Enhance a Store Bought Shower Curtain


The disadvantage to purchasing items “off the shelf”, or “ready made” is that they never quite fit perfectly. But with a little creativity you can make them perfect for you!

It’s the same with clothing and home products.  I find that there is no sheet out there that exactly fits my bed.  Some fitted sheets I tuck way under the mattress and others barely make it around.  I have the same problems with shower curtains.  Either they are too short and don’t cover enough of the tub or they are too wide and have so much fabric that the opening to my shower is mostly fabric!

However, the advantage to purchasing “ready made” products is that most of the work is already done for you!  Because of that, I decided to alter a ready made shower curtain that I fell in love with for a guest bathroom I was working on.

It was a Tommy Bahama design with just the right colors to pull everything from the rest of the house in and it depicted the feeling I wanted to convey.  It was a great inspiration piece for an old Florida/vacation feel but it was too short, at least for the way I wanted to hang it.  Well, here’s the full story.


The bathtub was originally meant to have a shower rod added and a ready made curtain used.  However, the tub was quite shallow and low to the floor so I thought it might be a better idea for water control to add a glass door.  This would be best for showers since curtains only do a mediocre job of keeping the water in the tub and a glass door would still accommodate baths.  Of course glass doors don’t offer much privacy, so the idea of a shower curtain over a glass door isn’t that far fetched!


The glass doors were installed and made a positive difference in the amount of water that required cleaning up after showers, but privacy was still and issue. So it was time to move forward with a shower curtain.


I started by installing a decorative drapery rod slightly in front of and above the height of the shower door.  This meant the rod had to hang from the dropped ceiling in the bath area.  I made sure to use hardware that would make this feasible and that installation went like clockwork.


However, once the curtain was hung, I stepped back and my heart sunk…it was sooo short.  Well, of course it was, I mounted the rod way up high so the glass door was covered, I just wasn’t thinking about how that would impact the length.

Now I had a dilemma.  I knew I could add fabric to either the top or the bottom and of course the bottom would be easier because the top would require new grommets or at least button holes for the rings….oh wait a minute, I had clip on rings!!  That’s how I decided to add the fabric at the top.  I knew it would look more like it was supposed to be that way if the new fabric was at the top mainly because much of it would be hidden behind the commode if it was added at the bottom.


So, I started making plans to add a coordinating fabric along the top of the shower curtain. I ran out to my Jo-Ann etc store and grabbed a bunch of fabric swatches.  I lined them up along the top of the shower curtain and considered how each would look if it were a band of say 12 – 15 inches.


Once the decision was made to go with the diamond and dot pattern for the band at the top, I took another look and wasn’t crazy about the two patterns butting together.  So, I tested the idea of a small strip of additional fabric to break the two up and add a little more interest.  I really liked the idea after experimenting with it and so the new shower curtain design was born!


The next step was to cut strips in the width and length required to add them to the top of the curtain.


Once the strips were cut and panels added together so they were wide enough for the curtain, I sewed the two different fabrics together to create the new top section.


A flat felled seam was used both vertically and horizontally where the fabric pieces came together.  To create this cut on side of the seam allowance very tight to the stitching.


Next fold the remaining seam allowance over twice, covering the cut seam allowance, pin in place, iron and stitch down along the outside edge.


I created the flat felled seam on each of the strips of fabric first, joining enough together to make the width.  Then I sewed the two different fabric strips together and used the flat felled seam to neaten them as well.


Once the strips are sewn together, match them up to the width of the shower curtain to make sure about the measurements of the side seams.  Once you are sure the new strip will be the same width as the shower curtain, sew in the side seams.


Next, create a header across the top of your new strip.  Do this by folding over the fabric twice at 1 ½ inches.  If you are using a ring clip to hold the shower curtain up, the header doesn’t have to be as large, even a 5/8” header would work.  If you are creating button holes, you’ll need the wider header.


It’s now time to turn your attention towards the top of the shower curtain.  Start by cutting off the header.


Next, with right sides together, pin the new strip to the top of the shower curtain.


Sew the new strip to the shower curtain and then create another flat felled seam.


This is how the flat felled seam looks on the back of the shower curtain.  It’s very neat and clean and looks finished to the one showering!

On the front of the shower curtain the seams look just as neat as if they came directly from the factory!!

All that is left to do now is iron the shower curtain so all the seams lay nice and flat.  Clip the shower curtain to the ring clips and enjoy!


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