I’m always on the lookout for inexpensive fabric choices. Most of the valances in my house come from vintage printed sheets from second hand stores, where you can buy quite a bit of fabric for not very much money. My preference for window hardware is inexpensive, too. I like to use the tension rods that fit right in the window box — they are about $3 to $5 to $8, depending on the size. There are two added benefits of using tension rods instead of curtain rods — 1) there are no brackets involved to mark up your walls and 2) brackets often fall out because there is rarely a stud in the right place to anchor them.


Finished Size: 12 inches deep (length) and the width of your window

Needed Materials

  • Sufficient fabric of your choice (Step 2 helps you determine how much you need)
  • Matching thread
  • Tension tod or other window hardware that spans across your window size

1. Measure width of window.

2. Determine needed dimensions of fabric for valance.

  • width — about twice the width of the window, plus one inch for seam allowances
  • length — 15 inches, which includes 2-1/2 inches to make the rod casing and 1/2 inch seam allowance on the bottom edge

Example: For a window that is 45 inches wide, needed fabric dimensions are 91 by 15 inches.

3. Cut fabric.

If necessary, cut multiple pieces that together will equal the needed width, adding an extra inch to each piece for seam allowances, if possible. You may do one of two things with these pieces. You may sew them separately as valance panels. Or you may sew them together at the beginning to make one long valance panel.

Example: Cut 2 rectangles that are 46-1/2 by 15 inches. However, if fabric is only 45 inches wide, cut rectangles that are 45 by 15 inches. This isn’t an exact science; a missing inch or two will not affect the overall result significantly.

4. Zig zag or serge along all raw edges. Any salvage edges may be left as is.

5. Fold the short sides under 1/2 inch, wrong sides together. Pin in place and seam close to the edge. You only need to turn these edges under once, since they have either a salvage edge, or a zig zag or serge finished edge.

6. Fold bottom long edge under 1/2 inch, wrong sides together. Pin in place and seam close to the edge. Once again, only turn the edge under once.

7. Fold top long edge over 2-1/2 inches. Pin in place. Seam 1/2 inch from the edge. Seam 3/4 inches away from the fold.

8. Press and hang in window. Use desired window hardware, spreading out the fullness and arranging as you desire.

Note: Adjust the seam positions in Step 7 to adjust for wider window hardware. This pattern assumes needing a 1-1/4 inch casing.

© Copyright 2006 by Wardee Harmon. Used with permission from the author.

Would you like to see more valances in my house? Click here.