How to Make Gathered Curtain Valances

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Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape

  • Fabric

  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat

  • Straight pins

  • Quilter's pencil

  • Iron

  • Ironing board

  • Sewing machine

If you can measure, cut fabric and sew straight seams, you can make a gathered valance. This project goes very quickly and is ideal for a beginner. The finished valance is gathered on the rod to create a soft top treatment for your window. Create a valance that matches your curtains, or experiment with fabrics in contrasting or complementary colors and prints. The results might even inspire you to make new valances for every season.


Step 1

Measure the width of your window. Add the amount of the return on each end of the rod (the curved part of the rod that meets the window frame). Double this measurement to allow for gathering, and add four inches for side hems.

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Step 2

Measure the length of your draperies. As a rule, a valance measures 1/6 the length of the draperies. To that 1/6 add 3 inches for a hem, 2 inches for the rod pocket and 2 inches for the header (the fabric that rises above the rod).

Step 3

Cut a piece of fabric according to your width and length measurements. If your fabric isn't wide enough, seam two or more pieces together. Remember to add 1 inch for each seam, which will give you a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Step 4

Press under 1 inch along one side of the fabric, and press under 1 inch again. Sew the side hem. Repeat on the other side of the fabric.


Step 5

Press under 1/2 inch on the bottom of the fabric, and press under 2 1/2 inches. Sew the hem.

Step 6

Press under 1/2 inch on the top edge of the fabric.

Step 7

Measure 3 1/2 inches from the top, and draw a line with a quilter's pencil across the width of the fabric at that measurement.


Step 8

Fold the fabric so that the pressed-under edge meets the line. Pin it in place.

Step 9

Sew along the pressed-under edge.

Step 10

Measure 1 1/2 inches up from the stitching line you just made, and mark it with a quilter's pencil.


Step 11

Stitch along the line you just marked. This creates the rod pocket and the header.

Step 12

Insert the curtain rod into the valance, hang the rod on the brackets and push the gathers into place.


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