Those with an eye for detail may have noticed the completed front curtain in the first and last picture of the Fall Camping post. Finished just in time, the curtain worked great and is much better than any used previously. Only seven curtains remain in this project but, with the two complicated ones finished, the remainder should be easily completed (but I make no promises on posting the results in a timely manner 🙂 ).
Originally, I intended to mimic reproduction front curtains used in previous buses. The design required no failure prone elastic banding, seemed simple, and, most importantly, easy to execute. Basically rectangles of cloth that relied on tension to prevent sagging when installed, these reproductions functioned very well in the absence of the front child’s cot. In years past, I never used the front cot but now-a-days this is a much needed accessory for my son, who I am quite sure would willingly sleep there every night. I reckoned a couple holes in the fabric through which the cot poles could pass before attaching to the front cot brackets on the bus frame would be sufficient. How wrong I was, at least if I wanted the curtain to look nice, because the cot canvas interfered with the curtain resulting in incomplete coverage of the windshield and a lot of wrinkles.
This added bit of complexity took me by surprise but one look at the original VW-Westfalia design told me why the cot caused problems. Measuring roughly 122-inches long by 20.5-inches wide, the original curtain is a rectangle with a top span much too long for the bus cab. VW-Westfalia resolved this issue by affixing elastic on the top run to take up slack between the front two snaps. The extra length along the bottom, however, provides additional material where the cot poles and canvas extend into the cab corners near the front brackets; in this respect, the new curtain failed. While the top of Moby’s curtain fit nice and snug in the cab, the bottom was too short with the cot installed.
Unfortunately not enough plaid fabric existed on the ream to make a second curtain, forcing a search for alternate ideas. Attaching cloth triangles at the curtain’s two front corners thereby increasing curtain length along the bottom while keeping the top length the same seemed the best solution at the time. It quickly became evident that simple triangles would not suffice, further compounding what started out as a straight forward project. Although I can fabricate many items out of wood and metal, I admit that my lack of experience with cloth materials limited my ability to expound upon and implement a more intricate triangle concept. While I rely on help from Martha’s superior sewing skills with the curtain project as a whole, the front curtain really became hers and I cannot take much credit for the finished product or steps outlined below. I simply acted as a sounding board, distraction, purveyor of frustration, and was ultimately tasked with pinning hems for the remaining curtains in an attempt to get me out from underfoot.
All said and done, I am not sure I would follow the original VW front curtain design if I needed another. Even though the original is certainly less complicated, the headaches of the triangle design are solved and patterns made. The increased strength around the cot pole slots and potentially longer life span without the elastic band are definite improvements. Besides it looks great!