2. Sew rectangles together. Since we had two windows and six rectangles, we evenly divided the old bumper sections to each window. With right-sides-together, we simply sewed three rectangles together (length-wise) for each window valence; and pressed the seams open. After we had the panels sewn together, we trimmed the height of the panels to measure 17″ (our final height would be 16″). (Sorry for the yucky photos, like I said, we were working at night!)
3. Line the valence panels. We then lined each panel with cheep curtain lining fabric. We didn’t bother laying out the fabric, we just cut a lining strip the same dimensions as our curtain panel (now 17X105″).
With right-sides-together, we pinned and sewed the lining to the curtain panel, leaving an 8″ gap open for flipping it right-side-out. By the way, are you like me and ALWAYS sew this intended opening shut? Ah! How many times have I had to go back with a seam ripper to re-open my flip hole! A little while back I divised this “pin” system to remind me to stop and start as I am chugging around (and spacing out) on a really big piece like this!
My mom also taught me that instead of leaving your needle down and turning your fabric at corners, you can get stronger corner seams by running right off the edge. To flip it with tidy corners, you trim it like this!
5. Determine pleat measurements. My mom did all the sewing algebra here, but it’s pretty easy to figure out your pleat measurements based on your window width. The key is not to measure your fabric, but your valence rod. We used this curtain rod:
THEN, starting on the far right side of your fabric, measure your pleat width from the edge in toward center (for me it was 17″) and place another pin. Finally, measure in your pleat width from the far left side edge.
To create your pleats, bring the two left hand pins together to form one pleat, and bring your two right side pins together to form the other. Flaten down and iron in the excess fabric (which should now be inside your folds).
7. Pin and sew on Velcro. Remember when I said I had a project that left me with a bunch of Velcro?!? Here’s the original project! (NOTE – you can certainly baste your pleats in place before this step if you are worried about them slipping; but we found we could sew the pleats and add the Velcro all in one swoop!) Flipping over to the back of the panel (with the pleats still pinned down the front), we pinned the “loop” side of the Velcro all the way across the valence panel. We then finished the valence by sewing the Velcro on along both the top and bottom edge of the Velcro. By sewing on the Velcro, we also secured the pleats.
To hang these curtains, we used some curtain rods that I had already used for this exact same purpose! Remember these?
I put up these same curtain rods that were already trimmed in Velcro from my orange valences.
These were such a great way to re-purpose something that was just sitting around Henry’s bedroom. The design of the bumpers completely lent themselves to become valences, and truly, since all the cutting and sewing of the rectangles was done, these came together in very short order! And I just love the tailored and clean look they have while still having a dose of whimsey from the owls! Also, we had everything but the Velcro for this project…we already had all the fabric, the rods and the hardware! I’d say this was a re-purposing success!
Oh, and remember that crib skirt that got taken off the bed once we lowered the crib mattress? Instead of it sitting in the closet collecting dust, we decided to give it a quick hem. Even though this task was driven more by reducing clutter than putting the skirt back on the crib, I actually think I like the skirt better now! With it hemmed up just a bit and back on the crib, you can finally see all those adorable pleats (that now match the valences!) under the crib boards! And what a subtle difference for the crib on the whole, don’t you think?!?