Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Valance tutorials…

I went a little nuts last year when I was expecting and made valances or curtains for every window in my house—I was a nesting-crazy-lady!!  When I posted the valance in my girls’ room I had a few people ask for a tutorial053 (2)
Before I start a tutorial, you need to know a little bit about me.  I am very inpatient and don’t follow patterns because I’d rather just figure it out on my own.  So I “wing it” a lot and just make it up as I go.  I know that can drive a bunch of people crazy (like my mom!), so I apologize if this isn’t as detailed of a tutorial as you might be expecting;)  And I can also be a cheapskate a bit on the frugal side and so my design aesthetic is based on what I have on hand!!
First, measure the width of your window including casings.  Mine measures 42 1/4 inches.  Most fabrics are 45 inches wide.
Red fabric—4 1/2 inches x 45 inches
White patterned fabric—16 3/4 inches x 45 inches
blue fabric—6 1/2 inches x 45 inches
After I had picked out the fabrics I wanted to use, I realized that sun was going to shine through the lighter, white patterned fabric and make it look flimsy.  So I decided to line it with warm and natural so it would be heavier and not so see-through.  I folded the edges of the white patterned fabric over and sewed 1/4 inch seams on the two sides and on the bottom edge.
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Next I cut some warm and natural quilt batting and then sewed it to the back of the white patterned fabric, about 1/4 inch in from the finished seam so it barely caught the edge of the batting and it wouldn’t show on the edges.
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I folded the two sides of the red fabric under and sewed 1/4 inch seams and then folded it over lengthwise so that it made a pocket for the rod I was using.  Then I attached it to the top of the white patterned fabric with a 1/4 inch seam.  Next I sewed jumbo sized rickrack across the seam on the front using invisible thread.
Next, I prepared the blue strip that hangs underneath the top portion of the valance.  I decided it should be heavier too, but I had enough blue fabric that I cut two pieces of blue fabric and sewed three edges and then turned it right side out to make something like a pillowcase and then pressed it with the iron.  See—just flying by the seat of my pants here and deciding to do whatever I want (I was pregnant, so I am excused from ridicule or normal behaviors).  You could then sew a 1/4 inch seam around those edges to make it look more finished—I must’ve gotten tired at that point, because I didn’t do it:) Then I sewed the jumbo rickrack on the bottom, finished edge with invisible thread. Here’s what it looks like from the back…
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Next I tacked on the blue sewed section onto the valance on either side with a stitch by hand.  This just holds the sides together and keeps the blue section in place while you gather the white patterned fabric.
Now for the gathering.  I love a scrunched up gathered look, but I have to explain that you can only pull up the two sides so much before you start to see the casings of the window.  Your fabric is barely wide enough (45 inches) to cover a 42 1/4 inch window so I just gathered it until it was pulling away too much on the sides and showing the casings.
I threaded a needle with white thread and picked two spots on the valance that I thought would be great for gathering and just sewed about 6 straight stitches and then pulled it tight and sewed a stitch and a knot and then did the same on the other gathered point.  Then I tacked a few more spots along the backside of the blue fabric, attaching it to the underside edge of the white patterned fabric.
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I tied two bows with grosgrain ribbon and sewed them to the gathered sections—and that is it!!  And where it didn’t hang right, I taped along the back:)  See, you never knew!!

Here’s the tutorial for the boys’ valances which are really easy!!
I cut my stars and stripes fabric 17 x 52 inches for my 42 1/4 inch wide window, including the casings. (This fabric is not a standard 45 inch wide because it is from a decorator roll.  If you have 45 inch wide fabric, you will have to piece it together to get 52 inches) I folded the top and side edges over and sewed a 1/4 inch seam and then pressed them with an iron.  I then cut a strip of heavy, brown decorator fabric 6 x 52 inches and then folded over the sides and bottom and sewed a 1/4 inch seam.  Then I sewed the bottom of the stars and stripes fabric to the brown fabric and pressed with an iron.  I sewed a finishing stitch 1/4 inch on along the seam on the stars and stripes fabric.
Now here’s my inexpensive window treatment option.  You just need a 2 x 4 inch piece of wood and two L brackets.  I cut the wood to the length of the window casings, and then screwed the L brackets onto the 4 inch side.
Before you screw it into the wall, I hot glued the fabric along the top edge.  Yep, HOT GLUE—does it get easier than that??  Then screw it into the wall and you are done!!
I did have a problem with how my fabric was hanging and so I sewed a seam from the top corners of the valence down to the bottom edge.  It makes it look more boxy:)
I’ve done this in other rooms of my house, with different variations and it turns out great with the wood and only costs a couple of dollars instead of the price of a fancy rod.
I hope that helps inspire you!!
I am linking to the following parties!
Ladybird Ln I Heart Nap Time Keeping It Simple Raising Oranges Making A Diamond in the Stuff Pincushion Creations A Crafty Soiree Fine Craft Guild mop it up mondays Creative Itch Photobucket It's OVerflowing Somewhat Simple HookingupwithHoH Sew Happy Geek The Taylor House Design Dazzle wednesday's wowzers One Artsy Mama Goings on in Texas I'm Topsy Turvy
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  1. I love these! I'm a "wing it" kind of girl, too, so I totally appreciate your directions. :) Great job!

    1. Thanks Sara!! Nothing wrong with just "going with it" ;)

  2. Shannon,

    This is absolutely beautiful. When you run out of projects at your house, I'll send you my address and you can come do my house :) I totally agree with the whole winging it, I taught myself to sew when my daughter was born and hated patterns from the store and usually made my own. We are kindred spirits.

    I wanted to let you know that I Featured you on my Favorites from last weeks Creative Thursday, so stop on by and take a peek. And please link up some more beautiful projects.


    1. Thanks Michelle, and thanks for the feature--I am running behind this week because I've been writing a pattern for my daughter's PB inspired quilt. So....take someone who doesn't like patterns, and have them write a pattern?? Then add some serious OCD issues, and I am exhausted trying to make it perfect!!! But I think it'll be up in my etsy shop tomorrow!! So excited!! I will come link up some stuff today!!


  3. So cute! I need to make something for my kids windows. Honestly I only have one window that has any kind of curtain in my house. Pinning! Thanks for sharing at Terrific Tuesdays.

    1. Thanks Rachel, I love your parties!


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