Monday, January 25, 2010

Bed valance with pockets tutorial

My youngest moved into her big girl's bed this week. It was very exciting for her (and pretty sad for us to see our baby growing up!). It's a beautiful white wood bed, handmade by a lovely man who we found on Trade Me. The bed maker built it for her right there in her bedroom and clever Richard swiftly converted the change table chest of drawers he had built her into a big girl's chest of drawers. Her room was all ready for our little princess. 

We were very kindly given a trundler bed by a neighbour so the girls can use it for their friends to sleep on when they come for a sleepover. It peeks out from under Eloise's bed and doesn't look very pretty so I had to do something about it. I decided to make a valance with some little storage pockets. I've seen them before in kid's decorating books and they really aren't that hard.

Here's a very rough guide to what I did to make a pocket valance for Eloise's bed:

1 single bed flat sheet or 1.5m x 2.1m plain fabric.  I used white calico from Ikes Emporium in Devonport which sells for about $5 a metre.
0.5m patterned fabric for pockets. All the same colour or different colours for each pocket.
Matching thread
Sewing machine
Scissors or rotary cutter and ruler
Tape Measure
Tailors chalk, pencil or water soluble marker (my favourite)
Iron and ironing board
self adhesive velcro dots

1.Measure the length of your bed and add 5cm seam allowance. The bit that tucks under the mattress is the shorter length. Cut it out and hem all edges. Press. Try it on your bed to check it fits. You can just lay it over the top of the mattress and check that your hemmed fabric is long enough. If it isn't I'm afraid you've got a date with a seam ripper and a narrower hem! While it is on there mark roughly where you want your pockets to be and how many you want.

2. Take the valance off the bed and lay it out flat on a table with the bit where you want the pockets facing you. You will come back to it shortly.

3. Now make your pockets. I made 4. You want them big enough to be useful but not too big that they will gape. Longer is better than wider. Mine measured 22cm (top) x 26cm (side). My pockets are big enough to hold golden books and pyjamas but make yours whatever size/s you want. Cut your pockets out. You can use a book to make sure your corners are straight if you don't have a rotary cutter and cutting board etc.

4. Now it's time to mitre your corners. Now don't panic. This really is easy once you know how. First, turn all four edges in 1cm and press. Turn in again 2cm. You can just fold over once if you like but I didn't want any raw edges inside my pockets so I folded over twice.

5.Press really well so that the creases hold. Now open out one corner and turn the corner in towards the middle like this:

6. Fold in the two sides towards the middle so they meet in a neat little triangle (a bit like you do when making a paper airplane). You will have to look at the first picture below quite closely. The fold line is blue against the red. Sorry, it's hard to see with the patterened fabric! Don't worry if the folds overlap slightly. As long as your corner is flat and pointy, that's all that matters! Press again and toodle off to your sewing machine.

7. Make sure that your pockets are all the same size (or the sizes you want if you are making different sized pockets for your valance). Top stitch across the top. Do this with all four pockets,

8. Mark where your pockets will go on your valance. Mine are 15cm apart and 12cm up from the bottom edge. Pin them in place and stitch in place. Stitch again close to the first stitching. Don't stitch across the top of the pocket . The picture below is upside down! Press everything so it all looks neat.

9. Grab a friend/spouse/neighbour and get them to lift the mattress up. Tuck your valance under the mattress and make sure the bottom edge of your valance is even. Grab some tape and stick the under mattress bit of the valance down to whatever you can to keep it place when the mattress is dropped down. Get the kind soul who is holding up the mattress to let it down gently.  Stick the velcro dots onto the legs of your bed and on to the sides of the valance. Fix them together to keep the edges straight and tidy (I did this after I took the picture up at the top and it looks a lot better!) Fill up your pockets and you are done!

Let me know if something doesn't make sense or didn't work for you.
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Niella said...

This is such a clever idea.
I love the thought of my daughter sorting out her lil' treasures in those pockets.
Thanks for the inspo:)

Cat said...

Too cute. I was going to get one of those beds for Lucy too (she is on a pull out bed at the moment!) Are you happy with it??

The Devonport Craft Market / Cotton Kiwi said...

Love the bed we bought off Trade Me. It's designed to last until she is an adult. It's pretty huge for her at the moment as she's so tiny and its a king single. She's such a wriggle bum it's no bad thing that she has plenty of room to wriggle now! The trundler beds are great too... really comfy but not great size and storage wise! Very handy for us if cousins/friends come to visit for extended periods though.

Cat said...

Awesome thanks for the info - I have a trundle already (from Bellas bed) so might just get one of these. Thanks!

Stephanie and Carlos said...

I found this tutorial and I think you might have answered the storage space problem in our spare room!! YAY... Now to stop making hexagons and actually knuckle down and do it is another story!! HAHA

xo Steph


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