Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Rick Rack Riot

Some years ago at a garage sale I came across four panels of tab curtains, 90" long. A dollar each. That's a lot of yardage for a dollar! Nice fabric. How could I go wrong!

I knew they'd come in handy somehow, someday and sure enough a while later I decided to replace the faded red checked curtains at our cabin.
I measured and cut and made a valence for over the sink window and curtains for the door with tie backs.

I'd seen a cute way to attach rick rack in an old pamphlet; the kind the dime stores had to inspire you with projects for bias tape, rick rack etc. I can't find it now but I'm sure it's here somewhere. But you use embroidery thread and it makes a nice design like this:

 Pin the trim over the stitching line of the hem and nip the space between zigs.
I used the red rick rack I'd found in an old box of sewing stuff from my mother-in-law - probably from the 50's)

She had a lot stashed away
I must have run out of steam or summer was over . . . so I never got around to making the curtains for the windows by the table. Those stayed as they were for . . . too long.  Mishmash-doesn't match, but it's a cabin, after all. 

This summer I finally decided to get the job done. First I had to locate the garage sale panels. That's another story but I did find them and managed to eek out two pair of cafe style curtains. Now for the rick rack. Wouldn't you know, there was not enough to do four panels with what I'd used before. I hit JoAnn Fabrics and bought some red rick rack not thinking a thing of it. I got to the cabin, eager to get at it.

No! It's too fat. It doesn't look right and it's POLYESTER!

After visiting a few quilt shops and fabric stores I realized I was  going to need vintage rick rack. I posted on-line with a textile Facebook page I'm on. I took photos of the type I needed. Not one reply. A couple of friends looked through their sewing stuff. Nothing.
Last weekend we headed to the cabin again. I'd hung the curtains sans embellishment - at least the windows were covered -  but I was anxious to get the trim and truly be done. I knew I'd have to find what I needed in an antique store and what were the odds? Slim, you say?  I'd have to agree. But there are several antique stores in a nearby town so off I went.  I walked into the first one, browsed first floor thinking 'this will never happen'. I headed up the stairs to a loft where I saw a tall cabinet.

I spied a basket on the bottom shelf full of rick rack! Heart pounding I picked it up.
"Red red please let there be red."

I flicked through blue, white, pink ....and there it was.   A single package of red on the bottom.  (I put it on top to stage this photo)

Price $2.50. 

I couldn't resist sharing my excitement with a shopper at the register who understood the excitement of finding just what you need. On top of that the booth was 30% off.  $1.75 for more than enough to finish the curtains.

The little things in life can really make my day!

Have you ever been on the hunt looking for a specific thing
- - and found it - -  
at a garage sale, flea market, antique store? 


  1. Well I was just about to offer you some of my stash of vintage rickrack, but congrats on finding what you actually needed! Your curtains are perfect for a cabin or any country home.

  2. Very pretty!! The red rickrack just makes those curtains...I have a drawer full of those, too!

  3. Love the finish on those curtains, and I enjoyed your story.
    Yes, I often find just what I need at yard sales and thrift stores. My home is full of perfect finds. :)

    1. Isn't it fun! That's why I shop thrift stores. You see so much interesting stuff that's a bit different. Stuff I don't 'need' but love having.

  4. Well you put more time into the hunt for your supplies that you might have thought- but the results look terrific! And that is a cute way to attach the trim. Sewing by machine down the center works, but the points tend to curl over. Your method will stay secure, even if you wash them.

    1. I agree about sewing a line down the middle. I don't wash these often but I do think it will work better attached this way (I'll probably do them by hand) and it adds the design element that a straight line doesn't do. thanks for writing.

  5. Your curtains look great! How fun that on top of everything the rick rack was on sale.

  6. I do know that feeling! I absolutely love your curtains! I have some vintage rick rack, might have to give it a go!

    1. Do it! I was so glad to run across the directions in an old leaflet. I wouldn't have thought of it and who makes their own curtains anymore let alone embroiders or uses rick rack (except the jumbo on kids quilts? :)

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