In the film Gone With The Wind, Scarlett O'Hara, desperate for fabric for a new dress, rips down the curtains. Maria, in The Sound of Music, uses old drapes to make playclothes for the Von Trapp children. Though both of these acts are considered scandalous, when it comes down to it, what's the big deal? Curtains are just big bolts of fabric, and they're both excellent examples of reuse. That's what I told my friend after she spent weeks searching for grey linen to cover her couch.
Her feather and down sofa had started its life as a particularly comfortable example of Shabby Chic, slipcovered in white denim with a white skirt daintily hiding its cankles. It had then donned a tight green velvet casing, white piping picking out its tailored lines and newly narrow arms. But now my friend was moving into a new, smaller space and was hoping for something simple and dog-friendly. She'd fixated on dark grey linen (probably prompted by my constantly e-mailing her photos of dark grey couches). But her budget was tight. What about the curtains? I suggested. Ask the upholsterer if he can use them. The grey linen of the Aina curtains from Ikea were exactly what she'd been searching for. He gave the material the thumbs up. Now it's done and she couldn't be happier.
Moral of this story: Before you toss those curtains or grandma's giant linen tablecloth, consider whether the material can be used for that upholstery project you have in mind. They can also be run up into a duvet cover or a stack of giant floor pillows. Consider the possibilities, and have fun!
(Image: Abigail Stone)