Oh. my. gosh. I can hardly believe what I’m about to say (type?)
The valance for the baby’s room….you know, the one I didn’t think I could sew on my own? (Because black and white nursery-cute valances don’t seem to be available in any stores and my sewing skills are miniscule.)
Well, it’s DONE.
And the most important part is that it actually looks really stinkin’ cute! Of course, I can find all kinds of things “wrong” with it, but the bottom line is it LOOKS GOOD, it HANGS STRAIGHT, and the elephants don’t look *too* drunk.
In the process of making it, I even learned
- How to make my own piping (wow, super easy),
- How to use a zipper foot on the sewing machine (not as easy, but it worked well enough)
- “Notches” on patterns aren’t there to show you to “cut on the lines”. Apparently, they already assume adults know how to cut on the lines and they’re not just being cute with a variation on the tiny scissor icon that shows up in kindergarten classrooms all around the country. Whouldathunk?
- Buying extra fabric (like a yard or two…especially when it’s mail-order fabric) is extremely helpful because…
- Following the pattern directions is not always the best policy.
Doesn’t it look CUTE next to our new glider? And that awesome checked blanket I also made?
To be fair, I did have one major incident in which the seam ripper and I became best buds.
It was the pattern’s fault.
That, and my propensity to follow instructions. (I always aced the “following directions” assignments in first grade. They were fun!)
So when the pattern instructions told me to “match up” the fabric pattern….I did.
It took me forever to make all the right cuts so that the pattern would match up *perfectly* after seaming everything together.
And it did match up perfectly.
The only (huge) problem was I started out with a perfectly horizontal line of elephants on the end panel…and I worked to the other end from there.
Confused? Let me paint you a (wonky) picture.
The far right panel was marching in a nice straight line. The middle panel of elephants ended up marching at a 45 degree angle. And the other end panel of elephants was marching straight toward the ceiling.
I couldn’t deal with it. A few tears, a wonderfully supportive husband telling me to just order new fabric and “it’ll be okay”, and some stomping around later….I decided I could disassemble the pieces, put the straight elephant panel in the middle, cut a couple new pieces, and end up with something better. (Note not “perfect”….but better.)
It worked – barely. I used up all my extra fabric with the last cut, which was originally intended for a matching pillow cover etc.
If I did it over again, I’d cut ALL panels to have a horizontal line of elephants and I wouldn’t even consider “matching up” the pattern. Sewing a horseshoe-shaped valance using fabric that has a horizontal pattern means you really can’t “match up” the fabric pattern and have the end result look right.
Silly, naïve me.
But pattern-matching aside, it turned out pretty well, and I’m happy with it.
You can see a few more nursery details in these pictures, but there’s still one small project to finish up before I do the official “reveal”. Stay tuned!
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