Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nursery Valances

All right, time for me to tend to posting to this blog again. I've been baaaad about posting, but I've been good about doing stuff and taking pictures. I just gotta get on the stick now and post!

If you've been to my house, you've already seen these valances. I know, because as soon as you came in, I hauled your ass into the future nursery and showed them to you first thing. I am really proud of these, and I don't mind sayin' it.

I didn't have a pattern, but I figured valances (or curtain panels) are really just rectangles. I used my giant three-panel Olfa self-healing rotary cutting mat (with the dual-quad exhaust pipes). I can't recommend this thing enough. I don't quilt at all, and I still use it all the time. You can cut on it without gouging your table, and the measurements printed on it help you cut a straight line of whatever size you need. It doesn't retain any cutting marks, either (hence the self-healing part). Also, the clips that come with it are replaced for free through Olfa's web site customer service. I emailed and said that I lost mine in our move, and they sent four in the mail pronto.

What I don't recommend is getting in a hurry, and mowing over the tip of your ring finger with the rotary cutter, because it will come clean off, fingernail and all. And yet, the cutters are so sharp, it will heal before you know it! (That's one clean cut).

I decided to do tab attachments. I had a bolt of hot air balloon fabric that I'd bought years ago for $3 (I'd been intending to make a dress out of it), and I found a stripe that matched it in color. I just sort of eyeballed everything and wrote down the finished dimensions that I wanted (I ripped some measurements off of a set of rod-and-pocket store-bought valances I already had), and then added the seam allowance measurements in. I cut panels of interfacing (I used heavy fusible interfacing because I wanted some body to the valances and some opacity, but for curtain panels I'd probably use something lighter-weight) in the finished sizes that I wanted the three panels in. That way, when wrapping fabric around them, they would all come out the same size even if the seam allowances were a little different. I marked out a line on the interfacing where the seam between the stripe panel and the fabric panel should hit at the same spot. Again, that way each one would have stripey panels the same size as one another.

I decided to do the stripe vertically across the bottom panel, and horizontally across the tabs. To run the balloon and stripe patterns the way I wanted, each valance had to have two panels of fabric, sewn together vertically. I sewed the hot air panels together first, then the stripes, then sewed the double stripe panel to the double hot air balloon panel (they match up better that way). Then I attached the fabric to the interfacing, hemmed the sides, and used a blind-hem stitch across the bottom and the top. I used Stitch Witchery to attach a grosgrain ribbon across the seam between the stripe and the pattern fabric.

For the tab valances, I spaced them out where I wanted them first, then clipped interfacing in the finished size that I wanted. I fused them to the fabric, cut them out, and hemmed them around the edges. By the time I did 27 of these, I was going a little crazy, especially since everything has to be ironed along the way. (Though if you know me, and you know why I had to have exactly 3 panels and 27 tabs, you knew I was already crazy). I pinned them on each panel, measuring the same distance down for each (the mat was great here again), and then sewed them on.

I alternated two kinds of buttons across the tabs, mostly because I didn't buy enough of one kind, but I like the finished look. Since the buttons were just decorative, I used a Buttoneer, which was a little tempermental, but I still think it took a lot less time than sewing on each button. This tool may not attach a button sufficiently for heavy use on a pair of pants, but it works great for decorative uses like this.

Overall, the project came off problem-free (except for the bit of my finger that accidentally ended up down my disposal - YUCK) and they set the theme ("Flying Machines") for the whole nursery. I can't believe I made them, really. I was very proud when my Ma said, "You remind me so much of your father." And I said, why? And she said, "Because you're so precise, and you iron things to an absolute knife's edge." Yeaahhh. A dream project for someone who would only sew straight lines, if she could.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

These are so cute. I love that they are playful and fun, and not pink floral or sports or any other generic over-used nursery theme.

I would make everyone I know look at these, too, if I had made them!