Tuesday, January 7, 2014


When I moved out of Philadelphia to western Pennsylvania, my first house project was curtains. I re-purposed some fabric that I had used as a canopy over my bed and fashioned some bathroom and living room curtains. I waited to do this until my mom came to visit because she is a curtain-genious.

We set up dueling sewing machines!

First we measured the windows and came up with a plan for the living room. Then my mom did math. This lacey fabric rules because it doesnt fray so there was no hemming involved apart from the top. We had limited fabric for these two windows so we had to be pretty exact. We decided on two long panels per window and then figured we could wing something as valences out of the remaining scraps.

Here we cut the 4 panels quickly by folding the fabric in half lengthwise and then cutting the fold. This made it easy to measure the appropriate length for the window height and visualize what we had left for the valences since the fabric was one long piece.

This is one panel. My mom is gesticulating about the hem at the top from where they hang. This hem was about 3 inches.

Each panel was slightly wider than the window, creating a generous gather. For the valences, we cut two squares in half diagonally as seen here. This allowed us to keep the direction of the fabric pattern on the valences consistent with the panels. The hems for the triangular valences were a bit different. Since the valence covers the panels, the panels have simple hems and will not be seen. For the valences we created some decoration at the top by folding over the hem and sewing a tight fitting, one inch space for the hanger to slide through about one inch from the top of the fold. The inch or so at the top created a bit of a ruffle.

Here are two panels hanging for one window. Then we hung two valence pieces for each window where the right angles of the triangles were in the upper corners of the window and the points met at the top center of each window.

Here you see the ruffled top of the valence above the hanger. Again, this was done by sewing the hem a short distance below the top fold of the hem. The hem was folded and the first seam was sewn one inch below the fold. Then a second seam was sewn one inch below that. Then the hanger was inserted into the second one-inch space.

As a finshing touch, I used a thin ribbon to accentuate the bottom edges of each piece of lace. I used a long, straight stitch right in the center of the ribbon, making sure the ribbon just covered the bottom edge of the material. This slight added weight made the ripples in the fabric stand out a bit more.

When making curtains with valences you need double curtain hangers. The inside hangers need to have a shorter width than the outside hangers. Don't get the same width hangers for both the panels and the valences or you will be going back to the store. Save yourself the headache.

For the bathroom curtain, I decided to use this fabric. I originally planned to use this fabric as triangular flags around a canopy piece for my bed, but I never finished that project. I had several triangles made so we decided to make a curtain for the once bathroom window and use the already-made triangles as a shower curtain decoration.

Here is my mom using using genious math skills again, cutting several layers at once to create even triangles... She took over this window project so I just kept refilling her wine glass and focused on the shower curtain triangles.

I used my overlock machine to sew my triangles and then flipped them to the right side and sewed the tops closed.

I ended up with 2 different sizes of triangles because I am no good with math and I couldn't properly copy my already made triangles. Mom's came out perfect.

The triangles on the edges were perfect halves. This piece was also double sided so she turned this inside out and sewed in a hem at the top for the hanger, creating a ruffle at the top. Then with some extra fabric from the living room curtains, she fashioned a cute ruffled backdrop with triangle cutouts in the bottom. Super-genious.

I used my Singer button-holer machine to create two holes at the top of each triangle. This machine only fits on certain, older Singer machines. I use a 99K with this attachment. Someday I will make a post about my machinery. I've been saying that for a while...

From here I overlapped the edges of each triangle and arranged them so the larger triangles were on the ends.

I went back later and added pom-poms, cause duh.

Thanks Mom!


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