I wanted to use a vintage tablecloth made by my grandmother as a valance. The ecru fabric is perfect with the Easy French Cafe Curtain you saw earlier this week.
There are many ways to hang valances. But, when using vintage linens you treasure, you don’t want to cut them apart. Hanging over a rod would be least intrusive for the vintage fabric, but my tablecloth is too wide to work well on a rod. I decided stapling to a board would be an acceptable solution.
My grandmother made the tablecloth with a crochet border, a knotted needlework pineapple at each corner, and a dogwood in the center. The needlework is called candlewicking. It’s a type of embroidery on plain muslin fabric, an early American style and Pennsylvania Dutch in origin.
The candlewick name originated from the type of threading used. It resembles twisting similar to the procedure for making candle wicks at that time in history. My grandmother stuck with the white on white tradition of candlewicking by using natural threading on muslin.
That’s our sewing history lesson for today. 😉
The tablecloth measures 48″ wide x 70″ long. After removing the former window treatment from its mounting board, I decided to use that same board. Recycling is a good thing.
Place the cloth face down on a flat surface.
Fold down the upper edge to 30″ measured from the bottom edge.
Pin it into place to secure.
If you will be covering a board for this project, visit my post about Covering a Board for Window Treatment Mount.
Once your board is ready for the valance mount, center the valance and staple at the center point near the fold. Leave the front corners loose for now, but staple each end at the same depth from the edge, like below.
Fold the front edge at the corner to form a pleat, making the treatment lie flush with the board’s front and side edges. Position the pleat to face out at each corner.
Notice the arrow showing the fold in the fabric for the back fold of the pleat.
Staple the corner to secure, then continue stapling every 5-6″ across the board. Hammer loose staples for a tighter fit. Obviously, I did that step after this picture.
I attached my valance closer to the board edge so the mounting screws wouldn’t puncture the tablecloth fabric.
At this stage, you can remove the pins from the fabric.
Staple ribbons at each end to hang from the board about 7″ from outer edge, one that goes behind the valance and another in front. With two hands under lower valance edge, fold the valance in horizontal folds, accordion-style. Secure each side by tying the ribbon strands together under the accordion fold.
I like the lower edge folded toward the front so the pretty crochet is visible.
The valance is ready to mount. My valance is an inside-mount, so I simply attached it with screws into the window frame header. (Our windows have deep wells, so I mounted the board close to the front edge.) Remember to insert the screws away from the edge that holds the fabric.
The reason I wanted to hang this tablecloth is because I love the dogwood candlewicking on the valance front. My grandmother showed me how to sew the knots and even dotted the dogwood pattern for me to make a pillow.
I regret that I never made the pillow, but I can now enjoy her very own candlewicking, right? The pineapples in the corners aren’t visible, but you can see the dots there when you look closely.
Do you think this is something you’d like to make? Do you have any vintage linens to transform into a valance?