• 10 ideas for cheery 40s or 50s kitchen curtains

    warm bisquit bedding pom pom trim

    Stephanie asked for suggestions for window treatments for her 50s kitchen, so I dived into the world wide web for a few hours and came up with a shopping list of some new vendors never featured before. They offer fabrics and hardware for suitable cheery, nostalgic window treatments. Above: pom poms from Warm Bisquit Bedding…more of their products below.

    Stephanie writes:

    stephanies-vintage-kitchenPam — Your recent email newsletter reminded me to ask you for advice about kitchen curtains!  I have a large mcm kitchen with that (apparently) same gray tile others have in their bathrooms — I have it around my kitchen sink, along with little strips of red tile, and original white porcelain sinks.  (That’s why my “new” 1946 stove came with red knobs and handles).  I used the gray in the tile to help me decide on the wall and trim colors.  The wall is almost white, but has a tint of the gray in it.  The trim around the windows coordinates closely with the grey tile color.  Now….I thought I’d be able to find simple tier curtains or “French window” type curtains in a retro style, since I am pretty good at shopping on the web.  But no… I looked at one of the ebay seller’s stashes of barkcloth, but that fabric is mostly huge prints, and it’s just not very kitchenish.  Can you suggest any links for retro kitchen curtains?  Or fabric??  I will make my own, dang it!  Stephanie

    First, some fabric possibilities, for those handy with a sewing machine:

    wbbedding2_2063_126150062

    This “Red Kitchen Floral” fabric from Warm Bisquit Bedding was my #1 favorite from my hunt, although it *might* be a bit too light for Stephanie’s kitchen… kind of ’20s ’30s flour-sack like. This is not a bad thing, per se, but it might not be forceful enough for the strong reds like we see in Stephanie’s dinette. All the colors in your kitchen ideally must “hold their own.”  That said, I do think the addition of some green and yellow into Stephanie’s red and white kitchen would be great. And I adore this fabric, it’s perfect for a kitchen… there’s a yellow, too.

    wbbedding2_2062_1160845

    Warm Bisquit can make up your window treatments for you. Here’s one design for a girl’s bedroom. The mid-century look would have had more pleats…You know I love that pom pom fringe. Remember these fabulous pom pom festooned woven shades?

    Link: Warm Bisquit Bedding. Lots of great fabric, here.

    bella pamella fabric

    Remember Bella Pamella of the cute aprons? They have their first fabric design for sale by the yard now, and it would also look great in a postwar 1940s or 1950s kitchen. Note, in the 40s and early 50s, I think that reds really were deeper and richer, like this… pastels and candy apple reds came later in the 50s.  Bella Pamella Cherries.

    il_430xN.58895898One final fabric choice for those who can sew: This discontinued Waverly pattern came from their Kitchen Kitsch line. It is too too bad they continued it, because they had some perfect patterns, I think they were just a little ahead of the retro renovation movement. I used two of their wallpapers in my bathrooms, they are perfect. I found this fabric on etsy – two yards available, enough to make some valences, I think. Etsy link.

    osgoods_store1

    Fabric shoppers: Since I’m trying to be super-comprehensive: Try to find out where the biggest fabric store in your area is. Go there – you will be surprised at the choices. In my area, there’s a place called Osgood’s in West Springfield, Mass., which is pretty amazing. I’ve nabbed lots of vintage-style fabrics there. There are big Waverly outlets in several cities. I also think it’s worthwhile to check out Calico Corners.

    Now, for ready-made curtains:

    country curtains kitchen cafes

    Country Curtains has its home base just down the road from me in Stockbridge, Mass. They are a great place to check for classics. I liked their Molly cafe’s. Country Curtains cafe curtains.

    jcpenney kitchen curtains

    Of course, the first place I looked was J.C. Penney. I liked these – and it looks like the fabric is kind of translucent in a wonderful way. JCPenney tiers.

    cafe rods from rejuvenationIf you need cafe rods, I like the look of these from Rejuvenation – I believe they can size the rods exactly to order. If your cafes are mounted on the exterior molding, you’ll be seeing the hardware every day, so make it nice stuff.


    Don’t forget: You can always shop vintage — for fabric, ready made curtains and for hardware. I went onto ebay and found a decent selection, although not tons. Etsy sellers carry vintage soft goods like draperies and fabric. I usually see a fair amount of vintage drapery at estate sales (go for the linen closet and attic), at Goodwill, Salvation Army and vintage shops. And I’ve been known to buy window treatments right off the windows. I bought the expansive pinch pleats now hanging in my living room that way. $20, Canadian. I got up on the ladder and took ‘em down. If you are so inclined, you can wait it out and the retro decorating gods might send you something special.

    vintage-cafe-curtains

    Finally….See my page full of Window Treatment ideas here… I’ll add this post to it.

    Good luck, Stephanie.

    Gallery:

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    Comments

    1. sablemable says:

      I had forgotten about the pom-poms! My mother had made some curtains with the pom-poms border for her dining room. The fabric was a yellow/orange print and the pom-poms were orange. She had those captain chairs and table and had painted them yellow and made seat cushions using orange fabric. Very cheery place to have supper!

    2. Patty O'Furniture says:

      Another great source of textiles for making your own cafe curtains and valances are vintage tablecloths from auction sites. Many of the tablecloths from the forties have spectacular border prints that look great as cafes–border runs down the outer edge of each panel and along the bottom, then use the border from one full edge as the valance. The colors and print themes are period-authentic and you can usually work around small holes or stains. You can pair them up with roller shades, too.

    3. Oh my do I love pom-pom fringe!! :O)

      When I bought my unused vintage shower curtain (pink daisies 60s) I found a window curtain from the 50s (new unused too!) in bright bubblegum pink with white pom pom fringe that is so cheery. I thought Hubby would hate it but he loves it, he says they are cheerful. It balances the blue tile. Plus when the sun shines in the pink makes the bathroom glow!

      I am making drapes for my living room from vintage reproduction atomic barkcloth.

      I know, gotta get pics to you, as soon as I get the drapes done and my corona couch. ;O)

      And thanks Pam for the links, especially the pom pom fringe, it’s hard to find the bigger pom poms now!

    4. Palm Springs Stephan says:

      Yes, we often do belabor window treatments for years before moving forward. For myself, cost is the primary reason. Blinds are easy and usually relatively inexpensive. I did my living room … 16 linear feet of window space … in 2″ white traditional horizontal blinds for under $500. Pinch-pleated fabric drapes for the same windows would have easily cost three times that. And if the fabric happens to be unusual, and thus pricey, the cost only soars. And unlike blinds, if you discover you do not like the way the fabric drapes look for some reason once you’ve put them up, they are non-returnable. So we do indeed labor for years, saving money and making sure that we’ve made exactly the correct choice before plunging in and spending $1500 or more on custom window treatments.

      • pam kueber says:

        Hi Palm Springs Stephan, did I sound pushy on the post? I am sorry. I have edited the post. You are completely right in that well-made, lined pinch pleats cost a bundle, and that it is well worth taking the time to think this investment through to make sure you get what you want. I actually should do more research on the topic of where / how to find resources to have pinch pleats made *affordably.* For example, there used to be a big Waverly outlet about an hour from where I live. About 4 years into living in my house … and yes, it took me this long to make some decisions on the pinch pleats I ultimately purchased … I found fabric there that I liked. They also had a sewing area upstairs and could custom make the drapes for me. They also made me slipcovers and bolster covers for two daybeds. Their costs were amazingly affordable compared to quotes that I had received from shops that specialized in window treatments — and because I was able to buy the fabric at discount prices as well, the curtains added up to lots lots less than “normal prices.” I think there are ways around the huge prices for pinch pleats – but like most renovation projects, it’s a trade of time for money to find those solutions. Alas, the Waverly store went out of business about two years ago. I would love to have custom sheers made – to go under my $20 vintage wall of curtains … but now I am back to square one in terms of finding someone to do this for me. I am pretty sure I can find inexpensive yet good quality material at Osgood’s.

    5. LOVE pom-poms! Don’t forget, there’s always gingham check. And line the valances with an inexpensive white fabric so it will look nice from the outside. So satisfying to look up and know you made them yourself. I like the discontinued fabric and the cherry fabric (add the white pom-poms); the lighter one is just not the right shade but is sure cute.

    6. sablemable says:

      Palm Springs Stephen-you are so right in regards of the high cost of window treatments. I’d like to get the interior wooden plantation shutters for my picture window, but, it would be expensive. I might take a whack at making pinch-pleated drapes, or just go ahead and hang up the unopened white p-p drapes I had bought for a song a while back.

      Decisions, decisions!

    7. I just put up pom pom curtains (white) in my blue tiled bathroom. They are fab! Bought them at a yard sale for $3.

    8. Sorry, I didn’t look at the all the pictures…I have Cherries in my kitchen too! (Not apples, but Cherries!). I’m desperatly trying to find cherry themed chalkware for the walls. I have one piece. In the meantime, I’ve framed vintage cherry labels in red frames to hang on the wall.

    9. Palm Springs Stephan says:

      No, Pam, you were not “too pushy.” I was simply offering one reader’s opinion on why it can take so long to dress a window. To expland on my opinion, I actually found the absolutely perfect fabric through a posting here on this site … a link to an eBay auction. Sadly, I did not win the auction because the price got well out of reach. But now I have that specific pattern in my mind’s eye and am finding it extremely difficult to “settle” for anything else. And it is a very rare pattern … large yucca plants and some other unidentified plant on a cream barkcloth background. (If any of your readers know of a resource for this pattern, I’d be ecstatic!) Once I find the fabric, it just becomes an issue of finding someone to make the pinch pleats at an affordable cost.

      Nina462 – I assume you have tried eBay for chalkware cherries? I’ve seen lots of them over the past couple of years.

      • pam kueber says:

        Hi, Stephan, I know EXACTLY the barkcloth pinch pleats that you are talking aboug. I’ll keep my eye out for you, for similar fabric. You are surely one of the retro decorating gods’ favorites, they will send you what you need.

    10. Alison Marie says:

      I second the gingham option for kitchens. It looks great trimmed with rickrack (that flat zig-zag trim often used on children’s clothes). That’s what I went for…but finding blue and white to match my blue&white checkerboard linoleum was a bear! So my 2nd suggestion: Kmart. I got mine years ago, but I believe they still have some retro-looking options in good cafe curtain shapes. I’m pretty sure they still have red.

    11. Pom Poms….

      What a great whimsical touch for ANY kitch kitchen!

    12. Wow, all of you are calling it pom-pom — but I was raised to call it ball fringe.

      As for the curtains for Stephanie’s great kitchen, oh, go with cherries, definitely! But they need to be a brighter red than the example, and perhaps with more pattern than just a clump of cherries every ten inches. More! More! :)

      I also like gingham… and have you considered a red tablecloth check? Similar to gingham check, but usually with a small pattern in it, such as roosters or quatrefoils (stylized four-petaled flowers) or cherries.

      See here:

      http://www.fabricdirect.com/acatalog/Vinyl-Tablecloth-Tavern-Check-Red.html

      http://cozylittlehouse.blogspot.com/2009/07/red-white-checked-tablecloth.html

      http://images.cafepress.com/product_zoom/164194058v7_225x225_Front_padToSquare-true.png

      I have a GREAT red-checkered fabric which serves as my outdoor tablecloth… it has black ants printed on it! I bought it at Walmart in 2006 and again in 2008, in their fabric section. Sort of like this, but with more (and cuter) ants:

      http://www.amazon.com/RAZ-IMPORTS-Red-Check-Tablecloth/dp/B001RHML20

    13. I thought my prayers had been answered but alas, not today. The two fabrics I thought would be perfect for my late 1940′s kitchen are both gone. It’s hard to find examples in color of what to look for. I did find two pictures in my photo album taken in our kitchen in the early ’50′s but they are in black and white. I presume red, green and gray. I’m not being a true vintage remodeler because I’ve lived with the real thing once already. Now I’m buying the things from my childhood for my kitchen. I am probably going to have to buy tablecloths for curtains. I did find some by the yard toweling here http://www.retro-redheads.com/ that I am leaning heavily toward but it isn’t the right red. Your itsey fabric would have been better.

    14. Don’t forget giant rick-rack for a good trim, too…although this is more appropriate for a 30′s or 40′s kitchen–like mine–probably.

      http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d57/beckyleach/Kitchen/KitchenSink.jpg

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