Sewing Decorative Trim to Valances


Valances dress up a window and can add style. Adding trim to a valance is like choosing the right jewelry and accessories for an outfit because it can make or break the appearance. Decorative trim includes braids, cords, fringes, tassels, lace, ribbon, beads and crystals that are all available in a huge range of colors, thicknesses and sizes. Choose a trim that adds to the overall appearance of the valance and is an appropriate weight and color to either co-ordinate with, or complement, the colors in the valance and drapery panels.

Braids and Cording

  • Decorator cord can add a sophisticated touch. The easiest type to sew to the valance is the type that is attached to a flat tape. This type of cord or braid can be sewed without pinning first, and it is actually easier to handle without pinning. Use the zipper foot or specialized cording foot on your sewing machine. Place it against the edge of the valance and keep it smooth along the seam line. It will bunch up a little on inside curves of a scalloped valance and will need to be stretched to flare around outward curves. Avoid having to clip the tape to make it follow a curve, as this can start to unravel quickly. If you do have to clip braid to get it to lie straight, then use a seam sealant.


  • Lace can be used to trim valances in areas where you want to give a soft, feminine decorating touch. Choose lace trim with a bound edge that is pregathered, and make sure it does not look too flimsy against the fabric. Lace is best stitched by hand to the inside of the valance, but if you do not mind a visible edge you can use a sewing machine. The overall effect will be less fine, so it is worthwhile spending the time and effort on careful hand stitching.

Fringes and Tassels

  • Trim edged with fringes, bobbles and tassels is usually attached to a decorative tape which can be placed of the front of the valance. Lay it against the valance and decide how far down to place it so that the fringe extends below the valance and the tape sits on top of the fabric. Pin it in place so that you keep the bottom edge of the trim flat as it follows round curves. You can stitch it on by hand or using a sewing machine. Leave 1/2 inch at each end and cut the fringes or tassels off before turning the end back under the tape and sewing down. Wide trim will require sewing at the top and bottom.

Beads and Crystals

  • Crystals can be individually sewn onto scalloped valances on the edge of each center dropped area to provide some sparkle. Crystals and beads can be bought on draperies that are pre-attached to decorative bias tape, which can be used as a trim by sewing directly on the valance by machine or hand. Beaded trim can also be attached by stringing the beads onto a nylon bead cord and sewing this directly onto the edge of the valance, by hand stitching every few beads along the length. Beads can also be sewn individually in a pattern on the valance to add character. Consider making scatter cushions for the room that match your valance.

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