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Kid's Birthday Party: "Something's Fishy" Game Curtain

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"Here Fishy, Fishy." Make your own colorful curtain for this classic kid's party game. Johnny (or Janie) stands in front of the curtain with a pole; mom or dad is on the other side with a bowl of prizes to clip to the end, guaranteeing the day's friendliest catch. It's a fun game they'll fall for, 'hook, line and sinker.' As an added benefit, you can use the curtain to cover a real window after the party's over. We used a standard 30" interior doorway as our 'ocean' and so sized our curtain appropriately to fit this width. An inexpensive ¾" diameter tension rod is perfect to hang the curtain.

Our thanks to our birthday pals at Michael Miller Fabrics for providing all of Patty Young's awesome Playdate fabric for our projects. These fabrics are available in stores and online. Get it now while the selection is best. Also, take a look at what Patty has been making with Playdate at the Michael Miller blog.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • 1¼ yard of 44-45" fabric for the front of the curtain. It's best to use an ocean-themed fabric: we used Patty Young's Playdate from Michael Miller Fabrics in Teal Goldfish
  • 1¼ yard of 44-45" lining fabric: we used standard white cotton drapery lining
  • All-purpose sewing thread in colors to match or contrast with fabric
    NOTE: We used contrasting thread (orange) in the top and bobbin for a bright accent. It's totally up to you to use contrasting or matching thread.
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • See-through ruler
  • Tape measure
  • Seam guage
  • Straight pins
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Fishing pole, we used a flexible cat toy LINK

Getting Started

Determine finished width and height

As mentioned above, our finished width is determined by the opening you'll span with the curtain for the game. We used a 30" interior doorway. You don't need the curtain panel to gather much, because you really want to see the pretty design on the front of the fabric. We decided on a finished width of 42". Our height was determined by the height of our party guests, most of whom would be under three feet tall. We decided on a finished height of 36".

Cut measurements

Height

We need to account for the rod pocket at the top. Our tension rod is ¾" in diameter, so we need to make a pocket large enough for the rod to easily slide through; 1¾" should do the trick. Plus, we need to account for a seam allowance to stitch the top of the curtain panel to the lining. So, we need to add 2¼" (1¾" rod pocket + ½" seam allowance) to the top.

We also need a total of 7½" for a nice deep hem on the bottom (that's just kind of a home décor standard... you'll just have to trust me on this one)

With both top and bottom taken into account, our cut height will be 36" + 2¼" + 7½" = 45¾".

Width

This part is fairly easy. We simply used as much of the width of the fabric as possible, which in the case of our fabric was 43".

  1. We cut the fabric for the front of our curtain: 43" wide x 45¾" high.

Lining

We want to use our party curtain on a bathroom window when we're done, and so decided to go to the trouble to line it. If you don't think you'll re-use your curtain, and your fabric is thick enough that you can't see through it, you probably don't have to line your curtain.

It's standard to make the lining shorter than the actual panel so the lining doesn't hang below the curtain's hemline (much like the lining in a skirt). That's another one of those standard home décor measurements: 3" less than the total. So, we need to subtract 3" from our total cut length.

Our total cut length of the front fabric was 45¾", so the cut length of the lining will be 45¾" - 3 = 42¾".

For the width, we cut the lining 5" less than the cut width of the panel. This is also a home décor standard. The cut width of the lining will be 43" - 5" = 38"

  1. We cut the lining for our curtain: 42¾" x 38".

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Fold and press the bottom hem of the curtain panel 3½", then fold and press again 4".
    NOTE: If your fabric has a directional pattern like ours (our fish bubbles need to be going up), make sure you are hemming the correct side.
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  2. Stitch close the fold to finish the hem. I used my ¼" seam foot to keep my stitch line nice and straight.
    NOTE: We used contrasting thread (orange) in the top and bobbin for a bright accent. It's your choice to use contrasting or matching.
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  3. Set aside.
  4. Repeat the same hem on the lining piece (3½" and then 4"). Remember, this piece will finish shorter than the curtain panel piece.
  5. Lay the curtain panel flat on your work surface, right side up. Place the lining piece right side down (the sewn hem allows you to tell right side from wrong side) on top of the panel.
  6. Pin one side, starting at the top. Align the top raw edge of the lining with the top raw edge of the top of the curtain panel. Remember, the lining piece is shorter and narrower than the curtain panel piece. Pin in place.
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  7. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the curtain panel to the lining along this first side.
  8. Pull the lining to so it is flush with the opposite side of the curtain panel. This will cause the sewn side to kind of roll in on itself. That's okay.
  9. Again, align the top raw edge of the lining with the top raw edge of the top of the curtain panel. Pin in place.
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  10. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the curtain panel to the lining along this second side.
  11. Lay the sewn piece back out on your work surface, lining side up. In order to lay flat, both sides of the front panel will curve around to the back. Match the raw edges of the front panel and the lining along the top edge, making sure the center point of the lining matches the center point of the front panel. To find your center point, you can either measure from each side or fold the entire unit in half and mark.
  12. Press the entire panel flat and the side seam allowances toward the outside edges. Pin in place along the top.
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  13. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew through all layers along the top of the curtain panel. You should sew from edge to edge, which means you sew across the sides of the front fabric that curve around to the back.
  14. Clip the two top corners of the curtain panel at a diagonal.
  15. Turn right side out through the finished open bottom (remember, we did the curtain panel and lining hems first).
  16. Push out the top corners so they are nice and sharp and press. And, re-press along the side edges.
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  17. At the very bottom corner of the panel, fold under the remaining raw edge of the side hem. Make a short vertical stitching line to secure the side hem to your bottom hem.
  18. Along the top of the panel, fold 1¾" to the wrong side to create the rod pocket. Pin in place. Press the edge.
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  19. Edgestitch through all layers along the bottom of the rod pocket.
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  20. Insert the tension rod into the rod pocket and hang up in preparation for the game. Your fisherman stands on the front, you sit in the back with your bowl of prizes. It's best to try to find lightweight prizes that are easy to clip on and easy for the fisherman to pull up and over the curtain.
  21. Let's Go Fishing!
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  22. Here's how our curtain looks in its second life as a window covering.
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Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation and Instructions: Liz Johnson

Other machines suitable for this project include the Singer 2662 and the Bernina 330.

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