How to Make Drapery Valances How to Make Drapery Valances

What You'll Need
Fabric that matches or contrasts the drapery
Measuring tape
Curtain rod
Sewing machine
Matching thread
Damp clean cloth
Tailors thread

The main reason curtains are topped with matching drapery valances is for decoration, and sometimes a valance may serve to hide unattractive curtain fittings. Whatever the reason, valance patterns and designs range from simple to complicated, depending on which style is chosen.

Below are some basic steps to follow and things you will need to make a simple straight valance which does not require any extraordinary sewing skills and which you can also embellish according to your ability and creative inclination.

Step 1 - Measure The Width

Measure the width of the rod from which the valance is to hang, adding about 3 inches if the valance is just going to run dead straight across the curtain. If you would like the valance to have some gathering, increase the width by at least another 18-20 inches for lightweight fabrics, and double that for sheer fabrics, depending on how much gathering you want.

Step 2 - Measure The Length

Measure the length you want the valance to be and do not forget to add extra inches for hemming. The standard length for a valance is usually about 15 inches, but this depends on how long your window is, so keep proportions in mind for a balanced outcome. Remember the upper hem needs to accommodate the thickness of the rod on which the valance is to hang, so allow extra inches for a thick rod which has to fit easily but not loosely in its place. Record the measurements so you won’t get mixed up.

Step 3 - Cut The Fabric

Using the scissors, cut the material according to your measurements.

Step 4 - Sew The Seams

Start making up the upper and lower hems using pins and tailors’ thread, and finally stitch them with the sewing machine using the matching thread. Don’t forget to hem the sides of the valance first before doing the lower and upper hems.

Step 5 - Iron

Iron all the hems, preferably covering them with a damp clean cloth so you won’t get shine on the fabric. Sheer fabrics require more attention, as they are a bit tricky to sew more than thicker material, and a cool temperature when ironing is a must.

Step 6 - Finishing Off

Slip the rod in place in the upper hem and hang in place. Even out any gathering along the width of the rod and admire your handiwork.

Valances come in all styles and designs to match any interior décor; they can be lined but don't necessarily have to be. This is usually done with expensive material to preserve it from dust and the heat of the sun that might come through the window. Sunlight can wreak havoc on fabric, fading out its colors.

If you are more ambitious and your sewing skills are beyond basic, there are window dressing books with illustrations you can buy or borrow from a library, to get design ideas.

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