My initial plan with this simple valance was to get Matt involved, and while he sewed, I would relax! Well, after much deliberation with the sewing machine, Matt got an idea of his own…iron on adhesive tape! And he was right, this is just one of many window topper treatments you can create without the use of a sewing machine!
- Sewing thread to match fabric or iron-on adhesive tape
- Coordinating grosgrain ribbon
- Café style curtain rod
- Tools for installing curtain rod
- Iron and ironing board
1. Install drapery rod in desired position. Usually the top of the rod is 4” above the window trim.
2. Measure the length of the rod. For a lightly gathered valance as you see in the photo, without any seams, you may be able to use one width of decorator fabric (which can range from 54” to 60” wide). If additional fullness is desired, or the window is wider, double the measurement of the rod which will probably require more than one width of fabric.
If you need more than one width of fabric: Cut two fabric panels to the necessary length. Cut one panel in half vertically. Sew or use iron-on adhesive to attach a half-width panel to each side of the full-width panel, matching any pattern if necessary.
3. To determine the length of the topper, decide whether or not you will lower the valance and how much of the window you wish to cover. If you would like a stationary valance, decide how far down you want it to hang, and add an additional 12 inches to create the gathered detai at the lower edge. When figuring the fabric length, remember to add extra for the hem and the rod pocket. Hems on short toppers usually require a 2” hem, so 4” total, and a café rod will usually require a 1” rod pocket, for a toal of 1 ½”. Therefore, figure out the length of your valance, add 12” for gathering at the bottom and 5 ½” for the rod pocket and hem.
4. Sew or use iron-on adhesive to finish the outside edges of the fabric panel. Turn the edges under 1-1/2” inches twice.
5. Fashion a rod pocket by sewing or with iron-on adhesive. Measure the thickness of the rod and add an additional 3/8 inches for the depth of the pocket. For instance, the pocket depth to best fit a 5/8 inch rod is 1inch. This allows the pocket to fit neatly over the rod with out being too tight or too loose.
6. Hem the bottom of the valance and slide it onto the rod.
7. The valance shown is tied up with two pieces of grosgrain ribbon, which makes a great country-style valance. For a different look, try using rope trim, coordinating fabric strips or embroidered ribbons. Use two ribbons as shown, or use one ribbon right in the center of the window for a simple-to-do swag.
Tips: It’s best for this valance design to NOT sew a ruffle at the top of the pocket, which is often done. In this design, the ribbons will not lay neatly over a ruffle.
All kidding aside, iron-on adhesive is a marvelous way to create seams and hems, and it allows people without sewing knowledge to create wonderful decorative projects for their homes. I keep a supply of it on hand at all times!