Friday, August 14, 2009

Simple Tailored Valances

Here's a little window valance I poofed up for my living room. I did sew and line them, but I think it would be easy to do them as a "mistreatment"* (if you're not familiar with that term then get thee to Nesting Place and do some reading up 'cus you're missing out, sister!)

I was inspired by these valances shown in the Dec. '08 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. This room was designed by Rozlyn Cmiel of Cobalt Interiors. Sorry the pic isn't great, it's been a pretty well-loved magazine page!

I don't know what it is about these valances for me, they just look so sweet and pretty without being too fussy. I guess I'm just a sucker for a pleat. I also like that they sort of have the shape of a tie up shade, but without the tie.

Anywhoo... on to the how-to:

The basic construction is super easy.

I bought two yards of this striped silk taffeta fabric at Joann's for $12/yard. I usually try to spend less than that for fabric, but since I only needed 2 yards and the colors were so perfect I splurged. Isn't it lovely? It has such a lovely sheen and crispness that holds the shape nicely. You definitely want a fabric with a little body for these to turn out right, anything too flimsy won't look the same.

  1. I cut the length in half which left me with two rectangular pieces of fabric that were each 54" wide (the length of the bolt) and 1 yard long.

  2. For the lining I cut two more pieces in the exact same dimensions from an old sheet.

  3. Line up each silk piece with a lining piece, right sides facing each other (I didn't pin them together, but if you're new at sewing and don't trust yourself to hold the pieces together neatly while you sew, pinning is probably a good idea)

  4. Each fabric/lining piece will be hung lengthwise. Stitch around three sides of each fabric/lining piece leaving the long top side open.

  5. Turn each rectangle inside out and press around the sides. Now you have two lined pieces that are open on top.

  6. Stitch across the open top of each piece.

*If you wanted to skip the sewing and do these as a mistreatment you could just buy twice as much fabric, use a 2 yd length on each window, press in half and inch or so on the sides, then double the length up in half, which encloses the bottom and sort of self-lines the valance. Make sense? Cost was the main factor keeping me from just doing it this way myself.

Now on to hanging them...

Here's a photo of the backside. I probably shoulda taken some pics before I hung these, but I'm way to scatterbrained for that...

I could have done this the "right" way and attached my fabric to a cut-to-size piece of wood and affixed that to the wall, but that just seemed like a lot of work to me.

I used a plain old cheapo white curtain rod/bar thingie that I already had lying around in my basement. You know, like this jobbie.

It looks like I hung two, but it's actually just one long bar.

I attached it to the wall a bit higher than the window (I love to hang my rods as high as the next girl, but be careful here, you have to make sure that when you fold up the bottom of the valnce, you won't expose the top of your window) and just slightly wider than my window.

After screwing the little brackety thingies (sorry about all my technical terms...) to the wall and making sure my bar was level-ish and mostly where I wanted it to be, I put a piece of tap over the spot where the two pieces of the bar slide open to hold it at the right size- make sense?

Then I took the bar down from the brackety thingies to attach the fabric.

Here's where the "mistreatment" part comes in. The nester's gonna love this... No, your eyes haven't decieved you. That silverish color you spy in the photo above is in fact duct tape. Yup, that's right, my pretty silk window treatments are duct taped to a cheapo curtain rod and they still look pretty. Thank you very much! Ha!!

Oh, and one more thing, the cute little fold-up part at the bottom is held in place with- get this- one straight pin on each side hidden inside the pleat. HA-HA!!

In case anyone's wondering, these have been in place in my home for several months with my sweet little kiddos running around and touching the blinds and they're still perfectly secure.

If you still care to know the sordid details, read on.

  1. Make a little mark smack-dab in the middle of the curtain rod.

  2. Grab one lined panel and a piece of duct tape.

  3. Take the top left corner of one panel, fold it over the top of the left side of the bar and tape it in place.

  4. Take the top right corner of the same panel. Check the depth of your curtain rod (you know, the lenth of the bent-back side part of the bar). Fold back the right side of your panel roughly that amount and tape it to itself. Then fold that part over the top of the bar lining up with the center mark on your curtain rod and tape. Now both top corners of the panel are attached to the left half of the bar.

  5. Find the mid point on the bar between the two corners of fabric (one quarter of the way across the bar). Take the top center of the panel up and over the bar and tape at that point.

  6. Now for the cutie little pleats. Smooth the panel in from the sides roughly 6" or so on each side and tape to the bar. There's really no rhyme or reason here, just decided what you like and be consistent on both sides.

  7. Now take the last unfastened portion on either side of the center, pull it back toward the sides (over the part that you already taped roughly 6" in) and tape to the bar. Now everything should be pretty much in place on the bar. Add a little more tape for security.

  8. Mirror steps 2-7 on the right side of the bar.

Now for the bottom:

  1. Fold up the bottom hem like an accordion. Mine have 5 folds about 2 1/2-3" wide.

  2. Use one straight pin hidden in each side pleat to pin the folds in place.

  3. Hang the rod back on the brackets.

  4. Froof as you see fit.

Wow, that explanation was waaaaay longer than I thought it would be and it still seems a bit unclear. If I've confused the heck out of you please drop me a line and I'll take my valance down and take more pics.



  1. I bookmarked this - thank you for the clear instructions!

  2. Great job on the valances and they look just as pretty your inspiration pic.
    I also see your set up with your two couches. Looks great! You have a nice seating group set up there. I vote you keep both sofas in there.

  3. They look AWESOME.
    I started a new KNOCK OFF KNOCK OUT party and I bet you have some things to put in the party-it's every Monday. I would love to have you submit this idea next Monday. I hope you come over and become a follower and subscribe and I will do the same.
    Its So Very Cheri

  4. Lovely, definitely worth the splurge!

    I have a poll up on my blog about my BIGGEST decor dilemma. Come on over and vote, I need all the help I can get!


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