How to Make Ruffled Valance Curtains

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Making your own window treatments can save money and let you design a space that is truly you. A great way to start is with a valance -- a short curtain that can be hung over blinds or with other drapes. There are many types of valances and it’s fun to play around once you have some practice. This tutorial is for a ruffled top, gathered valance.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Pins
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Curtain rod
How to Make Ruffled Valance Curtains
How to Make Ruffled Valance Curtains (Image: Angie Diersman)

Supplies

Step 1

Depending on the size of your window, a valance can be made with as little as one yard of fabric and some basic sewing supplies. Please see the last slide for an itemized list of tools and materials.

Supplies
Supplies (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 2

The first step is to measure your window plus the overhang you want on each side. For this example, the window is 36 inches with a 3 inch overhang on the left and right side. 36 + 3 + 3 = 42 inches. To create a gathered look, multiply the total window measurement by 2.5.

42 x 2.5 = 105 inches. This is the total length of fabric you’ll need.

Measure the window.
Measure the window. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 3

If you want a seamless valance, you’ll need almost 3 yards of fabric for the above measurements. Or you can save money by using 1.5 yards of fabric and cutting it in half.

Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and cut along the fold. This will give you two pieces that need to be sewn together to create one long piece.

Cut the fabric.
Cut the fabric. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 4

Lay the first piece face up, fold in the right side 1/4 inch and press with a hot iron. If you’re having trouble making the fold straight, a little trick is to use a metal ruler. You can iron the fabric on top of the ruler to get your line. Remove the ruler and iron the fold again to lay flat.

Fold and press the first piece.
Fold and press the first piece. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 5

Lay the second piece face down, fold in the right side 1/4 inch and press with a hot iron.

Fold and press the second piece.
Fold and press the second piece. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 6

Now you have two folds that easily interlock with each other. Lay both pieces face up and slide the top fold into the bottom fold. Pin as you go.

Interlock the pieces.
Interlock the pieces. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 7

Sew the two pieces together, giving you one long piece.

Sew the pieces together.
Sew the pieces together. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 8

Hem the bottom and sides of the fabric so you have nice clean edges. Starting with the bottom, lay the fabric face down and fold in 1/4 inch and press. Repeat the fold once more and press to enclose the raw edge.

Press the bottom.
Press the bottom. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 9

Sew along the inside edge so the folds are secure.

Sew the bottom.
Sew the bottom. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 10

Repeat steps 8 and 9 for the left and right sides.

This leaves you with one raw edge along the top. Fold in 1/4 inch and press. Do not sew this part yet.

Finish the hem.
Finish the hem. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 11

Calculate the circumference of your curtain rod and how large of ruffle you want on the top. For this example, the curtain rod is about 1 inch and the ruffle is 3 inches. Add an additional inch to this measurement for seam allowance and gathering ease. Total is 5 inches.

With the fabric laying face down, take a ruler and measure 5 inches down from the top fold. Mark this all the way across the fabric.

Measure for the ruffle.
Measure for the ruffle. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 12

Fold in at the mark and press.

Measure 3 inches down from the top for the ruffle. Pin all the way across the fabric.

Pin the ruffle.
Pin the ruffle. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 13

Stitch along the pin line, taking the pins out as you go.

Sew the ruffle.
Sew the ruffle. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 14

The final stitch will be 1/8 inch from the inner folded edge. This creates the ruffle and the casing for your curtain rod.

Sew the rod opening.
Sew the rod opening. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Step 15

Slide your curtain rod through the middle opening. Gather as you go and adjust the ruffle as needed.

Finished Ruffled Valance
Finished Ruffled Valance (Image: Angie Diersman)

Tips & Warnings

  • When picking out your fabric, gather it in your hands to make sure the pattern will look good when it's ruffled.
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