August 20, 2014

Lofted Bed Curtains (aka, under the bed tent)

For a long time now, I've had this idea in mind to make a cute curtain to hang under my son's bed when we finally lofted it.  Initially, I thought I'd make a tent to resemble the trolly on Mister Rodgers' Neighborhood/Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.  After my son outgrew that phase more, and started seriously loving cars, I shifted the idea to be a curtain that resembled a garage.  I thought a concrete wall with some applique windows, tires, perhaps an oil drum and toolbox would do the trick.  This was also a new chance to develop more sewing skills!  I took my son to the fabric store with me so he could pick out the colors for all his garage goodies, and talk about what items he wanted to be displayed on the garage.  He chose the red fabric for the garage, and I came up with the idea of painting on the white mortar so it looked like a brick garage.  We really had a lot of fun thinking it out together, and my son loved watching me cut out the different objects and sew them onto the curtains.  They're now up in his room, and hide a little hot wheel track world under his bed.  It's definitely a hit, and can be as easy or as complicated as suits you and your skill set.  Have fun!

Supplies (for a twin size bed)

  • 2 1/2 yards base curtain fabric to cover one side of the bed; additional if continuing curtain to cover more of the exposed area under the bed
  • White paint and paint supplies (brush, drop cloth, etc.)
  • Rectangular container or cutout as brick guide
  • Fabric scraps, fat quarters, or 1/4 yards for each of the detail pieces
  • 2 yards velcro made for sewing


  1. Lay out base curtain fabric, and paint on brick mortar (white paint), using a cutout, tupperware, or other guide to get a brick shape.  Let dry.
  2. Measure opening under the bed when lofted.  This will help you know just how wide and tall your curtains should be.  The curtains should be tall enough to cover the opening under bed without dragging on the floor and wide enough without flopping past the edges of the bed.  Add 1" to the width, so you can have 1/4" seams on each end, and 1/4" seam on each side of the middle opening to the curtains.  Add 1/2" to the height for 1/4" top and bottom seams.
  3. Cut straight edges, preferably using cutter and clear ruler guide, for the top and bottom sides.  Cut the curtain in half vertically to provide an easy opening in the middle during playtime.
  4. Fold over edges, pin, and sew to keep curtain edges from unraveling during use.
  5. Cut out applique pieces such as tires, toolbox, and windows.  Try to be proportionate with your items, but some goofy mismatches can be cute.
  6. Pin pieces and sew in place.  I sewed 1/4" in from the edges, because I wasn't yet skilled at doing the applique stitches that go back and forth over the edge.  That means the outer edges of my pieces are a bit floppy, but as I said, you can make this as easy or complicated as you want to suit your skill set.  Don't sweat the imperfections, because this is MEANT to look whimsical and imperfect.
  7. Cut the velcro in half.  Sew on the fuzzy part of the velcro along the top edge of each half of the curtain, according to manufacturer instructions.  I sewed mine AFTER removing the paper backing, and I don't know if that made the difference in why my sewing needle got all gunked up and jammed on me, but I definitely recommend doing things as intended here.  Winging it is unwise, as I learned.
  8. Stick the prickly side of the velcro to the back or underside of the bed frame, as desired.  Press firmly and hold in place.  You want that velcro side to STICK to the bed and not peel off at the first tug or two at the curtain.
  9. Attach the curtains to the bed and PLAY!
My little helper getting ready to paint some bricks!

Tracing around the tupperware container.  4-year-old helpers mean you quickly let go of perfection.  :)

Laid out to dry.  Some of the paint smudged and made splatters when I put it in place, and they created a great random and authentic look that I could not have possibly done intentionally.

This project taught me to looove my clear guide ruler/cutter!

Oil drum and toolbox sewn on.

My son wanted to name his garage Joey Cl[a]wson.  I have no idea who "Jowe" (Joey) is, or why his garage's name looks like graffiti, but this goes in my son's room not mine, so he gets his way.

Big ole tires all stacked up!

This is a HAPPY little guy!  Note the camping lantern providing under bed light.  Perfect for a little mechanic!

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