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.

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Please comment or ask questions, I would be happy exchange ideas and thoughts . . .