Thursday, September 29, 2011

Making Curtains

If you've followed my blog for long, you know that I live in an old house that was built in 1929.......

Photo by Rian Ada Hunter

which means I have 8 and 9.5 foot ceilings 

which also means to dress my windows in curtains means 
BIG, BIG Bucks!

Luckily, I do sew and over time have made all of the curtains that are currently hanging in my house.

I know this seems overwhelming if you are a novice sewer, but please stick with me.  Some of the curtains I made were time consuming and challenging, but many of them were actually quite easy.  I'd like to share a few techniques with you that I hope will inspire you enough to make your own curtains.

Panels require a lot of yardage of fabric.  They also demand much patience to iron the fabric, lay the fabric out, cut it perfectly straight, and sew all that bulk.  In my opinion, if you can find panels you like that are long enough for your windows - buy them.  The cost savings isn't usually enough to put yourself through all of that work - unless you need extra long panels like I do.  Unfortunately, the cost seems to go up dramatically for long panels.  If your heart is set on curtains in a specific fabric however, you're not going to be happy unless you make the panels. 

Valances, on the other hand, are the easiest curtains to make and can save you quite a lot of money.  To illustrate a few very simple techniques, I'm going to share the valance I made for the window over my kitchen sink.

This valance is truly nothing more than a large rectangle.  

Basically, I pieced sections of fabric together to create a finished (after hemming all 4 sides) rectangle about the height of the window, yet 24 inches wider than the window.  It is wider than the window so I could create pleats.

Next, I ironed cabone' ring tape to the back of the curtain. Normally you would sew this - and you should if you will wash the curtains often - but I did not want to see stitching on the front of the curtain.  Instead, I used strips of fusible web tape - made for hemming pants - to attach the cabone' tape.  Follow the instructions on the fusible hem tape to make sure you get a good bond.  

Also, be sure to attach the tape so the top ring is at exactly the same height on each section of curtain.  I ironed 4 lengths of tape on my curtain.

Finally, I stapled the rectangle to a 1x4 board cut to match the width of the window.  I wanted my valance to have pleats, so I created pleats as I stapled.  I will do a tutorial on creating pleats in an upcoming post.  My pleats lined up with where I had ironed the cabone' tape.

To finish, I slipped the cabone' rings onto shower curtain rings, and hung the valance.  A screw on each end did the trick.

See.......that was pretty easy, wasn't it?  The style of my valance may not be your style, but perhaps you can use some of these techniques anyway.  Try only gathering a few of the bottom rings on your valance.  Or maybe try skipping every other ring.  I'd love for you to share what you come up with.

Thanks for stopping by,



  1. Ellie, The valance is beautiful and I love the toile fabric. I know what you mean about the cost of longer than normal drapes. I looked for months for 96" window treatments for my husbands home office. I finally bought two heavy tablecloths and hung them on rings. Great solution for a non-sewer like me.

  2. Hi Ellie! Oh, how beautiful your valance is! Thanks for sharing how to make it.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  3. Beautiful valance- love the toile!! Thanks for sharing at Feathered Nest Friday!

  4. The valance looks great--thanks for showing how to do it:)

  5. I love these valances. Beautiful. I need to try these. I'm a new follower. Thanks

  6. I want this in my kitchen!! So cute, friend!


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