Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Making Custom Valances- Easy as Pie- Part 1

I have been designing and making valances for years.  I have made them for my own home and for family members and friends.  Valances are pretty easy to make and are easy to customize to fit your windows and your decorating style. Because they use a relatively small amount of fabric, they are fairly inexpensive to make.  That means you can change them out whenever you feel like a quick update.  I love them because as a fabric lover, it gives me a chance to show off some beautiful decorator fabrics.   Here are some that I've made.....


These curtains, which are in my living room, are from Country Curtains.  My windows are very wide and there were no valances available that suited my style and fit my windows so I bought extra panels and made my own!
I didn't want them to look too frilly so I just did a bit of gathering at the ends and kept the center more smooth.

This valance in my sewing room has a piping accent.  I love piping on a tailored valance.


This kitchen valance is shaped with  just a few gathers at each end.


This is just a simple gathered valance.  I measured the width of the window and then added on 50% more for the fabric.  The window was 45" so I cut my fabric 68".  I added the pull up straps to make it more interesting.  Each strap has a small piece of velcro on the back so they can be removed easily and changed out if I want a different print.


I used grommets and a decorative rod in my bathroom.  If you have never tried grommets, don't be afraid!  The instructions in the grommet packages are excellent and they are so easy to apply.  To ensure a nice even look, be sure to measure and place the grommets evenly.  I always try to have an even number of grommets so that the ends of my valance turn in toward the window.

Here are some of my tried and true tips for valance making:
1.  Take the time to line your valances.  They will have more body and will hang better.  I have used        cottons as linings but I prefer drapery lining.  Drapery lining is inexpensive and comes in wide            widths.
2.  Size the length of your valance to fit your window size.  A longer window can accommodate a            longer valance.  My home is an older house with wide woodwork around the windows so I mount      my valances just below the top molding of the window.  If you have smaller windows and want to      make them look larger, mount your valances higher on the wall and just cover the top of the                window.
3.  Measure carefully for your rod pocket.  There is nothing worse than having an opening that is too          tight for the rod to go through. Ask me how I know this....
3.  If I am making a shaped valance, I like to draw out the shape on freezer paper first.  I generally cut      that shape from muslin and try it on the window to be sure that I like the size and shape before            cutting into my pricey fabric. (More on this topic in tomorrow's post).
4.  If you are using a rod that wraps around the corners, be sure the measure the depth of your rod and      include that when you are measuring your fabric.
5.  I usually just draw out a shape, figure the size, and go but I wasn't always so brave.  Here are some      patterns that were helpful to me when I was new to  valance sewing. (I have had these patterns for      many moons so they may or may not still be in print.)  McCall's -6299, 4853, 6581.

Tomorrow, in Part 2 of Making Custom Valances, we will look at how easy it is to make a shaped valance of our own design!  Hope you can stop by!



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