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Easy to sew valance directions

posted by: my3dogs on 07.17.2008 at 08:01 pm in Home Decorating Forum

Hi everyone!

Here are the directions for the valances that you saw in the post linked below. They ARE EASY - but the directions are long, because I am trying to give you enough detail, even if you are a beginner. Read them all the way through so you understand them, and ask any questions you may have. If you are a real novice, you may want to make a sample using just muslin, or other inexpensive fabric, til you get the hang of it.

This is a no-pattern valance that I started making last summer. It requires just straight stitching. My windows are generally about 50" (more or less)in height. If your windows are very short or very tall, you may want to vary the length of the fabric you use. I would say to err on the 'buy more' side though, so they don't look skimpy. The fullness adds richness.

I generally use 1 1/4 yards of 54" wide home dec fabric to make the valance. You will need an equal amount of lining fabric. If you choose to put trim on the bottom (it adds a lot to the treatment, IMO) buy 1 1/2 yards of trim to make sure you have enough to go across the length of your 54" wide fabric. If your fabric is wider than 54", buy enough trim to cover its width.

Cut your valance fabric and lining to equal lengths. I always measure the side edges of my fabric and mark the length before cutting. It may have not been cut straight at the store, and you want to be sure that your left side is the same length as your right side.

Pin the two rectangles of fabric together on all sides, with the RIGHT (front) sides of the fabrics inside, facing each other. Before putting the fabrics together, I mark lightly on the back which is the TOP of the print (if using a print) and which is the bottom, so your print will end up right side up!

Depending on the type of rod you plan to use for the valance, you need to leave openings on each side that will become your rod pocket. Continental rods (the flat wide plain ones) need a 4" rod pocket. If you use a decorative rod, with finals on the end that screw off, I would recommend making your rod pocket 2" wide. For a small tension rod, I'd make the rod pocket 1.5" wide. You don't want to force your fabric onto the rod - allow room to make it easy for you.

Measure down from the TOP of your pinned together fabric, and make a light mark with pencil on each side, the size of your chosen rod pocket, plus 1/2". That 1/2" is going to be the width of your top seam. You'll be making a mark on the left and right sides 4 1/2" down from the top if you use a Continental rod, for example. Stitch from these marks down each side to the bottom, using a 1/2" seam.

You'll need to leave an opening in the top or bottom to turn your valance inside out when you're done stitching.

I'd suggest a 4" - 6" opening for turning. If your rod pocket openings are 4", you don't need to leave another opening, you can use them to turn it inside out.

Mark the opening you need to leave, then stitch across the top and bottom edges, using a 1/2" seam, leaving your opening...well...OPEN!

Clip your fabric corners off OUTSIDE of your stitching. This is just a small triangle of fabric from each corner. This will allow you to get nice sharp edges on your corners when your turn the valance right side out, as it reduces the bulk of fabric there.

Turn your valance right side out, pulling it through the opening you left. I use a wooden chop stick to push the fabric gently at the corners to make them nice and square, once I have turned mine right side out. Don't push too hard, or you may poke a hole through your valance! At this point, you should have a lined rectangle of fabric, with rod pocket openings near the top of each side.

Close the opening you left for turning, either by folding and pressing the edges in and hand stitching it closed, or use 'stitch witchery' type of fusing tape to do it. You can also sew it closed with your sewing machine, but you want to do it right at the edge. You want to make this closure as 'invisible' as possible, so I always use fusible tape.

Carefully iron your valance. Use your fingers to work the edges, so that you have your seam right in the middle of each edge, so you don't see the front fabric on the backside, and you don't see the lining from the front.

Now, to stitch the rod pocket. You will be making one row of stitching across the front of your fabric from side to side.
Measure down from the top edge, so you have the same length opening on each side. The size of the opening you left on each side was determined above by the type of rod you're using.

You can lightly pencil on the line that you need to stitch across, or do what I do - Place the fabric on the sewing machine, and put the needle down on the place where you'll start stitching. Take a 4" (approx) length of masking tape, and lay it against the upper edge of the fabric, to the right of the needle, and stick it to the sewing machine base. You can use this tape edge as a guide to hold the top edge of your fabric against as you stitch across. It helps you make a straight, even rod pocket. My sewing machine has tape on it for all different widths of rod pockets!

If you chose to put trim on the bottom of your valance, do it now. I use 'Aleen's OK To Wash-It' fabric glue that you can get at WalMart or a fabric store. If you use glue, just follow the directions on the bottle to glue your trim evenly to the front bottom of your valance. I lay my valance on my kitchen island, and let it set overnight, while the glue dries. You can also stitch your trim on, either by hand or by machine. I prefer the glue, because you see no stitching on the back side. (I'm anal.)

Now to make the ties. You can simply buy ribbon (such as grosgrain) or use purchased cord (see my dining room silk ones in the link) or make them out of fabric. Use either the same fabric or a coordinating one.

Here, you first need to decide if you are going to tie your valance up with bows, or do knots. Bows take longer ties.

Allow yourself a MINIMUM of 36" long ties. You can always cut them shorter if necessary, but you can't make them longer. I suggest hanging your valance up and using string to tie them up temporarily to see how long you need to make your ties. (It's longer than you think!)

Cut your strips of fabric approx 4" wide and the length you have decided on above for your ties. Fold and pin the strips in half the the short way, so you have a long strip of fabric that is 2" wide. Make sure the right sides are together, (inside) because you are going to turn them inside out after stitching.

Stitch along the pinned edge of each strip, about 1/4" from the edge. Now the fun part - turn those narrow strips inside out. My chop stick comes in handy for this, but use whatever method you choose to accomplish this.

Press the ties just as you did the valance rectangle, making sure your seam is even on the edge. I fold in the raw ends and use my fusible tape to close them, but you can machine stitch them closed or do it by hand - Your choice. Your valance is done!

Put it on your rod, using the rod pocket. Hang it in your window. Now, take the ties, and simply drape them over the rod on each side, having half of the tie fabric strip hanging in front, and the other half of the tie hanging behind the valance.

Now, gather up one side of the valance in your hands, and reach behind it it grab the dangling tie in back. Tie up the valance, by tying the front and back pieces of the tie together, either in a knot or a bow. Do the same with the other side, making sure your ties on each side are tied up at the same length.

Now stand back and make sure your valance looks even at the bottom on each side. Use your hand to 'finger fold' and drape your fabric until the look is what you want.

You'll be surprised at what a difference it can make in the look by spacing your ties closer together, or moving them further apart on the rod. Also by tying the ties higher or lower...

This is where you need to play around until you get the look you want. On the HGTV message board, a woman made these and kept posting pics asking for advice - Higher? Lower? Move the ties apart or closer...It's really all up to you. Hers looked GREAT when she was done, and she was so pleased to have made her own custom valance. I hope you all feel the same way, if you try them!

Here is a link that might be useful: several shown here - all the same instructions


clipped on: 07.17.2008 at 09:57 pm    last updated on: 07.17.2008 at 09:58 pm

RE: Stage this room, please (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: igloochic on 06.03.2008 at 08:13 am in Home Decorating Forum

i've staged many homes for sale and always had great heres what i'd do if it were my project.

first, everything has to go....everything! the bookshelf is a huge no no (clutter) it must go.

i'd personally put in a crib or twin bed (it does not matter that you don;t have a baby dear...this isn't for you). whatever you buy, paint it white. blue and white as a combo are fresh and appeal to everyone. several cans of spray paint work wonders on anything!

also pick up a small dresser and table with open legs for a night stand, paint white.

put a small glass/acrylic or crystal lamp on the nightstand and three old books (encyclopedias are great) in a stack on the night stand tied with a pretty white rippon around them. next to this put an empty clear glass....nice old crystal works best and you only need one. these three things are the only items on the nightstand. the empty glass indicates the room is used, and should be clean and pretty.

on the dresser change the knobs to clear glass. on top, another stack of books and a couple of framed (silver color frames) pics if your ancestors from the early 30's or earlier. you can buy ancestors very cheaply at an antique store (couple bucks each) and spraypaint simple frames. three different sized (but not large) picks, the book stack, and a small airy fern in a white pot.

white panels hung to the ceiling on the windows, pulled bamk to the edge of the frame and going right next to the wall on the one side, evenly spaced to that on the other. SIMPLE PANELS!!! silver rod.

a small fluffy white bathmat or sheepskin rub by the bed.

blue, white, silver and crystal will sell the place...or at least that room.

no artificial plants and no flowery or lacy stuff. keep it gender neutral and crisp and clean.

i would highly advise switching from clay litter to the plastic looking stuff. it has no odor. don't keep it for a month as it says....change completely every two weeks per box. hide the boxes well for showings....NOT in a closet!


clipped on: 06.04.2008 at 05:08 pm    last updated on: 06.04.2008 at 05:09 pm

RE: Gorgeous windows, but no privacy- Pics (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: judithva on 05.20.2008 at 01:47 pm in Home Decorating Forum

These are some photos I took at a home show last year, they will hopefully give you some ideas about your window situation.








clipped on: 05.21.2008 at 07:44 am    last updated on: 05.21.2008 at 07:45 am

RE: Holigator, How did you do the mock up of .. (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: holligator on 03.15.2008 at 08:17 pm in Kitchens Forum

You really ought to try it. It's super versatile, and it's not hard at all. None of those drawings above took more than about 5 minutes to do. It just takes a bit of getting used to. If you have MS Word, go to the "View" menu and, under "Toolbars" select "Drawing" and just play with the features. Once I discovered this feature, I started using it for everything.


clipped on: 03.15.2008 at 11:12 pm    last updated on: 03.15.2008 at 11:12 pm

RE: Holigator, How did you do the mock up of .. (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: holligator on 03.15.2008 at 05:49 pm in Kitchens Forum

You'll laugh, because it was sooooo easy. I used Microsoft Word and my computer's screenshot program. I took a screenshot of the kitchen and then another of each of the tiles. I inserted the kitchen pic into a Word document and then one of the tile pics. I formatted the tile pic to go "in front of text" so I could place it on top of the kitchen pic and then copied and pasted more of the same until it filled the space. I used the drawing functions to "Arrange" the individual pieces if one needed to "Move forward" or "Move backward" until I had what I wanted. On some of them, I had to "Rotate" the tile pic to align it properly. Finally, I took another screenshot of the pic with the kitchen and tile combined and saved it as a jpg.

If I wasn't simply superimposing a square multiple times onto another pic, I would have used Photoshop. But, under the circumstances, this was easier and faster (about 90 seconds per mock-up).

I hope this makes sense.


clipped on: 03.15.2008 at 11:11 pm    last updated on: 03.15.2008 at 11:11 pm

RE: polly 929 -- about your soapstone experience (Follow-Up #17)

posted by: vwhippiechick on 02.09.2008 at 03:14 pm in Kitchens Forum

Cleo - You mentioned epoxy for deep gouges. When we installed our soapstone there were two small chips out of the edge of one of the pieces. The small chips were on the piece to the right of the seam. You can just barely see them at the back edge and on the front edge where it roles over. Here are a couple of pics. We filled them with epoxy when we seamed the joint. Before we oiled you can see them but after oiling then are not even visible.



clipped on: 02.09.2008 at 03:55 pm    last updated on: 02.09.2008 at 03:55 pm

RE: IPE Deck (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: johnplace on 08.15.2005 at 09:54 am in Porches & Decks Forum

IPE is a South American hardwood. It also goes by the trade names of Pau Lope, Diamond Decking, and some others.

If you do a search for the words "Ipe" and "Decks" on Google, you'll find lots of information.

This wood is not perfect, but as far as natural products go, it's about as good as it gets. Many consider it to be the finest decking material available. Here are some pros and cons so you can make your own decision:

1) Highly resistant to decay and insect damage. Will last 25-40 years, even if you never seal it.
2) A beautiful, smooth hardwood. Applying a finish is easy because the wood is so smooth.
3) Class-A fire resistance rating (same as concrete).
4) Resistant to cracking and splintering (It may check or crack a little, but nothing like cedar).
5) It's real wood, so you can always sand it if you need to for any reason
6) Mildew is not the problem that it can be with composites
7) It's very hard (It does not scratch like soft woods or composites).
8) Very strong, does not bend or flex easily.

1) More expensive than Cedar or Composite
2) Requires special tools and experience to work with it.
3) Highly resistant to finishes -- because of its dense cell structure and its natural oils, most finishes last a year or less. Some exceptions may exist. I'm testing TWP now.


clipped on: 01.21.2008 at 08:49 am    last updated on: 01.21.2008 at 08:49 am

RE: Banquette anyone? (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: igloochic on 05.08.2007 at 05:35 pm in Kitchens Forum

Mine (in a bay window) will be 19 inches deep and the boxes (cabinets) will be 16.5 inches high. This gives me room for a 2" cushioned seat under our kitchen table (an antique that I didn't want to let go of). The size was determined after weeks and weeks of trial and error, and ended up being the same as the chairs that we have around the table heh heh

You want to tape out the area you're thinking of making a banquette if you can so you can see how the table really sits in there, and then "make" some seats using boxes, or whatever you can figure out using the dimensions that make sense (mine are pretty standard). Then you can see if there is room to slide in and out easily.

We have an open U that is a little longer on one side. The left cabinet opens up towards the room, then there is a door that hides a V shaped area (because of the bay window) and then another drawer that opens towards the table bottom (long term storage obviously, but our table rolls out so that's not a huge issue). Then another door hiding a V and then a large drawer opening towards the table...then finally an odd shaped drawer that faces the room which is 19" deep on one side and 24 on the other (so it's at an angle) which transitions into the cabinets on that wall. It gives you a nice slide in area.

The seat will be 20" deep (from wall to front lip) with a 3" back leaning (3" at the bottom and 1" at the top). The amount of extra storage it adds is AMAZING and in our townhome, that's very valuable. It also allows for guests to sit while we're cooking and chat but be out of the way (we entertain a lot so every function was considered with guests in mind). The seats overhang to keep down on the kicking of little feet on the doors, but I am building them out of hard wood just to be safe. They also allow you to slide in without catching a handle on the back of your leg if you're a grownup :)

My pads will be made by myself (I'm a huge sewer) out of a rediculously expensive fabric that looks like leather, but sews like a simple thick cotton. ($65 per yard) I was doing silk in the banquette, but then the baby was born and I realized silk and babies don't mix as well as you'd like :)

This fabric can be wiped down and while I know you're thinking it's "pleather" it's really not. It feels like very expensive italian leather, soft and luxurious, but is easy to work with and keep nice. I'll add some fancy cushions in silk and other tapestries to keep the seat interesing looking.

We look out onto a lake (which just thawed yesterday yeaaaa!!!) so draperies will be minimal.


clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 04:01 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 04:01 pm