Friday, August 14, 2009

First tutorial: Simple and Easy Valance

Welcome to my first tutorial! I didn't really plan to make a tutorial today...just making a valance for my daughter's window, and decided to document the process.

1. Measure your window width and how long you want the valance to be. Be sure to include in your length the amount needed for a ruffle at the top and for the rod. My window is about 30" and I wanted a 14" long valance (includes 2" for top ruffle and 3 1/2" for the pocket.)

2. Multiply each of these numbers by 2 and add a seam allowance. 30 x 2 = 60, and 14 x 2 = 28, add 2" to each of those numbers so you can have a 1/2" seam allowance on each of the rectangle's 4 sides, so I will cut my fabric to measure 62" x 30". (Note: doubling the window width gives you a moderately bunchy appearance. If you like super-bunchy, triple it.)

3. Cut your fabric. It just so happened that the twin sheet I chose to use is 64" across, so I just went with that. It was already hemmed! Incidentally, sheets are a great way to get a lot of fabric for a little money.

4. Turn the edges for hemming. I don't like to pin or measure unless I have to, so I went with the "eyeball it and iron" method.

5. Sew the edges. Because I am lazy and went with the sheet, I only had one hem. Score!

6. Fold in half long sides together, and pin. Iron. You may discover your valance is not perfect and that the edges don't match together (especially true when using a pre-hemmed sheet.) It doesn't matter, no one will notice when it is on the window.

7. Measure down from the top the amount you want the ruffle to be. I want 2". Mark with water-soluble pen, or pins, or use the ruler as you go, however you want to do it. I used the highly scientific method of lining my presser foot up with the edge of this row of dots. Now sew with confidence.

8. Now it's time to make the rod pocket. I have one of those flat rods, so my rod pocket will be 3 1/2". If you aren't sure about this measurement, it's better to go a little bigger than smaller. You want the pocket snug, but not miserably tight. Measure down from your last seam and mark as desired. Once again I just eyeballed it with the presser foot.

9. Ta da! You have made a valance. Now put it on the rod and stand back to admire your work. If you want it really poofy, you can add some tissue paper in the pocket made by the fold. At this point you could sew the sides shut if you like, but why bother when it looks so finished already?
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