Saturday, February 21, 2004

Sewing skills shouldn't limit window decor choices

By Lisa Hutchurson
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Tripping over bags of saved-up material and blowing the dust off my sewing machine, I decided it was time to make window treatments.

After all, how hard could it be?

"Bwaahahahaha," laughed the Ghost of Sewing Projects Past.

Before you start making these window toppers, you need these essentials:
Tape measure.
Power drill and screwdriver drill bits (for mounting).
Sharp sewing scissors.
Fabric marker (one of those chalky pencils or disappearing markers).
Straight pins.
But I was unaware of this at the time, which is why I signed up for a "Window Toppers" class that outlined how to make valances and cornices.

"What's a valance? And what's a cornice?" I asked.

It quickly went downhill from there. Until the teacher showed us ways to make window treatments with nary a stitch.

Here are a few methods. Refer to the general materials guide that follows for items you'll want to have on hand.

Tape and grommets

Materials: Curtain rod, iron-on adhesive tape, grommet kit and a roll of antique white grosgrain ribbon.

Fabric: Enough for two pieces that are at least two inches wider than your window frame and as long as you want.

Directions: Use iron-on adhesive tape to hem the edges on each of two equally sized, horizontal rectangles of fabric, and make sure the pieces are still the same size after hemming. Fuse the two pieces together with the tape, both right-side-out, to keep the light from coming in through the fabric and so you don't see the unfinished backside through the window.

Punch holes reinforced with the grommets across the top of the fabric following the directions in the kit. Thread the ribbons through the grommets and tie them at uniform lengths along the rod.

Cost: $5.88 for one-fourth-inch grommet kit at Home Depot; $3.88 for just over a yard of plaid fabric (after 25 percent discount) and $1.59 for a roll of iron-on adhesive tape from Jo-Ann Etc.

Bozo factor: Be certain to measure carefully to create a rectangle of fabric with straight lines and right angles. Use a fabric marker and a ruler to get it right.

Also, do a practice grommet on another piece of fabric so you don't put your first one in backwards on the good stuff. When you're punching holes for the grommets, lay your fabric and the anvil on a sheet on top of a hard surface such as a basement floor - carpet gives too much and you won't want to dent other surfaces.

Tape and clips

Materials: Clip-rings; iron-on adhesive tape; black curtain rod; black spray paint (optional); black beaded fringe.

Fabric: Enough for two pieces that are at least two inches wider than your window frame and as long as you want.

Directions: Spray paint the clip-rings if you want them to match your curtain rod. Hem the fabric with the tape. Lay the top seam of the fringe between the pieces of fabric and fuse them together.

Cost: $1.59 for a roll of iron-on adhesive tape; $4.99 for a yard of black beaded fringe; $6.96 (after 25 percent discount) for jacquard fabric; True Value's D-cor spray paint, $1.99.

Bozo factor: I tried to fuse the meltable fringe seam to the back with the iron-on adhesive tape; it simply melted (leaving a trail of black goo) and wouldn't adhere to the fabric.


Materials: Sconces with mountings.

Fabric: Measure the fabric as for the cornice-valance project.

Cost: $34.77 for fabric; $8.99 each for two sconces (on sale; originally $14.99 each).

Directions: Thread the fabric through the sconces before you hang them on the mountings; they fell several times while I was trying to adjust the scarf.

Bozo factor: Have a friend stand on a chair and show you different sconce placements - with the fabric threaded through - before you mount the sconces on the way to make sure they're where you want them.

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