Sunday, July 24, 2011

What was the Chance I could make a Valance?

Very slim. But against all odds I have managed to sew not one, but two valances for our kitchen windows. Holy moly what a process. But before we get to all that, here's a little sneak peek for ya.

My friend Amber recently sewed some valances for her own kitchen windows and I just loved them with their little pleats on each side. My kitchen windows definitely needed some accessorizing so Amber let me borrow her pattern and we went together and picked out some fun fabric at Joann's. Originally, I was looking for something with green in it but I could not find a pattern I really liked (well, I did find one but the price was wayyy over budget) but in the end I am glad I chose the black pattern because it gives me a wider range of paint colors. Our house is currently up for sale but if we don't sell soon I am painting this kitchen! It's been the same builder color for nearly five years and I  am sooo over it. But I digress.

This is the pattern I actual pattern is Option C, the one with the little blue bird. I did not add the bird applique, just used the pattern for the actual valance. Notice the little "Easy" symbol there...definitely not the case for embarrassing.

One confusing thing about the pattern was how much fabric I actually needed for two windows. I ended up buying five yards and it was definitely too much. I think I used about three yards. More fun sewing projects to come with the leftovers. 

Here is the lovely fabric all laid out and ready to cut. Yes, I did my measuring on the carpeted floor. It was more comfortable for me.

This is the center pattern that is the biggest piece of the valance. You use your your window width and match it to the appropriate mark on the pattern which will determine where to cut. I should also note that this is with the fabric folded. Once cut, the fabric piece is twice the size of the paper pattern. And for some reason my center fabric ended up being a little too long. Geez, there's no telling where I went wrong. Just a small glitch though, no biggie. 

One of my helpers got bored with my slow pace and decided to take a break.

After Too left me to sunbathe, I measured with a straight edge and drew a cut line with my little white pencil. I meant to pick up a yard stick and forgot it so the little ruler came into play instead.

For each window, I had a total of five pieces of fabric to cut. One center, two sides and two insets which form the pleats. 

I cut the sides and insets just like the center (with the fabric folded) and then simply cut them in half.

Here is one valance with all five pieces all cut out.

And this is what my directions gave me...

I tried many a ways to get this thing pinned correctly but it just wasn't happening. I called on Amber for assistance over the phone but it still wasn't clickin' for me. THANKFULLY she was leaving work and coming close by my house so she stopped by to save help me. Oh man, what would I have done without her? My poor valances would probably be trashed because I know I would have t.o.t.a.l.l.y messed them up.

Here's the back pinned up.

And the front. Please note this is exactly what it should look like when sewn. But sadly, one of mine does not. The pleats are formed when you pull the inset fabric to the center from the left and right side.

This is the first valance I sewed, not even realizing when I took the picture that the seams should not be showing at this point. I sewed the pinned part to the actual valance (thus, the visible seams) and I should have sewed the small part pinned together. Confused yet? Oh and how about I did not notice any of this until this first one was up and hanging and I was working on the second valance. Live and learn...

Yeah, here's a picture of what NOT to do. Here I am thinking I am photographing the correct way but you can see I am stitching it straight to the valance instead of just the inch-and-a-half-or-so piece pinned together.

It's not the end of the world. You really can't see the stitches unless you look closely...but I'm still a little miffed about it.

I sewed all five pieces together and then worked on hemming.

I didn't line my fabric so I simply hemmed the bottom and sides all around and then made a rod pocket at the top, being careful to make sure I allowed enough room for the rod itself. I did have another glitch on the second valance. One of the pleats was sewn incorrectly causing my rod pocket to not work properly once the pleats were folded over. Anyone surprised? Yeah, I didn't think so. I rigged it up in the back which no one can see so it's all good. 

I bought two of the cheap-o rods at Target for $3.69 each. Had my window width been about 6 inches shorter I could have gotten the even cheaper ones at $1.89 each. But hey, it's still a good deal!

Here's a view of the rod pocket being pinned. I pinned and then stuck the rod in a bit to make sure I had enough room. 

So after several days of cutting, stitching, seam ripping and hair pulling, they are complete! Are they perfect? Well gosh no, but I am still proud of these little lovelies and they definitely make the kitchen look better so they are okay in my book :) 

Here are a few Before shots.

And After!

The one on the left is the one with the visible pleat seams. It kind of makes the pleats stick out a little bit but I'm going to try and find a solution for it - cause I ain't re-doing it!

This one has the correctly sewn pleats and they lay more flat.

Wow, so they are done. I can't believe it! It was a great learning experience and I'm excited to try some more new things soon and hopefully build up my sewing knowledge...I definitely need it :)

Partying here this week!

Keeping It Simple
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
The Shabby Nest

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  1. Your valances look so lovely and add so much to the room. My cat always like to sit on the fabric I have spread out on the carpet too. I guess they just have to make everything theirs. Newest follower.

  2. Very pretty; love your cat, lol!


  3. you and your helper did an awesome job! The valances add a lot to your pretty dining nook. Very very nice :)

  4. Kudos to you Laura for sticking with it! Personally I hate patterns; I always seem to do much better "freeing" it. Mainly by cutting and pinning to get what I want. You could probably hand tack the pleats down {just a couple of stitches by hand}. They are cute and I love the fabric!

    Visiting from Met Monday!

  5. Thanks everyone for your sweet comments! Ha, my nose little cat is always involved with my projects, one way or another.

    Kathy, I think that is what I'm going to try. Hopefully it will work just fine!

  6. adorable! they are perfect for your kitchen. i need some for a bathroom in my next house...yep planning way ahead! lol great job. thanks for partying with me!

  7. looks great. and you should be so proud of them. no easy is easy enough for me when it comes to measuring or sewing. i made valances once-out of table runners and just clipping them to the rod. that's how i do things, lol. love that sweet kitty peeking out the window-we do the same for my cat, pick up the blinds so she can see outside.

  8. I love the damask fabric. It is probably my favorite pattern. What a beautiful job. These are too cute. I'd love for you link up at my Friday Link up on