Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kitchen Curtains...finally

I got inspiration from May's HGTV magazine and decided to finally just go for it on those kitchen valances.  I'd been wanting to get that project done for quite some time as the windows take up so much space and made the room seem slightly empty.  You can see my naked windows here.

The article I was reading included a little snippet about easy trims to add to simple linen curtains that really jazzed them up.

I thought that the one using bias tape was perfect as I hadn't wanted to do one plain color, but didn't really want a big crazy pattern either.

Inspiration for my curtain rods came when I saw these awesome finials in The Land of Nod catalog.

They were a little on the spendy side, however, at $20 per set!  Yeah.  Right.  I figured that I could probably learn how to make that knot using real rope so I did a little research and found this awesome link with a video tutorial.  Took about an hour until I had mastered the monkey fist with some leftover rope from another project.  I realized that this was perfect as I already had two curtain rods the correct sizes, but they were a slightly different finish and shape.  Painting them and adding the rope would cover up their differences easily.

Within a few days I had measured my windows (80" and 36") and rounded up all my materials needed.

Get List

  • Linen fabric ($12.49/yard)......................................$31.25
  • Thread (two colors)..............................................$2.48
  • Quilt binding (two 3 yards each)................................$3
  • Rustoleum spray paint in flat white (1).........................$3.77
  • Natural manila rope (1/4in. thick, 50 feet)....................$5.60
  • 1in. clip rings (three packs of 10 at $3.99 each)...............$11.97
Grand Total                                                                         $58.07

Not too shabby I say.  I already had the curtain rods though, which can end up being a little spendy.  I found this awesome link that shows you how to make your own rod on the cheap if you are interested in saving cash.

Next came the doing.  I decided that I wanted a flat panel, no folding or pleats.  This would make the sewing process a lot easier.  I also opted for no lining as the linen was already quite thick and this was more for looks than function anyway.  I made the decision to sew the panel as I would for a pocket rod with a 3 inch folded top because I wanted it to still look professional.  When the sun shines through it, you can see where the folds are and I just thought it would look better overall.

I started off by measuring the width I would need.  The larger window was 80 inches across.  I wanted two extra inches on each side.  Then I would need the excess fabric for folding and creating clean edges.  I added another inch and 1/4 to each side.  Total width to cut would be 86.5 inches.

Then I measured what length I thought it should be.  Valances range from 15 to 24 inches normally.  I decided to go with 17 inches.  I added another 4 inches to the top and 1/2 inch to the bottom.  Only 1/2 bottom because my bias tape is 3/4 inch wide on each side.  This would cover the bottom seam and I didn't want to add extra bulk.  Total was 21.5 inches.

Got out my trusty cutting mat and rotary blade and went to town.

First folds were the two sides.  I folded and ironed at 1/2 inch, then folded it over again and ironed at 3/4 inch.

I sewed a straight seam with the left side of my foot hitting the edge of the fold.  Repeated on the other side.

Next was the top.  I folded and ironed 1 inch.  Here is a shot of my folding and ironing method.  I don't use pins, just take a ruler with me to the ironing board (yes, mom, I know you'll have a comment on that ruler).

Then fold over again at 3 inches.

Sewed down using the same method as before.

Had I actually made a full pocket rod, I would have made another stitch 2 inches down from the top.  This would make the 2 inch pocket for the rod to go in.

Next step is measure 17 inches from the top and fold.  I chose to measure from the top because I know my cutting is not always perfect.

Which of course it wasn't.  I had almost an inch extra on the bottom in some spots instead of my desired 1/2 inch.

Here is how I cut off the extra.  Super simple.  Just line up your clear ruler along the ironed fold and use your cutter to slice at 1/2 inch.

Always good to measure from the top!

I then sewed the 1/2 inch flap down on the bottom.

Next came bias tape.

To make a clean edge I folded and ironed about 1/4 inch on the end.

Then wrapped it around the bottom edge of the valance and pinned it in place.

When I reached the end, I snipped with 1/4 inch left, folded and ironed, same as the other side.

Thread color change and another line up with the presser foot

Snipped all my ends and round 1 valance was done!  I then repeated the process with the second smaller curtain.

Now for the fun part!  Monkey fists!

Here are my nice sprayed white finials.

I knew the bottom edge would show so I decided to paint the whole thing anyway.  Crazy, I know.

After a few tries I was cruising and before I knew it they were all done!


Next was the fun hanging part.  I spaced my hooks about 4.5 inches apart in case you are wondering.

I think they turned out pretty all right...


  1. I did use that ruler for decades; I didn't realize it was worth stealing! You got your inheritance early :) The curtains are fabulous,and I can just see you sitting and perfecting your "knot tying skills".

  2. Those are awesome! I especially LOVE the knot finials! Pottery Barn needs to sell those. :)

    Good job, DIL!

  3. Love the curtains! Especially those awesome knots!