I love long weekends! And what better way to celebrate than with a finish – for the sewing room, no less! I’m even going to provide a tutorial for the balloon valance I made :).
Years ago, I wanted to make one of these valances for my daughter with some multi-coloured cat fabric (which has been showing up in scrap quilts ever since!). I went to a great local fabric store, sadly closed for years now, called Duthler’s and asked one of the ladies for a pattern recommendation. She told me – you don’t need a pattern for that! And she was right – here’s how she told me to make them (paying it forward :)).
I used two yards of this fabric, found at Joann’s a couple of weeks ago. My windows are about 33 inches wide and this amount of fabric was perfect to make 12 poufs at 12 1/2 inches in diameter (before sewing) so that I could put six poufs on each window.
I folded the fabric width-wise (selvedges together) first and then length-wise (end to end) such that the piece of fabric was approximately 22 inches wide and a yard long. I happen to have a platter from my mother-in-law’s china set that is a perfect 12 1/2 inches in diameter, but you can use whatever method you choose to draw circles of the size you need.
Cut out the circles on your marked line. Having the fabric folded so that I was working with four thicknesses was a great time-saver since I needed to make 12 poufs. Sharp scissors really helps with accurate cutting, too!
Fold the circle in half, right sides together, so that you have a semi-circle. Sew along the curved edge using a 1/4 inch seam, leaving an opening of an inch or so to turn your pouf right sides out after sewing. I like to sew a couple inches, lift the presser foot of my sewing machine, and move my fabric forward a couple of inches before dropping the presser foot and continuing on. Use whatever method works for you, but remember, if you’re making big poufs, you might need to leave a bigger opening for turning because there will be much more material to pull through than with these little guys that I made.
I also like to sew a small seam, about 1/8 inch in from the folded edge – you’ll see why in a minute! Turn your semi-circles right side out and press, folding in the edges of your opening.
I’ve heard that some people like to put tissue or crushed newspaper into the poufs to help make them “pouf-ier” – I don’t do that because I like to take them off the rod occasionally and wash them and I don’t want to have to unstitch/restitch to do so, but if you do want to put in tissue, this would be the time to do it! Hand stitch the opening closed. I think you could also top stitch 1/8 inch in from the curved edge to close the opening since this edge ends up gathered, but I usually hand stitch closed (habit?).
Now create a channel for your curtain rod by top stitching two parallel seams along the curved edge. For my poufs, I placed my first line 1/2 inch from the edge (because I didn’t need too much fabric for a header above the rod – but if you need more above the rod, place your first line further in). My curtain rod was 7/16th of an inch in diameter, so my second line was a little more than 1/2 inch from the first (don’t do what I did and skimp on this measurement – I had to remove my second line of stitching and create a bigger channel because my rod didn’t fit the first time).
Now, take your stitch ripper and open the sewing on the folded (flat) edge between the two lines of stitching. You’ll also need to cut the material inside the seam at the fold. This is why I always sew a small seam along the folded edge – I think it helps prevent fraying. You could probably also use a product like the fray-stop used on collar points.
Insert your curtain rod through the channel you made – you’re actually gathering up the curved edge onto the rod and the folded (flat) edge becomes the bottom of the pouf. I thought this was so clever the first time I did it!
And there you have it! One very easy, but very cute, balloon valance. With six poufs on each rod, I think they look smashing on my sewing room windows. And notice that the walls beside that window are now a pretty pink rather than the boring old grey they were before (ignoring for the moment that the walls directly opposite the window still need painting :)).