In decorating old house windows in a period home, sometimes less is more - try a simple stencil pattern. In
selecting the material for the window curtains that you
intend to decorate you must consider the purpose of the
curtains and the demands of the medium in which you
intend to carry out your design. Presumably you want
the curtains to admit as much light as possible;
therefore you will not use a heavy material. A soft,
fine scrim— a durable, loosely woven cotton or linen
fabric used for curtains— satisfies the requirement of
admitting light, and also adapts itself admirably to
stencil decoration. Other suitable and inexpensive
materials are cotton crape, net, and even cheesecloth.
to have as much light as possible in the room, use two
curtains and let them hang from the top of the window to
the sill. Stitch rings to them that you can slip on a
rod; then you can have the curtains at the sides of the
window, where they will keep out no light, or you can
draw them together if you wish.
here for printable stencil pattern.
daffodil is a pretty motif for a design for window
curtains in a girl's room. You will notice that its
most striking characteristics are its suppleness, its
grace of contour and its freshness of color. You must
strive, therefore, to suggest those characteristics in
design for window curtains shown was carried out in
green and yellow on ecru scrim. The curtains themselves
were made with a hem four inches deep at the bottom and
two and one half inches deep at the top and the sides,
and were double hemstitched—with four or more threads
drawn—at the bottom and along both sides. The wider
border (shown above), eight inches high, was put at the
bottom of the curtain because it suggests greater
weight. Since the entire curtain could be seen from
every part of the room, some decoration seemed necessary
at the top to correlate the design below and to repeat
the two tones. Hence the border (shown below) five
inches high was placed five inches from the top of the
here for printable stencil pattern.
allowing for the hems, the space to be filled by each
border was twenty-eight and one quarter inches wide.
Accordingly, the unit of each was made seven inches
wide and was repeated four times.
use a fabric of neutral color for material, the colors
in the design must also be neutral. In the curtains for
which this design was planned the green was made grayer
than in the real leaf and the yellow less vivid than in
the real flower. That is generally a safe rule to follow
in rendering a conventional design, for the natural
colors, however charming they may be in their normal
surroundings, assert themselves a little too
emphatically when used in a design.
borders shown are a good example of how the character of
your design should determine the degree of
conventionality with which you must render it. The lower
border, suggesting the edging of a flower bed, is more
naturalistic than the upper border. In the lower one
the flower stands erect and the leaves waver. In the
upper border such a suggestion of an upward growth would
be undesirable, for the space above it is cut short and
so limits ascent. Therefore in the upper border there is
no attempt to give the suggestion of growth, and
although the same elements are used, they are combined
more conventionally; the flower is detached from the
stem and the leaves form a running interlacement.
have made the design that you wish to use on the curtain
you are ready to prepare your stencil. Pin a strip of
stencil paper flat on your worktable and lay a sheet of
carbon paper face down upon it; then fasten your stencil
unit with thumb tucks over the carbon paper, and trace
heavily round the outline of the design with a sharp
lead pencil. When you have lifted the pattern and the
carbon paper from the stencil paper you can cut out the
design with a sharp penknife. In cutting, keep the
blade of the knife perpendicular, and take care not to
tear the edges. It is well to repeat the unit at least
two and a half times on the stencil, for you will need
the half unit us a "key" when you move the stencil
forward. The "key" fits over the figure last painted on
green and chrome yellow are good foundation colors for
this kind of work. If a color is too bright and you wish
to "gray" it — that is, to make it a little duller — add
a touch of black. To lighten a color, add white.
From The Youth’s Companion, 1917.