Replacing curtains in a pop-up camper

Can you believe it?  We have made it to the last BIG update on our 1999 Palomino Stallion pop-up camper!  The curtains!  Now while we still have a few more little items here and there.  The curtains gave it all a nice finishing touch and we were finally able to stand back and let it all sink in.

Now we can't forget how fantastic the curtains were before... Now, I am incredibly thankful for one trick I did do before removing the old curtains and valences - I labeled them in alphabetical order and then took pictures.

Because of our HOA regulations I knew that somewhere in between the spray paint and letting the stain dry on the new counters, we would have to have the camper folded down and tucked away for a few days.  So I wasn't going to be able to run out to double check.  I needed to do it all from memory and pictures.  The labels saved me!

While we were shopping for cushion fabric we had also been looking for curtain fabric.  I knew we had break away from the grays and get on board with an accent color.  Luckily, the only color we could agree on was aqua, which made me very happy.  But again, we couldn't agree on any fabric.  Until one day when I was at Wal-Mart and I passed by the sheets.  It jumped out at me!  Aqua, not girly, with patterns, and in stock.  I grabbed several sizes of their flat sheets and headed to the fabric section.  I found a perfect match for a solid aqua valance and it matched perfectly!

For reference I used this blackout fabric-

When I started constructing the curtains I just started sewing and I didn't love the way it turned out.  Then I changed my process and was so pleased in the end.

The right way:

  • Measure your old curtain and add an inch to each side. 
  • Cut one piece of new curtain fabric and one piece of blackout fabric.  
  • Sew them with right sides together around the edges, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance 
  • Leave a six or so inch section open at the bottom.  
  • Turn the fabric right sides out through the opening, push out the corners and stitch it closed.  
  • Press the seams and then sew the rectangle again about 1/4 inch all the way around to finish
  • Attach curtain tabs using your old curtain as a reference

As far as curtain tabs or drape carriers go, our curtains had the plastic tabs attached.  I tried my best to reuse these on the new curtains and all they did was make my sewing machine angry.  I ditched the plastic tabs and turned to the PopUp Portal boards in search of suggestions and I found that many Palomino owners were able to use Airstream Drape Carriers instead.  After a frantic local search I finally got my hands on two boxes.

Oh my goodness!!!  What an amazing difference!

The Airestream tab, on the left, is so much easier to sew and it glides way better than the plastic tab.  You would never know these Airstream tabs weren't the original intended tab. 

With my simplified construction of the curtain and new tabs, the sewing was a breeze.  As each curtain was finished I attached the same letter to the new curtain for easy installation.  For the valances, I duplicated the pattern of the original and they turned out perfect.  I did buy new elastic for them to string across the top of the camper.

When we opened the camper back up installing everything was a breeze! 

With the curtains done we have just a few more small projects to finish sprucing up the interior.  We'll talk about those next time.  For now I'll just sit here and enjoy all this hard work.