Westy curtains

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1987 Vanagon GL Westfalia Curtains

There are 10 curtains, 8 of which make up four pairs. Imagine being inside your van facing front. Turn in a clockwise circle and you'll see the curtains in this order, and notice how they're hung:

Front
Snaps to the van interior at sides and top; covers drivers and front-passenger's side windows as well as windshield; has elastic edge at top that drapes over the visors
Sliding Door
Hangs using drapery sliders; has elastic at bottom with a plastic ring at each end that holds the bottom edge of the curtain closer to the van
Passenger-Left
Hangs using drapery sliders; passenger-side bungee cord attached to the van interior holds bottom edges close to the van
Passenger-Right
Hangs from a flat curtain rod; passenger-side bungee cord attached to the van interior holds bottom edges close to the van
Back-Left
Hangs from flat curtain rods top and bottom
Back-Right
Hangs from flat curtain rods top and bottom
Closet-Left
Hangs from a flat curtain rod; driver-side bungee cord attached to the van interior holds bottom edges close to the van
Closet-Right
Hangs using drapery sliders; driver-side bungee cord attached to the van interior holds bottom edges close to the van
Sink-Left
Hangs using drapery sliders; driver-side bungee cord attached to the van interior holds bottom edges close to the van
Sink-Right
Hangs using drapery sliders; driver-side bungee cord attached to the van interior holds bottom edges close to the van

Westy van curtain positions.gif


Materials needed:

To make replacement curtains, you'll need to get:

  • Fabric: see "Fabric and Layout" below for amount to buy
  • Thread: to match your fabric
  • Drapery Ribbon: 5-1/2 yards
  • Sliding-Door Elastic: 1/4" by 45" when not stretched.
  • Sliding-Door O-rings: 5/8" outer diameter.
  • Front Door Elastic: 1/4" by 56" when not stretched.
  • Small Curtain Snaps: 6 sets of 3/8" snaps for light-to-medium weight fabric
  • Large Curtain Snap: 1 heavy-duty snap (for snap N in the flat-plan below)
  • Van-Body Snaps: 14 sets of heavy-duty snaps with screw-in studs
  • Flat plans.jpg

Hints on buying stuff

If you care what your curtains will look like from the outside, look at both sides of the fabric. Try to get fabric that doesn't unravel easily, since it's harder to work with and may fall apart when/if you ever wash your curtains.

Cheap thread is a nuisance to work with. Buy good thread.

Cheap elastic will soon lose its stretch. Buy good elastic.

Here's a source for some drapery ribbon that might work: Recmar Products; look for "wrinkle-band tape". I haven't seen this stuff in person, but it seems to be similar to what's on the Westy curtains. Otherwise, you might try to build your own (see section at bottom). GoWesty and BusDepot both sell curtain hardware, but not the drapery ribbon.)

The small curtain snaps are 3/8" snaps for light-weight or medium-weight fabric. When I used snaps, I always use the no-sew ones (comparable to Dritz 15-65). They should be available at any sewing goods store or department; usually sold in sets of 6 or 12 with an attaching tool. You'll need 6. But buy extras ... they're thin and a bit fiddly to attach, and you'll likely mess up one or two. They're not horribly expensive.

The large curtain snap is a 5/8" heavy-duty snap (comparable to Dritz 5-1). It should also be available at any sewing goods store or department.

Van-Body Snaps - to see what the parts look like, go to this page and look at:

  • (for the curtain) Durable Fasteners All stainless steel cap
  • (for the curtain) Durable Fasteners All Stainless Steel Socket
  • (for the van body) Durable Fasteners All Stainless Steel Stud
  • (for the van body) Screw Stud (stainless steel) 3/8"

You'll need six for the front curtain, and seven more for the curtain straps (though we never close our Closet Left curtain ... and I'm not even sure it has a curtain strap). You can probably find them at a marine store or an RV store. I think I bought some in a kit with an attaching tool at a Wal-Mart.

Fabric and Layout

Yardage is typically sold in widths of 45" or 60". You might be able to find fabric in different widths, and you'll need to create a layout like these to determine how much to buy. Your fabric might have a one-way pattern, such as stripes, which limits the way you can cut your fabric. The dimensions shown here are the sizes you should cut (finished curtain sizes are in a diagram below). If you err in the size of the curtains, always err too large. At worst, your curtains will be looser and longer but they'll still cover your windows!

You'll need 5-3/4 yards of either width for the Front and Sliding-Door curtains as well as the curtain straps:

Front slider.jpg

If you have 60" wide fabric you'll need an additional 4 yards for the other curtains:

60 wide.jpg

If you have 45" wide one-way fabric you'll need an additional 7-3/4 yards for the other curtains (if you try to lay out the curtains sideways as for non-one-way fabric, your pattern will be going the wrong way!):

45 one way.jpg

If you have 45" wide *non* one-way fabric you'll need an additional 6-1/2 yards for the other curtains:

45 non one way.jpg

Here is a diagram showing Cut size and Finished Size. It also shows how each edge gets finished and shows snap placement. If there's only one snap, such as A, then it snaps to the interior of the van. On the double-width strap, snap N snaps to itself (it doesn't have screw-in stud; but snap O snaps to a screw-in stud in the van body.

Flat plans.jpg

Construction

Here are the steps to follow to construct each curtain. For some techniques, see the following section.

Front

  • Sew a 1.5" hem on both sides.
  • Sew a 0.5" hem at bottom.
  • Sew a 1.5" hem at top, with partial elastic (see diagram below).
  • Apply six van-body snaps as shown in the diagram. The centers of snaps A and F are 15" below the finished top edge of the curtain and they are inside the side hem. Snaps B and E are on the top hem, just inside the side hem. The centers of snaps C and D are 31" from the finished sides of the curtain, and they are inside the top hem.

Sliding Door

  • Sew a 1/2" hem on both sides.
  • Sew drapery ribbon at top (see 'techniques' below).
  • Sew a 1" tube at bottom.
  • Thread elastic through tube and attach o-rings to both ends of elastic.
  • Tack the elastic to the curtain at each bottom corner (see diagram below).
  • Apply curtain snaps as shown in the diagram.

Passenger Left/Closet Right/Over-Sink Left/Over-Sink Right

  • Sew a 1/2" hem on both sides.
  • Sew drapery ribbon at top.
  • Sew a 1" hem at bottom.
  • Apply curtain snaps as shown in the diagram.

Passenger Right/Closet Left

  • Sew a 1/2" hem on both sides.
  • Sew a 2" tube at top (see 'techniques' below).
  • Sew a 1" hem at bottom.
  • Apply curtain snaps as shown in the diagram.

Back Left/Back Right

  • Sew a 1/2" hem on both sides.
  • Sew a 2" tube at top (see 'techniques' below).
  • Sew a 2" tube at bottom (see 'techniques' below).
  • Apply curtain snaps as shown in the diagram.

Straps

  • Fold (don't sew) a 1/2" hem on both sides.
  • Fold the top and bottom cut edge towards the middle.
  • Fold once more so the straps are 4 thicknesses.
  • Sew around the four edges, near to the edges.
  • Apply van-body snaps as shown in the diagram.
  • Apply large snap N as shown in the diagram.

Techniques

To sew a hem, fold the fabric once the width of the hem and then fold it again. Sew near the top of the second fold, as shown in the diagram below.

To sew a tube, first sew a hem. Then sew a second seam near the edge of the fabric, as shown in the diagram below.

Hem and tube.jpg

Below is a diagram showing the bottom edge of the sliding-door curtain:

Sliding door elastic.jpg

Below is a diagram showing how to sew the elastic into the front curtain: Tack the two ends of the elastic close to the top cut edge, and sew through the middle of the elastic while stretching it so the fabric lies flat while you sew. Fold the fabric twice, as for a hem. While you sew the seam as for the hem, stretch the elastic so the fabric lies flat while you sew. (Can someone describe this better?) <need to make this text red>

Front elastic.jpg

Below are diagrams showing how to sew on the drapery ribbon: Lay the drapery ribbon on the *right* side of the fabric, 1" down from the cut edge. Fold the two ends of the drapery ribbon around to the wrong side of the fabric. (Optional) Sew the draper ribbon to the fabric at the top edge of the drapery ribbon. (Optional) Sew the draper ribbon to the fabric at the bottom edge of the drapery ribbon. Fold the fabric down 1" as though for a hem, and then again 1". Sew across the top edge and bottom edge of the drapery ribbon.

Drapery ribbon.jpg

If you need to construct drapery ribbon ...

Here's what the drapery ribbon looks like. If you need to construct some, you'll need 3/4" or 1" cloth ribbon and 1/4" cloth ribbon.

Drapery ribbon photo.jpg          Drapery ribbon photo2.jpg

Here's the pattern that shows how to attach ribbons together. The hatched areas show where the 1/4" ribbon is sewn to the wider ribbon, and the blank areas are loops (not sewn). But if I were going to construct drapery ribbon, I wouldn't worry too much about following this pattern. I'd just make a note of how many pairs of loops I needed for my drapery hangers, and lay out and sew the 1/4" ribbon to the wider ribbon appropriately.

Construct drapery ribbon.jpg

Now that this is on the Vanagon wiki, if you have additions, comments, corrections then please edit the Vanagon Wiki ...