Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Retro Themed Valance - A Tutorial

Before I begin another quilt, I thought it would be best to go ahead and make curtains for my sewing room.  Selecting fabric was a bit of a challenge for me because I had a few things to consider.  I had to consider color scheme, theme and style.  The colors of my sewing room are orange, aqua, beige, black and brown, although in a previous post, colors were described by the paints we had purchased.  Anyway,  the theme obviously is sewing, but also there is a retro feel to the furniture, so "retro" is the style.

After searching three different fabric stores, I found two fabrics that would work.  The orange fabric is called Stacked Pincushions from Olika Licensing Inc. for Springs Creative Products LLC 2011 and the light blue with aqua and chartreuse paisley is called Spring Fling.

I made curtains for two windows and here they are:

My curtains are self-lined and are fairly simple to make.  If you have a room with a retro vibe and wish to incorporate complementary window treatments, I've included a list of supplies and instructions on how to make them.  Keep in mind the listed fabric amounts are based on the size of my two windows, so fabrics requirements could be more or less.


 - 3 different fabrics of your choice (2 different prints or one print and one solid, plus a neutral toned lining all 100% cotton)

    3/4 yd - Fabric 1  - orange sewing themed fabric in my case
    1 1/2 yd - Fabric 2- aqua and chartreuse paisley in my case
    1 1/2 yds - Fabric 3 - off-white lining in my case

-  Thread(s) - matching

-  Pom-pom trim - aqua and brown in my case (measure the inside width of window and add 1/3 to 1/2
   additional total width measurement to allow for gathers).

 - Cutting mat
 - 24" clear ruler
 -  Rotary cutter
 -  small scissors
 -  Measuring tape

 -  Iron/Ironing Board
 -  Sewing Machine
 -  tension rod appropriate size for your window


Decide which fabric will be your accent and which will be your base.  Cut accent (orange) fabric 1 1/2" x desired length + 2" (top casing) + 1/2" (1/4" seam allowance).  Then cut base (blue) 4 1/2" x desired length +  2" (top casing) + 1/2" (1/4" seam allowance). 

Next piece (sew) accents and base pieces together alternately - right sides together.  The number of pieces of each will be determined according to the width of your window.  (Example:  total accent pieces are always one less than the total base pieces, and in my case I had 8 accents and 9 base pieces for one of my windows - see picture number 2 above.)

After all pieces are sewn together, press seams flat to darkest side. 

Next, measure length and width of pieced and pressed fabric.  Cut out neutral cotton lining fabric according to these measurements.   Place lining on right side of pieced fabric (right sides together) and sew 1/4" seam around perimeter of fabric, except for top side (where casing will be made) - LEAVE OPEN.

Next, clip corners at a diagonal being careful to not clip stitches while doing so. Then turn inside out, pushing out corners and press edges for smoothness.

Next,  baste top front and lining back together a 1/4" from top edge, then fold top edge toward lining back using the basting stitches as a guide.  Press.  


Next,  fold down again 1 1/2 - 2" (depending on the size of your rod) and stitch in place close to lower edge. - this will be your casing.

 Next, turn over curtain panel so that right side is facing up and pin pom-pom trim at bottom, then zig-zag stitch to sew on trim, using matching color thread.

You are finished and ready to insert the tension rod and hang your valance on your window!   You now have a retro-style valance!  For those who want to make your own curtains but prefer a different style, you can change the style by making different fabric, color, and trim choices to suit your decor, whether it is modern, traditional, or country . . . .

My new valances are the perfect blend of the 60's and today!  They're also perfect for my sewing room.  I hope you will try making them.  They were a lot of fun to make and if you have questions or suggestions, feel free to post a message.   I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ready for Action!

As I promised, I'm sharing the last group of pictures of my room.  The sewing and serger machines are set up and ready to go and so am I.

Here's the office section already filled to the brim.

The sewing machine is front and center, along with the serger and iron/ironing board to the left and back.

Shown below - to the right of the cutting table are books, fabrics, threads, and my completed quilts.

Again, here's the sitting area -  dolls are sitting in my chairs waiting to greet.

I found this glass jar lamp and filled it with old spools of thread.

I've got my TV, coffee maker, and snacks set up in anticipation of many hours of sewing--for my sewing students as well as me.

Over the last couple of days, I came across this handcrafted pine table that I thought would work great for crafts as well as for students to sew on--so there has already been a change.  (LOL)

We're back at the entrance.

All that is left is to put away a few stray boxes.  Tomorrow I will actually be back to sewing!  While it has been an adventure, I'm ready to put this room to good use.  I have window treatments to make and a quilt to make for a client, which is due by the end of September.   Thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's Done!

Today the carpet was installed, which marks the completion of the attic renovation--now my sewing studio.  While this was fantastic in itself, what was more delightful was that my husband surprised me by taking off work to spend the day with me.  He moved in furniture and helped move in some of my sewing supplies and equipment.  We also hung pictures and my "welcome" quilt and a quilt rack.  We had lots of fun even though we worked the entire day.  And some time in the midst of all of this, I told him that while I love the sewing studio, spending time together like this was really, really nice.  Yes, we have become one of those couples that gets caught up in taking care of the day-to-day obligations or whatever life sends your way and before you know it, it's time to go to bed.  Taking the time out for each other seems far too seldom anymore, even though we do see each other every day and do things as a couple on occasion.  Putting family and external demands aside to spend quality time allows feelings of mutual appreciation; I know it did for us today.

I am so thankful for the loving, supportive, and talented man that is my husband and the father of my children.  Thank you for the selfless hours you put into making my sewing studio a reality.  I only hope my sewing will produce gifts that demonstrate at least a fraction of the love you have, then I will consider myself  a successful sewer/quilter.

I have many things yet to move in, including my sewing machine and serger, but I just can't wait any longer--here is my sewing studio!

 As you walk in - to the left is my decoupaged dresser, cutting table, and quilt rack.

Here's a close-up of the dresser - I still need to put knobs back on but I've already started filling it with my fabric stash.

We've placed his & her recliners in the northwest corner so hubby can join me and watch TV while I do hand sewing.

I have shelving in the northeast corner which stores my coffee maker and eventually snacks to offer my sewing students.  I still have to hang a chalkboard on the bare wall just to the left.

My storage cabinet and decorative dress forms are to the right and the table is to be for a sewing student, and another picture still needs to be hung.

The nook on the south wall will be used as an office and will also house more sewing and some scrapbook supplies.

My track lighting - a view of the main ceiling running south to north.  I'm standing on the south end taking this picture.  Track lighting is also above my cutting table (shown above).

When I have my sewing machine, serger, remaining fabric, and notions in place, I will post the last and final pictures.  My husband did a great job - don't you agree?

I'm now running on low fumes so I am going for now but I am looking forward to sharing more.  Good night and happy sewing!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sewing Room Wall Quilt

My little wall hanging is now ready for the entrance of my sewing/craft room!  I finished sewing on the binding last night.  I am looking forward to sharing many good times with family, friends, and students of sewing, quilting, and crafts.  I am ready to welcome all who wish to join me.

Come on carpet installers, my little quilt and I are ready to move in and get started. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Attic to Studio Renovation Stages

The renovation is one week from completion and the following are pictures from the beginning to the most current, completed phase.

After framing ("rough-in"), windows were installed -

The top picture is the north wall window and bottom picture is the
 west wall window.

Next the roof ventilation system was installed -

Next wiring was done -

Next, the insulation was installed, but then my husband discovered that nothing was level so a great deal of shimming had to be done before applying dry wall so that walls would be uniform and smooth--not wavy.

See the shimming above.


Next dry wall was installed - 

The next step was preparation for the heating and air conditioning unit -

Next was taping, mudding, sanding, and priming the dry wall - 

We're so close!

The walls and trim have been painted and most of the trim have been applied and the carpet is about to be delivered.  The next update will be the completed room with painted walls, trim, light fixtures, heating and air, and carpet.

I'm so excited and can't wait for you to see it!  The next update will be in a little over a week.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Waiting with Great Anticipation . . .

Well it seems it has been a long time since I've last posted.  As you know, my husband and I have been doing a lot of work since July 4th.  The attic is almost complete with about two weeks to go.  We are now working on trim and then next it will be the carpet and then the heating & cooling unit installation (wiring for it has already been done), and then the "MOVE IN" of all my sewing accoutrements.  While my husband, Ray, has done the entire job essentially--along with my helping here and there--I've also been working on a mini wall quilt to display upon entering my studio. I wanted it to be a simple welcome so here's the pieced top:

I wanted to display something other than the traditional image of a sewing machine, although I was very tempted because what good are we in this day and time without one?  "I have the need for speed!" so my sewing machine is quite essential.

Anyway, I can't wait for you to see everything once it's done!  To give you some idea as to where I'm going with this, the color scheme will be Cozy Cottage (a beige tone) for the walls; Sea Salt (off white) for the ceiling and trim; Bonfire (orange) and Marina Isle (dusty aqua) for accents such as storage pieces and tables.  There will also be a little black for hardware and metal pieces, although this will be minimal.  Don't you get a kick out of the names given for paint colors?

The fabric in the forefront is what I've chosen for the stools I'm covering.  This piece was my color inspiration for the studio.  The fabric behind it picks up the deeper orange tones and aquas and has a sewing theme so I will be putting it to good use but I haven't decided exactly where at this point.

I've also been hunting for items at thrift stores and found this dresser; I've just painted it the Marina Isle color and want to decoupage the top with black and beige paper - wish me luck!  This should make for great fabric and supply storage.  Got this for $26!

I also found wall shelving that I still need to paint.  Got it for $6!


I know I've promised pictures of the actual attic renovation process and they will be coming.  They are just on my husband's camera and I will need to locate his USB cord to send them to my computer.  This will be something to look forward to in the next day or so.  Until then, enjoy whatever project you are working on - I'd love to see them as well.