Monday, June 18, 2012

Easy Peasy Valance for Dummies

I don't mean to offend anyone with this title. This just perfectly describes my relationship with sewing and making pretty things quickly and easily. I get bored pretty quickly so it's best if I can make something nice very easily. It has also struck me that this is my first tutorial. Yay! I'm very excited, and I'm sure something will go wrong, but this is a good one to start with. Again, easy.

So our house has these ugly, old, dirty venetian blinds that we never use in certain windows, e.g. our kitchen window above the sink (a). They're the windows that we never cover because they let in awesome light during the day. I tried taking down those ugly venetian blinds and found that underneath them it was even uglier (b). So I had to come up with something to cover them up because there was NO WAY I was going to continue looking at those stupid, ugly venetian blinds just because it was uglier to remove them.

Easy Peasy Valance for Dummies

fabric cut to window (width inside trim + 2in) and (desired height + 4in)
coordinating sewing thread
1" x 2" batten (cut to finished width of window)
(2) 1-1/2" L brackets
staple gun
power drill
tape measure (not pictured)
1.) The first thing I did was cut my fabric to the appropriate size. I added 2 inches to the width and 4 inches to the height. I found it was helpful to label the top and bottom of my fabric so I didn't get confused later. Trust me, it happens.

2.) Stitch a zigzag stitch (or serge, if your machine does that) all the way around the piece to lock in the threads.

3.) Fold and pin both the left and right sides of your fabric in 1 inch on the wrong side. Sew a 3/4 inch seam allowance in a coordinating thread color.

4.) Fold and pin the bottom of your fabric in 1 inch on the wrong side. Sew a 3/4 inch seam allowance in a coordinating color.

And you're done sewing! Wasn't that easy? Now we're going to work on hanging and installing your valance.

5.) Cut your batten down to size. I like to make it about 1/4 inch shorter than the width of my finished valance just so it tucks inside the fabric nicely.

6.) Lay the batten down (with the 2 inch surface down) on a secure surface. Align your completed valance right side up on top of the upward-facing 2 inch surface of the batten (a). Ensure the edges are lined up evenly with the edges of your batten and the top edge of the valance is even with the top edge of the batten. Staple your valance to the batten (b).

7.) Fold your valance over the batten so you are looking at a finished valance with the staples in the back. Lay the valance assembly right side down and measure about 5 inches in from each side of the batten to screw in your L brackets for installation. I always make sure the top of the L brackets go above the batten just a bit so there's extra room for installing it to the inside of the window trim.

8.) Now all that's left to do is install your valance inside your window trim and make sure it's level and even. Or at least as level and even as you want it. :) Just a side note: you CANNOT see the wooden batten from the outside. I checked.

And you're done! Now you can (and should) admire your beautiful handiwork.

Here's another one I did in our breakfast nook. The sunlight's amazing in there, and we NEVER put the curtains (or the blinds previously) down. I also made roman shades out of this same fabric for the other 2 windows in the breakfast nook, but that's a whole different can of worms and a subject for a later date. Happy Crafting!

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