How to Make a Gathered Valance to Finish Curtains

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A gathered valance is a soft, attractive way to finish curtains. It can be a short version of a curtain, or it can have a shaped lower edge. The valance can be decorated with binding, braid or another trimming to emphasize the curved shape of the bottom of the valance.

Calculating the fabric

A valance is usually fuller than the curtain – normally three times the length of the track or pelmet board. Measure the length of the pelmet board and add twice the return (the distance to the wall) and multiply by three to calculate the width. The length of a straight valance is one-sixth of the curtain length. Make the pattern before calculating the fabric for a shaped valance. Buy 1 m/1 yd contrast fabric for the binding.

You will need

  • paper pattern
  • fabric
  • contrast or toning fabric
  • 8cm/3in heading tape
  • lining
  • sewing kit

How to Make a Gathered Valance to Finish Curtains How to Make a Gathered Valance to Finish Curtains
Making the valance

You can make a valance with any style of Velcro curtain heading tape and make the lower edge straight or curved.

Join sufficient widths of fabric together to make a strip three times the width of the window. Adjust the depth of the pattern, taking the depth of the finished lower binding from the top edge. With right sides together fold the fabric in half. Draw around the pattern. Cut along the marked line.

Cut and join sufficient 13cm/5in-wide bias strips to fit along the curved edge of the valance. Press in the short ends. Fold the strip in half lengthways, wrong sides together and pin along the lower edge of the valance, raw edges aligned, beginning and ending 1,5cm from both ends. Tack (baste) the binding to the valance.

Cut the lining using the valance pattern and place it on top of the binding, right sides together. Stitch the side seams and along the lower edge, leaving 1,5cm seam allowance. Trim across the corners and turn through. Press the side seams and bottom edge.

Pin a 5cm/2in-wide strip of straight binding along the top edge of the valance and stitch, leaving 1.5cm seam allowance. Press the binding away from the valance. Fold in the ends, then turn the binding over to the reverse side.

Stitch Velcro heading tape to the top edge of the valance on the wrong side. Knot the tape cords at one end, then pull up the tape as far as possible. Ease out the gathers to fit the window.