make your own curtain valance

5:02:00 PM

We've realized the need for a bit more privacy in our kitchen so I decided to make a valance for the mid-part of my kitchen window similar to the valances in this kitchen:

via: Country Living
note: I would totally not mind having a kitchen like this.

I put together a tutorial on how to make a valance, but there is a really nifty hemming technique that can be applied to all curtains and, in some cases, even clothes.

Step 1: Measure your window and buy a curtain rod (and fabric, if you don't have it already).

Step 2: Figure out the size of each valance.

For the width measurements:
  • Go to your window and figure out how tall you want your valance. Example- 10 inches
  • Now, you'll need to account for the top edge and bottom hem. Measure the tip of your curtain rod. Example: 2 1/2 inches. Add 1/2 inch to that. Example: 3 inches
  • Now decide on your hem depth. Example- 1 inch (pretty standard). Add 1/2 inch to that. Example: 1 1/2 inches
  • Add your height, top edge and hem measurements. Example: 14 1/2 inches. This is your new height measurement.

For the length measurements:
Now take the measurement of the width of your window. Example- 48 inches. Now decide what you want your valance to look like- Modern? Vintage? Over-the-top frilly? Okay. For a modern look, you'll want your valance to be straight and flat- no gathers. For a vintage look, you'll want a little gathering. For a frilly look, you'll want a lot of gathering. Here's the math:
  • Modern look: add 1 1/2 inches to total width. Example- 49 1/2 inches.
  • Vintage look: multiply total width by 1 1/2 to 2. Example- 72-96 inches. Advice: I'd stay closer to the 1 1/2 side of things unless you're using really light weight fabric.
  • Frilly look: multiply total width by 3 or 4. Example- 144-192 inches.
Okay, so now you have your measurements. Example: 14 1/2 x 72 inches.

*Note: if you want a two sided valance like the one pictured, divide the length measurement by 2. Example: 14 1/2 x 36 inches. Add another 1 1/2 (before you divide) if you are doing the modern look. (Example: 14 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches) 

Phew, that's enough math. Sorry.

Step 3: Cut rectangles from fabric and press lengthwise edges in 1/4 inch.

Step 4: Now press top and bottom edges. For the top, take curtain rod measurement and add 1/4 inch. Example- 2 3/4 inches. Divide by two. Example-1 3/8 inches. Press top down this measurement (1 3/8 inches). Press bottom hem up 1 inch.

This handy tool pictured is a seam gauge- perfect for this type of measuring.

Step 5: This is the nifty trick for hems. It makes for a very clean edge.
Fold fabric up backwards from what you just pressed, so you can see the 1/4 inch underturn. Pin along edge.

Stitch 3/4 inch from edge.

Trim corner.

Turn right side out and make the point pretty.

Step 6: Fold in side edges 3/8 inch and then another 3/8 inch. Sew in place along edge.

Step 7: Sew top edge in place along edge leaving an opening on each side for the rod to go through.

Now you're done! I would show you more than this but my kitchen is not fit for a design blog.

Just picture in your minds a dirty looking 1970's cheap kitchen. An ugly black swamp cooler in the window and walls that needed to be repainted 10 years ago. The window frames a lovely chain-link fence, dried up weeds and a creepy looking back of a house with a creepy new shed-like thing that may or may not be used for illegal purposes (note: I really don't know- just speculation.) Yes. This is my kitchen. And yes, there is an improvement. No dishes in the sink due a dishwasher (yay!).

But, aside from all of this, I must sheepishly admit that the main reason I'm not showing you a picture is because I did not follow step number 2.

P.S. I'm actually beginning to like the chartreuse stove and oven that also belong to my kitchen.

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  1. Fun tutorial! And I love the commentary on the kitchen! Hooray for a dishwasher. Don't you just love it?


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