Jan 18, 2012

No-Hardware Window Treatments and Valance

After living with nothing but outdated white metal mini-blinds covering the windows of our rental for the past 5 months, I decided to do something about it.  Because the house is a rental, I couldn't take the mini-blinds down (I admit, they are functional) and I couldn't drill holes into the walls to install drapery rods.  I had a bit of a design dilemma.  Solution?  Inexpensive tension rods, some existing drapery panels here and a yard of fabric there, and a little creativity.

For the master bedroom, I found a large tension rod, that is probably really a shower curtain rod, at Ross for $5.  I added some chocolate brown cotton drapery panels used in all of our former 3 abodes (yes, we move a ton) and "voila!" the blinds aren't such an eyesore anymore.

Now, for the dining room, I didn't have drapery panels on hand for that space so I started from scratch.  I had bought some great graphic fabric on sale at JoAnn's and set it aside for a future project...and the project finally arrived...

My limiting factors: I needed a simple clean-lined valance that I could take with me when we move (again) this Summer and hope to use in the next place.  I wanted something I could make with a single yard of fabric.  After looking around a bit, I found a little inspiration online at HGTV.com.

pic from hgtv

You see the window valance on the left?  That's the one I wanted to model mine after.  I liked the way it was gathered at the bottom, not restricting the view one bit.  It appeared updated and unfussy, yet a bit dressed-up for a dining room.  Perfect!  So, this is what I came up with...minus the nice view, of course.  Keep reading for easy window valance instructions...

DIY Window Valance

Fabric (depending on the width of your window, you'll need 1-2 yards)
Sewing Scissors
Measuring Tape
Sewing Machine
Tension Rod (I purchased the one below at Home Depot for less than $3)

1. Measure your window (and measure again) to determine the amount of fabric you'll need.  I only had a yard of my fabric on hand, so thankfully I had a relatively narrow window to cover.  Your completed product will be a rectangle, and you'll be finishing 4 sides of the fabric.                

2. Lay out fabric to determine how you want the pattern to be oriented.  Carefully measure your required dimensions so you know where to finish the edges.  My geometric pattern worked out nicely for my amateur ways because I was able to cut and fold along straight lines.

3. After measuring, trim off extra fabric.  For each edge, fold over fabric (about an inch) and pin where you want your seam.  I pinned every few inches so I could sew my edges as straight as possible.  (For best results, pin along one edge and finish that side before moving on to the next.)

4. Sew along your pinned edge, creating approximately a 1/2 inch seam (for the two sides and bottom).

5.  Repeat the pinning and sewing to finish each edge, finishing the top edge of the valance last.  Keep the 1/2 inch seam for the two sides and bottom of the valance.  Depending on the size of your tension rod, you will need to sew a winder seam for the top of the valance so your rod can slide through.  My top seam was sewn about 1.5 inches from the fold. (see below)

6.  Once all your edges are complete, you can slide your tension rod through the top and hang it up.  Right now it will just look like a plain jane flat rectangular panel.

7.  Here's the fun part...play with the valance to determine how you want to finish it.  I used some small chip clips to hold the fabric where I wanted it, but clothes pins, paperclips, bulldog clips, etc. would work too.

The first look - cute but not what I was going for...a little too fufu fan-like for me.

The next look - now we're talkin'.

I decided I liked this one but I sort of liked the flexibility of having options and changing it up as desired, so I decided to keep the chip clips and clip it from the back side so they'd be hidden from view.  It works!

Not certain if you can call that "finished" but I like the idea of being able to use the valance in different ways.  I think it really finished off the space well.  I like that I was able to add another pattern into the space to complement the larger red and white Ikat fabric on the chairs.

What do you think?  Not bad for an inexpensive and non-permanent fix!  -Kristen


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