Back when I had my first apartment, the summer sun blazed through the windows, and even through the mini-blinds, which made cooling the tiny 300 square foot place impossible. I was short on cash and pressed for time with college and two jobs. A friend of mine had an idea — “Why not use sheets?” she asked. And so my experiments, using the cheapest sheets I could find, was born. This quest has lasted me over 13 years and many apartments, trailer homes, and roommate situations later. Eventually, with my first apartment with my husband, we were plagued with short cash for decorating and the desperate need to cut out on the heat and noise coming from the apartments parking lot and pool down below. While we got lucky and found a second floor apartment with all north facing windows over a lawn (instead of the parking lot), the Texas summer heat can still be a scorcher.
My simple solution to insulate the apartment was, of course, sheets. Unfortunately, black sheets have been out of stock at the most hated retail chain the entire winter, so we settled for crimson. These easy, ZERO-sew sheets are an inexpensive solution, compared to $7.50 a panel and up for premade ones, these at a rocking $5 are ready to hang in about 15 minutes. Since this is an apartment, we chose spring rods. If you have regular curtain rods, you will need to make adjustments as necessary.
You Will Need:
- Flat sheets – at least one panel per window in the color of your choosing
- A seam ripper
- A box of 100 safety pins
What to Do:
- Take the
sheetscurtains out of the packages and wash and dry them to remove wrinkles. Remove them from the dryer as soon as possible and lay out flat to prevent wrinkling.
- Use the seam ripper to gently remove the seam along the SIDE of top edge of the sheet. The top edge of the sheet it the one that normally goes near the pillows and has a big fold. (See image 1.) This will create a pocket for the rod to slip through. If you cut the sheet instead of simply removing the seam, the sheet will run, tear, fray, and look weird.
- Hang the sheet up where it will go at the exact height you want it, so we can get an accurate measure for the hem.
- Gently pull the sheet slightly taught to the length you want the hem and place a safety pin on this line, as in image 2.
- Now, take down the sheet and place on a flat, preferably smooth surface, like a clean counter or kitchen floor. Make sure it is seam side up, so that the fold of the seam is facing towards you and not the floor.
- Measure from the bottom hem line to the safety pin. Measure the other side of the sheet and pin and then measure the middle and pin as in image 3.
- Fold the bottom up to the pin edge and repin. Repeat until a fold is achieved along the bottom.
- Fold this up along the edge of the hem folded in, so that the bottom is folded unto itself, as in image 4.
- Gently pin using the safety pins every 2 inches until the entire upper part of the fold is pinned.
- Hang your new curtain.
- ONLY flat sheets will work; fitted sheets are for mattresses only and would need a great deal of sewing to turn into curtains.
- I prefer pinning to no-sew glue or stitch-witch. Otherwise, you will not be able to change your mind later on; you can’t get the glue off if you want to turn them back into sheets. Plus, both make the hem look stiff and lay funny.
- Resist the urge to cut them off. Not only will they fray and come apart if not hemmed, but if you change your mind, the sheets cannot be re-purposed.
- If you’d like black-out curtains, try pinning two together with a black flat sheet as a backer. Prepare both sheets separately as explained above, then pin seam side in, together for a double thick black-out curtain for about half the price.
- One twin-sized flat sheet is large enough to cover a 36-inch window or door by itself with plenty of gather. Feel free to use two per window for a pulled-back effect. One is sufficient if you plan to leave them closed.
- Walmart has flat twin-sized sheets in a variety of colors and patterns for $5. Ikea, on the other hand, sometimes has sale at only $1 or $2 per sheet. It pays to preshop for them to get a great deal.