The easy guide on how to make a valance

Once you learn how to make a valance you'll be able to use these skills for many situations. Valances can be simple or complex, plain or embellished with accessories, straight or curved at the base. Both large and small windows can benefit from a valance. Not only are they easy to make, but they're simple to fix in position.

Prepare the fabric and linings

valance componentsFabric and linings ready to join

For this example of how to make a valance we'll make a straight valance with lining and interlining. We'll also trim it at the top and bottom with a contrasting fabric.

Note: the illustrations are not to scale. In practice the width will be much greater than the depth.

Assemble enough of your main fabric to give the fullness you need. Try to make it the same as your curtains. Then get enough lining and interlining, and fabric for trimming.

Remember to have one complete width of the main fabric in the center and work outwards. In this example we'll use two widths, so a half width is joined on either side of the central width.

The exception to this is if the pattern is very dominant and you need to go by the pattern rather than the widths. This page on cornices explains this in more detail.

Don't forget to allow enough fabric for the returns.

Join your lining the same way. The interlining can be run crossways so you don't have any joins.

valance fabric seamsFabrics seamed together

Seam up the fabrics, as shown in the illustration. All these seams can be done by machine. Press the seams so the edges lie back flat.

For this example the trim at the top will be less than that at the bottom, which is why the trims are different depths.

Sewing the valance and linings

valance fabric & interliningThe interlining in position

Place the joined fabrics on the table, and lay the interlining in position. (Remember that the interlining should be cut to the exact size of the finished valance.) You don't need to interlock the interlining as you did when making up drapes, because the heading will keep it in place.

Fold the sides over and pin them in position. Fold the lining over and press the bottom hem line.

When you come to pin the lining on the sides, work it in just a fraction, so it can't be seen from the front.

Fold the top over and press the top heading.

Sew the lining along the sides and top using a slip stitch.

flat valance panelThe flat panel for the valance seen from the front

Here is the finished panel seen from the front. The dark lines show the seams, but in practice these will hardly be noticeable.

How to make a valance - the heading

You can now complete the heading using your choice of style. You'll find more details in the heading section.

If you plan to use a valance track, they normally come with hooks which you can insert into styling tape. So using a styling tape with pockets for your heading will make it easy to insert these hooks. You can either use the machine sewing method or the hand sewing one.

When using a mounting board, you can sew one part of the Velcro (usually the smooth part) onto the back of the heading, and staple the hook part onto the front of the board.

Not using interlining?

If you're not using interlining, you just ignore it, and carry on sewing the lining along the top and sides.


And that's about it on how to make a valance. I hope these instructions have shown that it's something anyone can do successfully. They are one of the easiest and satisfying ways of adding style to your draperies.

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