This post follows on from the one I did yonks ago, explaining how to make tab-top curtains. I never got round to adding instructions for making the tie-backs, but today I will!
So... you want to make a beautiful pair (or, who knows, quadruple set) of curtain tie-backs? You're in luck! It's easy peasy (ish). With a little bit of drawing, snipping and sewing, you could have a tie-back as cute as this one:
Now, I didn't use a template and I'm not providing one, because the size and shape on your tie-back will really depend on the size of your curtains. So if you're frittering round the internet looking for a template STOP NOW. It's easy - just draw one!
Step one is to draw the shape of your tie-back, freehand, onto your inter-lining (assuming you are making your tie-backs deliciously plump using inter-lining. If you are going lining-free I suggest you draw it out on some paper to use as a template). Oh yes, quite the nerve-wracking challenge that is, to draw it neatly! Make it easier on yourself though: fold the inter-lining in half and just draw half of it, so it ends up splendidly symmetrical.
Easy peasy. Next, use your templates to cut the tie-back shape out of your chosen fabric. We made the nursery tie-backs with two different colours - partly because it looks cute, but mostly because we didn't have enough of the red dotty fabric.
Also, if you want some piping, cut a long strip of fabric for that, slightly longer than the outline of the tie-back and about 4cm wide. This should be cut on the bias (diagonally across the fabric) so that it stretches enough.
Next, pin the two fabric shapes and the inter-lining together. To make it easier to sew together, place the pins perpendicular to the edge of the fabric (at a right-angle to the edge, with the sharp point of the pin pointing in towards the middle of the tie-back). That will enable you to machine stitch right over the pins without taking them out - the needle will just pass over them and you can remove them once you've sewn the whole thing up.
Now, listen carefully, because you could get in a muddle with the next bit. You need to pin the piping strip with the wrong side up, so the right side is facig the right side of the tie-back. Or you could just hold it in position as you machine stitch it all together, as you have to fiddle-faddle it into position as you go.
Here's a photo of my Mum sewing one tie-back together - see how the wrong side of the piping is up? She'd nearly got around the whole shape by this point. Oh - you will have to fiddle-faddle to join the ends of the piping fabric too. Make sure you fold over the end, so it doesn't fray.
As an aside, my Mum doesn't have the arm-span of Mr Tickle - the hand lifting up the piping fabric is, in fact, mine.
Now, I can hear what you're saying. You're saying "But that's not piping, Jen! That's a potentially lovely tie-back with a stupid flap of fabric hanging out of it!" Fear not. Instead, trim the piping fabric so it's an even width all around, and just wide enough to fold under twice (see below), giving you a neat edge.
The penultimate step involves some hand-stitching. Work your way round the tie-back, hand sewing the twice-folded piping down as invisibly as you can. If you try to machine stitch this part it'll look hideous ... so don't.
The very final step? Some little tie-back rings, without which you've not actually created a tie-back, you've just created a very lovely but useless geometric shape from fabric. Hand-stitch them neatly to the ends of the tie-backs. You can attach them a little way in from the end so that you can't see them. Mine had to go right on the tips as my tie-backs are double sided.
Psst: this is how they look on the finished curtains - HERE.