Meanwhile, I was able to go from “do” to “done” for one item on my longstanding house punch list, though many  projects remain.


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30 Responses to Powder Room French Door Curtain

  1. FABBY April 17, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    Oh my…you’re a very talented lady! I sure love what you did and the end product looks great! You’re sure good with the sewing machine, I used to be a little, long ago, I used to make little dresses for my little daughters and sheets for my infant girls’s bassinets…but never curtains! Love it!

  2. Shelia April 17, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    Your curtain looks wonderful and you’ve done a great job in sewing it. Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  3. Pam April 18, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    I love the door!! And love the way you were able to still showcase it, but also add some privacy. Beautifully done!

    Thanks for sharing.


  4. Tee April 18, 2011 at 3:58 am #

    Wow… that is just so charming a door! Love it and love the new curtain… you say it ain’t perfect… I say it is 😀

  5. Ebenezer Adokwei April 18, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    Beautiful handy work and the choice of color just matches with the door and paintings.I guess you are an interior designer by gift.Great work.Keep it up.Love to see more of those.Meanwhile plz do check my blog on freeing your mind read it,follow,be inspired and comment to improve my works too.Have a wonderful day.Thanks.

  6. black eyed susans kitchen April 18, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    This door speaks volumes to me! I love the look, and it brings back a childhood memory. When I was a very little girl, we lived above a store in an apartment. The building was older and I don’t actually remember much about the apartment, but I do remember that there was a woman who lived across the hall from us and her door had a similar curtain covering it except it was lace and the woman was French. Even at that early age I thought it was charming!

  7. tammy April 18, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    i love the door and the curtain is perfect for it, great job!

  8. Pat@Back Porch Musings April 18, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Thanks so much for stopping by the Back Porch, Jane.

    I absolutely love your french door, wonderful idea. Great work with the curtain.

  9. laxsupermom April 18, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    Love the door! The curtain looks terrific shirred on the rod. Such a pretty and unexpected touch for a powder room! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Barbara aka Pink Overalls April 18, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    Fabric shirred on rods is always a winner with me. You’ve done a very nice job, not only with the sewing (and the fix you had to tackle), but the door and its hardware, too.

  11. Christine April 18, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    I love the door, love the look and its chippiness….Christine

  12. Jane F @ Atticmag April 18, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Thanks for all the kind words. It’s just a plain curtain but it was also a test run to see whether I was up for doing it for the other doors. Still undecided. The powder room had to be done but closets? I wonder. Jane

  13. pamela April 18, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Ahhhhhh. So much better. Sometimes nothing is better than a classic and the classic here being that shirred curtain. So unexpected to have this door on a bathroom of course but the end result is fabulous. Your tutorial was spot on and so easy to follow. Well done girl.
    Thanks for visiting and inviting me over.

  14. Denise April 18, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    OMGosh I love your chippy french door and handmade curtain..French chic for a bathroom!

  15. Rachelle April 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Love the new curtain! And I love the old door- the whole look is fabulous!

  16. Bella's Rose Cottage April 18, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Hi Jane,
    This turned out gorgeous! The door is a beauty and your paint job turned out chippy perfection, I love it!
    In renovating I have learned 6-7 years pass at a blink of an eye, and yet sometimes it feels nothing changes :-))
    Thanks for stopping by!

  17. aneyefordetail April 18, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    Very interesting! We have double French doors separating my husband’s study from the front hall. Right now they are “naked” and you see right through. I’ve looked and looked. I think I am wanting a more translucent look..but also have wonderful rods I bought in France! I even tried rice paper, which we had had up north on a small front door window and worked so well….but not here. Will keep trying for just the right look!

  18. RHome410 April 19, 2011 at 1:23 am #

    A great improvement. I’m sorry for your little oops, as I know it’s tough to go to the work and have something like that happen, and you always know it’s there. But I’m glad the fix fell at the right place to not show. Still way better than the shade!

  19. brandyo April 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    I love it, Jane!! Looks fabulous, love the door, and great sewing!!

    • Jane F April 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

      Thanks Brandy. You’re such a great sewer I’m happy to have the compliment.

      How are you doing? Getting close?

      • brandyo April 20, 2011 at 9:39 am #

        July 15! Starting last trimester. :)

  20. Sue April 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    You did a great job!

  21. Feng Shui By Fishgirl April 19, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Your curtain looks charming! We have an old farmhouse in Maine that also has a glass paned door on it. Our solution (since I’m too lazy to get my sewing machine out of storage–ha!) was to use a colorful rollout beach mat exactly like this one (except ours was turquoise not pink) which fit perfectly and also added insulation as well as privacy: http://amzn.to/fXaRCu

  22. Cindy April 19, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    Love your old door, the finish is wonderful. Great job on the curtain, perfect!

  23. mindstorm April 20, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    Great project! Grand curtain and it looks wonderful on the door. It was wonderful to get another glimpse of your home projects. In fact, your step by step directions are inspiring me to get moving to create some closet curtains I’ve needed to make for the past few years.
    Wonderful post and congrats on your first curtain.

  24. Holly August 11, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

    Ummm…have you done a tutorial on how to make that door?!? It’s uh-mazing!!!

  25. Jane F @ Atticmag August 15, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Oh my, Holly. The door is a salvage piece probably from 1929 — we found a piece of a newspaper from then tucked into one of the mortise locks we removed. We got 12 of them in one haul for $375. Which really was amazing. Thanks for the sweet comment. Glad you stopped by. Jane

  26. Emily November 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Very pretty! Great post :)


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