Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Curtain With Attached Valance Tutorial

OK, as I said in my last post, I did indeed create a tutorial for the Purple Roses Curtains.  This is a very simple pattern. I do hope you enjoy it and share your completed curtains with me on Facebook.

First things first, lets talk some basics about where to measure your window and how much fabric to use.

Measure from where you will be hanging the curtain all the way down to where you want the curtain to end. Typically from the rod to just below the sill. You also want to measure side to side, again typically along your curtain rod.

Now you need to add inches for your hems and casing.

Add 8 inches to the length and 3 inches to the width.

For a standard gather add half the width to your total. So take your rod width and divide by two. Now add that number to your width and add three more, this is how wide your fabric needs to be.

For the valance you can decide the length you want it to be, there is no standard. I actually used fabric I had left over that I knew my mom liked. just remember it will be folded in half, and you want it to match the overall width.

Same with the lace, you decide how much lace you want peeking out from below. I did not add this to my over all length, but in hindsight it is something to consider, especially if you are using a wide lace such as I did.

Other things to consider:
The poof at the top of the curtain above the rod, I simply stitched an inch and a half below the top of the curtain, but you can certainly stitch lower if you would like a taller poof (I have no idea what the technical term is, lol). Just make sure the overall look you are going for is still going to be there.
Why Two irons? Of course you don't have to use two irons, but I like to for a couple of reasons. The first being that Steam a Seam can make a mess on your iron if it gets on it. The second is if you are working with two different types of fabric at once, it's handy to have a hot iron and a cooler iron so there is no waiting for an iron to heat up or cool down, just my opinion.
The Liner. Decide how heavy a fabric you want to use for the liner. I wanted these to be light and breezy for a small bathroom so I used a very sheer liner. Just enough to diffuse the sunlight a little bit. Of course you can choose not to use a liner at all, or you can choose a heavier fabric if your goal is to cut down on sunlight or provide a bit of insulation.
Hems. OK, I have to admit, I did not measure as I should have, so I made very small hems. It worked out for me because I was using a very light fabric. If you are using a heavier fabric, I would recommend using a wider hem (and Steam a Seam for that matter). Remember you added three inches, so you really could go with a wider hem if you would like.

OK, I think I covered everything!  If you have any questions, you can ask me in the comments or on facebook, or twitter, or email me at itssewjenny@gmail.com.

Here is the completed set I will show you how to make.

I know my ironing board is so stained up, you would think I might sew up a new cover!

Supply List:
  • Fabric for main body of the Curtain 
  • Fabric for the Liner 
  • Fabric for the Valance
  • Lace for the bottom 
  • 1/4 " Steam a Seam
  • Two Irons (if desired)
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Matching Thread
  • Small Hair Bow

Simple child's hair-bow.  You could even make your own if you are inclined to do so.


Before you begin, cut your material in half to make two equal size curtains.
Place curtain and liner wrong sides together.


Working on the side of the curtain, flip both pieces of fabric in together about 1/4" and iron as you go. 

Lay a strip of Steam a Seam down and peel the paper off. (For the purpose of this tutorial I left the paper on in the picture so it can be seen. DO NOT iron the paper.)

Flip the fabric in one more time and iron. The Steam a Seam will melt and hold the fabric together.

Now you can do a straight stitch or choose a decorative stitch such as I did.


Back view

Front View



Repeat on the other side and along the bottom edge stopping before you sew the bottom.
 DO NOT SEW THE BOTTOM YET!




Once you have the bottom hem ironed in place, lay another strip of Steam a Seam along the edge as shown above and remove the paper

Lay your lace along the strip of Steam a Seam

Iron into place

Now Stitch into place

Back View

Front View

Now we will begin working on the Valance. 
Place a strip of Steam a Seam along the sides of the valance flip in, iron 

and sew a straight stitch


Fold the Valance in half and place the fold along the upper edge of your curtain

The open edge will be facing down

Pin in place

Using a straight stitch, sew into place


Your curtain and valance should now look like this, with a strip of curtain above the valance (iron seam flat).


Working with the Valance alone, place a stitch along the bottom edge of your valance. You can do a top-stitch close to the edge or continue on with a decorative stitch as shown below.


With the Valance hanging down over the curtain, sew a straight stitch through all layers as shown here and below. This creates the little poof at the top of the curtain, above the rod.



Taking care to move the valance out of the way, fold the flap of fabric up underneath its self to create the pocket for the rod (iron). I purposely left mine very wide as these were made for my mother and I wanted it to be easier for her to get the rod through without a struggle.

Sew a straight stitch across the bottom of the rod pocket.

Add the decorative bow to the front simply by clipping it into place. This makes it easy to remove for laundering.








Monday, January 28, 2013

Purple Roses Curtains

Well, I manage to finish one panel, I will finish up the other this evening.  Hey I think that's pretty good with  3 year old and 1 year old grandchildren running in and out all day and fighting a nasty cold. But here it is:

From Concept


To Complete






 Removable rose for washing


Vintage Lace and decorative stitching


This was a super easy design. I think I will do the second panel as a tutorial. 

A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That

Today I am going to make a set of curtains for my mothers downstairs bathroom!  I am pretty excited to do this project for her.  She picked out the main fabric, but I am going to add some touches that I KNOW she will LOVE.

I found the purple roses fabric on clearance at Walmart some time ago and just loved it!  Turns out Mom does too!  So I am giving her curtains a pretty little valance with this fabric.  At the bottom I am going to attach some beautiful vintage lace. And just for fun, I might find someplace to attach this purple rose.


Mom and I originally picked out the roses (which came in a multicolored pack) for the pink one to attach to the purse I am working on.  We picked out several different embellishments, brought them home to try out, then decided the rose was the perfect compliment to this purse, I can't wait to get it finished up!




And just for fun, this is what my grandchildren are working on this morning...Finger Paint!  Yes, my grandson is upset, lol, he is ready for a bath, but his baby sister was still having a grand time. Of course they proceeded to paint the walls of my bathtub during their bath. :)


I'll be back hopefully by this evening with a set of curtains to show off.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

FYI, I Take Custom Orders

I just wanted to let everyone know that I do take custom orders for all sorts of bags. Below you will find a link to my facebook page with a small sampling of the bags I have recently made. You can email me at itssewjenny@gmail.com to get the ball rolling and we will come up with the type of bag you are looking for, colors, size etc. and a price. Thanks!

Sample Bags

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wabi-Sabi Purse

In my last post, I showed you some fabulous pink fabric I had to have!  And I said I was going to do something simple with it. I wanted a quick turn around.  Well, I did get quick and well, kind of simple.

I decided upon the super cute "Pretty Little Purse" from  Judi Ketteler's Sew Retro Book.

Here's the thing.  Whenever I jump into a project, I REALLY do just jump in. I KNOW you are supposed to read through the entire thing, but if I get too many steps in my head, I tend to work ahead which can sometimes end up in disaster.  What can I say sewing REALLY excites me!

So I look at the picture and I say OK, I understand the gist of this, now let's do it. And doing it I was, UNTIL...

1) This is an extremely tiny purse as is and the designer is asking you to iron inside the bag... UM NO! That was just not going to happen, AND I had actually ENLARGED the pattern!  Still, no.

2) The entire section on handles and finishing just threw me for a loop! I was not planning on finishing the edges using bias tape (even though I mastered this as I said before). Again, because I am going by the picture and I am not seeing any use of bias tape for the bag edges, this had never even entered my mind as a way of finishing this bag.

Given these to things, I ended up a little bit baffled and a lot annoyed!

So I just did what I am super-d-duper good at and improvised!

I also wanted my handles a little bit further apart and with a little bit more sophistication, so I went with pre-made pink vinyl. I actually had not planned on going that far at all, I did so at the urging of family and friends.

Perhaps the most fatal mistake of this bag though is in the pattern its self. I KNEW the bottoms of the body and pocket did not match and yet I trusted the designer and went with it. UGH!  I should have corrected the pattern.

So when I turned the bag, I saw to my horror, that the pocket was totally lopsided! I was so disappointed. But again, when I showed it to family and friends, they pointed out the beauty of this Wabi-Sabi purse...

The roses look as though they are peeking out of the pocket:


I really mean no disrespect to the designer, this is a really cute design and I am just in love with it as well as most of the designs in her book, I mean, why else would I have purchased it.

I will be trying this pattern out again, with some modifications.

Monday, January 14, 2013

And It's Done!

Oh My Gosh!  OK! So I finally worked my way through the Simplicity pattern 2169!




This was no easy task! It took me a few days to find an easy way to master the ruffles before I remembered something about dental floss and used that to EASILY create these ruffles. See how I did it here.

Stitching the upper half to the lower half also gave me trouble as well, but using my handy dandy seam ripper, I was able to work though it rather easily.  Also this is the first time I have ever gotten to use the technique of "Stitch in the Ditch." So that was cool.

But perhaps the thing that I am most proud of on this project is my use of the bias tape around the closure flap!  It's not that I have not done this before, it's just that I never had problems with using bias tape before this project.

I have done binding on several pillow case dresses, around the arm holes.




But this time, oh this was NOT working out right! So I procrastinated for a few days, hemming and hawing over cutting on the bias of my remaining fabric.  You see, I KNOW that for this to work properly it MUST be cut on the bias, BUT, it had always worked out so well for me before not cutting on the bias, and I really wanted to make the trim all black, but I also wanted to use the same fabric as I had been using all along too, and the only place it had any solid black was along the bottom, straight across!  Do you see my dilemma?

To me, cutting on the bias kind of seems like a waste of fabric, but I did what I was suppose to do and I cut my binding strip on the true bias and don't you know, I got great results!!!  I will never doubt again, I will never think it's a waste of fabric again!

So now this project is finished and I am ready to start the next one!

I am hoping for a one day turn around for this one, so it will be something fairly simple.  I found some fabric that I am in LOVE with, so of course I am going to do something with it, today, for sure!

Next purse:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Unglamorous Life

Today I am doing the thing that I find most boring and unglamorous. I am cutting out pattern pieces. BLAH!  Well, right now I am taking a break between sheets. And I mean HUGE sheets!

 Sunlight coming through the window onto my pattern sheet

I am currently working on Simplicity Pattern 2169;there are 33 pieces for these four bags.

I am cutting out all of the pieces for the four bags at once just to make it easier in the long run, but it is soooooo boring and tedious!

I am working on the ruffled purse. I LOVE ruffles! Up to now I have not relied much on these types of patterns; instead, relying on  patterns that give me dimensions for which I create my own pattern.

Like this one:

Or I just wing it and create a pattern all on my own.

Like this one:
But this time, I wanted to refine what I was doing with the ruffle and so left it to the experts and purchased a professional pattern.

Hopefully tonight I will be able to actually SEW!  I will post the results as soon as I have them, Wish me luck!