My girlfriend could not find window valances to go with her new decor. They just went through quite a devastating experience. While stationed in China the pipe to the kitchen sink froze and broke and for 2 months water had been running inside the home causing complete overhaul of all their drywall, trim doors, flooring and appliances. I only tell you this story because it is trials like this that makes me grateful that God is always with us. So to help in the endeavor I went over to give her a hand. I believe these times call for earth angels! New valances was one her list; she wanted a simple straight valance with a little gather in them.
To begin, we measured her existing curtain brackets 93 inches across the front bracket and the wall brackets are 6 inches which gives us a total of 105 inches. These particular brackets are just less than 3 inches wide, not the typical skinny curtain bracket so we will need a 3 inch pocket to hang them with.
If you want a nice gather you take this length and times it by 1.5 for the total length of material required to go across the window. If you want it to be more of a ruffled look take this length and times the total length by 2.
Example: 105 in x 1.5 = 157.5 + 2inches for your seams I round it up to 160 in
Now decide how long you want it to hang. We wanted the valance to hang 12 inches below the curtain rod plus one inch for the hem. We also have our 3 inch pocket and she wanted 2 inches of material above the curtain rod so that gives us 5 inches which I doubled for the back side and the front side of the valance then I added 1 inch for the top seam. Total of 25 inches for the length of material we will need. (KEEP IN MIND! When you purchase your material and you are working with a pattern you will need to purchase extra material in order to line your pattern up so it looks seamless. They should be able to assist you with this at the cutting counter.)
The material we purchased was 57 inches wide. If we divide that into 160 inches we will need 3 pieces 53 inches long by 25 inches wide that we will seam together to make one panel. Depending on the width of your material you will need to do the math. I find that the girls at the cutting counter are truly a blessing when coming to figure out the entire math. Utilize their services and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Begin sewing your panels together putting the nice side facing each other and sewing a straight stitch down your fabric as seen below. I have my needle located to the left and my raw edge on the right using the guide lines on my sewing machine I am able to make sure that I keep my stitch nice and straight.
You want your seam to be 1-1/2 inch depth from the outer edge of your fabric. This will give you room to roll your fabric over for the next step.
Tip: if you have a Surger you can surge your outer edges of your panels prior to stitching them together.
Since my surger is down I chose to roll my material over so that no raw edges are showing. This looks nicer plus helps ensure the longevity of the curtains, especially putting them through the wash.
So roll your material under and make two more straight stitches. It should look like the picture below. Keep in mind your needle location. It helps quite a bit when you are working one or another of you material
When you are finished your material should look like this.
Once you have all your panels put together and your seams enclosed you will now need to put in your hem. I use an iron to press in a hem and the top of my valance in to help guide me when I am sewing. It just makes it so much easier and more accurate to sew having everything already pre measured prior to sewing. Take it from me it saves a lot of ripping and tearing out seams. LOL
For your hem you will turn your material under twice (total of 1-1/2 inches of material) for the bottom of your curtain then go ahead and press your top edge 1 inch toward the back side of your valance. Now fold the pressed edge 5 inches from the top- again to the back of your material to make your 3 inch pocket plus your 2 inch header of your valance. The picture below shows me measuring out my five inches and I have the raw seam flipped out just for show and tell. Hopefully this clarifies what I am explaining.
Now we go to work putting in all of our straight stitch seams in. Lay you material on you machine with the back side showing and sew in you hem. Now you are ready to sew in the header of your valance. We stitch the edge of the material in first. Hopefully the picture below will show you exactly how it should look. (Helpful tip: Make sure you have your needle positioned to the left again.)
Next we are going to make the 3 inch pocket.
Here is another fancy tip for the trade. Since my material is overlapping my guidelines of my machine, I measured 3 inches from the stitch I just put in of my header to my needle. I lowered the foot on my machine to hold the material in place. Then I placed a piece of tape where the final edge of my material sits.
This should give us our 3 inch pocket and our two inch gather at the top by just putting in one last seam. Run your straight stitch keeping the edge of you fabric flush with the edge of your tape. Now our valance is ready for hanging!
We used the same measurement and sewing techniques for the matching valance in her kitchen window and her living room window.
I hope I was able to convey these instructions to you without too much confusion. Should you have any questions please feel free to direct them to [email protected]
I hope you enjoyed this article. Next I hope to be teaching you how to make a headboard for your bedroom. Stay tuned!