DIY Extra Long Shower Curtain

Nothing makes a bath feel classier than a shower curtain that soars to the ceiling.

Note that my shower curtain does not, in fact, soar anywhere, despite the fact that the little tub alcove is calling out for something to highlight the tall ceiling. Plus the colors, while delightful, are just not really working with the black and white tile. I still love the sunflowers print and hope to find a way to repurpose it. In the meantime, I wanted to whip up something fabulous to replace it.

Inspiration struck when I found this king sized flat sheet while sorting through items for the garage sale. Apparently I’d purchased it for one of my never-realized crafting dreams (I think I wanted to use it to slipcover a chair, maybe). I measured my tub nook and realized that the length was perfect for creating a floor-to-ceiling curtain.

It’s a little too wide, though. I’d just read a tutorial the other day on using gathering tape to create ruffled curtains (from Jones Design Company), so I decided to give it a shot. I figured ruffling the top of the fabric would shorten the width a bit and add some fullness, making it look less like I hung a bedsheet from my curtain rod and more like I bought it somewhere fancy.

I picked up some gathering tape at Hobby Lobby (found near the upholstery and drapery fabric, thanks to the help of a friendly associate) for 59 cents per yard. Crazy cheap! I got 3 yards, enough to run the full width of my curtain.

Before attaching the gathering tape, I wanted to give the top of the curtain a wide hem to stand up and be ruffled. I’m no good at making straight hems but I really wanted this one to look nice. I looked around for something to use as a guide and, since by the time I got around to this stage of the project it was right after our garage sale, I had plenty of cash on hand. After washing and drying the curtain, I used a dollar bill as a guide to fold the fabric and iron a crease, working in sections until I’d finished the whole side.

By the time I was done that dollar bill was ready for even the most fickle of vending machines.

I brought the sheet to my sewing machine and layered the gathering tape over the bottom of my hem, then followed Emily’s tutorial instructions to sew the tape down along the top edge.

I tacked the bottom of tape down every six inches or so with a few quick stitches, then got to ruffling.

Actually, I started tugging on the strings a little, then realized that I needed to insert my drapery pins first. Have I not yet mentioned drapery pins? Emily used them in her tutorial and that was the first time I’d ever seen or heard of them. Then, when I was going through our guest bedroom cleaning things out for the garage sale, I found some in the drawer of my Nanny’s old vanity.

There were 12 of them, which also happens to be the standard number of shower rings. I stuck one in under the gathering tape about every 9 inches, then got to ruffling.

Again, I was getting ahead of myself. It wasn’t until I had pulled each section this tight that I realized my curtain was clearly going to be way too narrow. I laid a tape measure out on the floor and spread all the ruffles back out to match the width of the tub.

Do you see that dachshund sleeping on my lovely new curtain? These are the conditions I’m forced to work under. Surrounded by adorable animals.

With everything ruffled appropriately, I gently pulled the excess string to the edges of the curtain and tied them off, snipping the excess. Then I worked the buttonholes of my new extra long shower curtain liner (snagged on Amazon for $15) onto the drapery pins and slipped the hook over the curtain rings I already had.

I got Nick to help me move the tension rod up to the ceiling and we were in business.

I love it. Classic, neutral, and cheap. I’ve got some ideas for jazzing it up a bit but I’m kind of loving the plain-Jane look for now. I really think this would be a good way to repurpose a vintage flat sheet, or even a regular ol’ non-vintage sheet that got kicked out of your bedroom but that you still like the looks of. A queen or a king size would work for 9ft ceilings, and even a full size would work for 8ft. The longer the better, really, since you can always hem it shorter. I think this would also be really easy to pull off sans-sewing using iron-on hem tape.

What should I do with the sunflowers shower curtain I took down? I put it out at the garage sale, but it didn’t sell. I’m secretly relieved because it’s so pretty that I hate to part with it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really match the style of the rest of my house anymore. Maybe just stick it in my fabric stash until inspiration strikes?


12 Responses to “DIY Extra Long Shower Curtain”

  1. Karen @ A Lease to Decorate August 4, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    That is awesome! I have a king duvet cover that is collecting dust, I wonder if I can whip it into an extra long shower curtain for the guest bathroom….

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap August 4, 2011 at 7:51 am #

      Do it! Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  2. britt@knewlywifed August 4, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    Seriously that is awesome. I’m terrible at measuring/sewing, so I had to reread this post a couple of times, but I think I’ve got it figured out. I’m going to have to try this. I love how classy it looks! Totally looks like you spent $60 on it!

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap August 4, 2011 at 10:15 am #

      Thanks, Britt! I haven’t been sewing very long and am still learning a lot. Definitely let me know if anything seems confusing and I’ll try to explain it better! Sometimes it’s hard for me to explain stuff clearly because I’m kind of confused, myself!

  3. Stacey August 4, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    I love the look of the Extra long shower curtain! I will be trying this. TRASH the sunflower curtain….

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap August 4, 2011 at 10:15 am #

      Thanks, Stacey! Sounds like you’re not a fan of the sunflowers…

  4. Lisa Haley August 4, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    What about some outside cushions (for patio or porch) from the old sunflower curtain fabric?

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap August 4, 2011 at 10:16 am #

      Oooooh, good idea, Lisa! It would probably look really good on my porch!


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