Sunday, January 8, 2012

Modified Catherine valance

The designer brought us two drapery panels, linen, two widths each side, abut 72" long, with little three-finger pleats just 2" long and 1" wide, and tassel trim on the lead edges and bottom.

The room had been renovated, and now to fit the new space we were to make a pole-mounted valance to cover 120" out of these panels.  Something swaggy, using the bottom of the panels without removing the trim, and with bells that were pleated in the same style, to go with the remaining pair of draperies on the adjacent window.  I also had to make 30" jabots out of whatever remained.

I definitely spent more time thinking about this project than it took to make it, which means I had a LOT of thinking time.   The valance needed to be a style with a straight bottom.  I considered modifying a Kingston.  The decorator suggested modifying a Queen Anne.  Time was a factor, as well as the limited available fabric. 
Pate-Meadows Catherine valance
Finally I decided on modifying the beautiful Catherine valance, a Pate-Meadows pattern, one of my favorite valances ever. 

I laid out the pattern pieces onto gridded paper and squared off the curves in the swags and bells.  To be sure I was cutting to achieve the correct swag width, I draped chain weight.  I replaced the triangular bell with a 6" wide rectangle that could be pleated like the panels.   The pattern finishes to 22" so I shortened it for an 18" finished length.  The self-lined jabots were cut sideways out of the little fabric that remained.

And, before cutting the fabric, I made a muslin mock-up, stapling the pleats and hanging to be sure of the dimensions.  I was happy that it came out true to the original concept.

There was not enough fabric to cut the swags individually so railroading the treatment was the only option.  I French-seamed together the two panels and realized that the three seams would just have to fall wherever they fell, because the five swags and six bells took up- to the very last thread!- the exact amount of fabric available.   I used new lining- napped sateen- and hemmed it and it hangs separately from the face fabric.

The unavoidable seam in the center of the center swag left me slightly queasy, so when I got the inevitable call from the decorator, after the installation, I was sweating it out until I heard- "It was beautiful!  It looked effortless and the customer LOVES it!"

I was so engrossed in figuring out what to make and how, that I totally forgot to take pictures, after the one showing the cut-up fabric and the cut-off pleats.

There was fabric left over- ha- two pieces about 12" x 12" each.

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