As promised, here I am with a step-by-step tutorial of how I made the cute little valance that is now helping to prettify my kitchen window.
Materials you will need:
Curtain rod (or spring rod like I used)
Bias Tape or Ribbon
Tools you will need:
Iron, ironing board and starch (optional)
Bulldog clips and/or pins
I started out with a dish towel (the smooth, thin kind) from Big Lots that set me back $1.50. The colors were warm like the colors of my kitchen, and I have a coffee/cafe theme going on, so the little cappuccino cup worked great.
1. The first thing I did was rip out the seams from the top and the bottom of the towel. These are the narrower ends of the towel, and I just used a seam ripper to yank those little threads out. Leave the side seams intact, as they will save you a lot of extra sewing! Once I had the seams out, and had ironed the towel flat, I began measuring the towel.
2. My window was 31" wide, and the towel was 16" wide and 27" long. I decided that I would cut the towel into three parts, each about 9" tall. (1a) The middle part would have the cappuccino cup on it, and then a plain piece would go on each side. Once I had each piece cut out, I matched the right sides of the side seams together and ran a straight stitch down one side and then the other. (2a)
Then I pressed the seams open so they would lay flat.
3. Now I had one long piece, hemmed on both narrow ends, with a raw edge on top and on bottom. Using the previous hem as a guide, I pressed the first 1/2" of the bottom up, towards the back side,
then rolled that over again to make a nice neat hem for the bottom of the valance. I ran a straight stitch all along the bottom of the valance to make an even hem.
4. I had some oyster colored bias tape left over from a different project that I used to dress the valance up a little bit.
If you have ribbon you could use that as well, or you could leave this part out entirely. :-) I measured the length of the valance (now 48") and cut about a 50" length of bias tape. This will allow enough tape to wrap around the back of the valance so that the cut end doesn't show. This is like the closure on a bag of coffee, where you pinch the little twisty tie back over itself to seal the bag. Same idea.
5. I positioned the bias tape just above the hem I had just created on the valance. Using white thread and a zig zag stitch, I attached the tape to the valance. If you are using ribbon, and it is wide enough, you could also use fusible hem tape to simply iron the ribbon onto the valance.
6. Next I pressed the top of the valance down about a 1/2", towards the wrong side of the fabric. The next step will be to make the pleats, so this way the top has a nice smooth hem to work with.
7. Here's where you will need to do some math. I knew that I wanted the cappuccino cup to be centered on the valance, and the design was about 8" wide. From there I decided the pleats would be about 2" worth of material, and then figured out how many more pleats would fit based on the width of my fabric, and the width of the window. For my valance, that meant two 4.5" panels on either side of the main panel.
8. Here's a little diagram of the measurements for the pleats, and the order that you should iron them in. Use plenty of steam, and starch if you want, to make the pleats very crisp. They'll be easier to manage if you do.
9. I used little bulldog clips to hold the pleats in place across the top until they were all done and I was ready to sew them in place.
Then I ran a straight stitch across the top of the valance, making sure that each pleat was laying down flat and smooth before stitching across it.
My fabric was very light, but if you are using a heavier weight fabric I would run a second seam beneath the first to help the valance hold its shape.
10. Next I cut seven 4" sections of bias tape for the loops that would attach the valance to the curtain rod.
I folded them in half and attached them at even intervals along the back of the valance. I sewed them on by hand so that the thread would not show through on the front. By the way, isn't the engagement ring my lover got for me beautiful? I love it. :-)
11. You're all set! Slide the loops onto the curtain rod, and hang in place! Enjoy your custom, frugal valance that you made all by your onesome!
Linked to DIY Day over at A Soft Place to Land. :-)
These are our adventures as we turn an early 20th century foursquare into a home. We affectionately dubbed the house Wendhurst Castle when we first laid eyes on it, and the name has stuck. I'll be posting as I learn the best cleaning methods, work on my photography, and my husband and I renovate this seriously dated but oh-so-lovely home!