Sewing an ascot valance is a great way to create an attractive framing accent for any window in the home. Ascot valances can be used alone or to compliment a set of drapes, blinds or shades. Fabric and color choice are for your personal selection to demonstrate your creativity and personality. Here are some directions to successfully complete this rewarding do-it-yourself project.
You first need to make a couple of determinations. How long do you want the valance to hang? Do you want it to have a smooth or gathered appearance? Do you want to style it so it dips in the middle or is even across the entire width of the window? A good tip is to sketch out size and shape on a piece of paper and place it above the window, step back, take a good look and then decide on size and shape.
Step 2–Window Measurements
Take your tape measure to find the width of the window where you will install the ascot valance. Add an additional four inches to your width measurement. Measure the distance from the top where the rod will hang to how far below you wish the valance to be in length. Add an additional two inches for the top and two inches for the bottom. If you plan to create a gathered look, add another four inches to the side and 12 inches to the length.
Step 3–Muslin Preparation
Lay out your freshly ironed muslin flat on a cutting surface. Mark off a rectangle using a ruler and tailor’s chalk, applying the measurements taken above. Fold a short section width-wise of 1/4-inch and then iron it and sew in place. Repeat this on the other edge. Now apply a 1/2-inch fold, iron and sew into place. Alternate each fold between 1/4 and 1/2-inch across the width. Fold the top edge to the back 1/4-inch down the back allowing for a three-inch loop to be created. Iron and sew it into place as well.
Step 4–Thread the Muslin
Thread the muslin pattern onto the curtain rod. Place it above the window and step back to take a look. Note any changes you either need or want to make. For example, if you want a tighter gathering, add more inches to the top and bottom edges. If you need it looser, do the opposite. You can also add to the width or subtract for a wider valance.
Once you’ve settled on the length, width and gathered look, iron the fabric you've selected for the ascot valance. Place the fabric face down on the table and trace out the final shape with tailor’s chalk and a ruler, using the measurements from the muslin. Cut out the fabric and create the seams used in Step 3. Mount your curtain rod and thread your new valance on it.
Check out the end roll bargains available at your favorite fabric store to save money.