Make Your Own Curtains with an Attached Valance
Attaching a valance to the top of curtains means that you can have the enhanced look of a double layer without the need for two tracks. This is especially useful where space is a premium.
There are a number of ways of adding a valance to the top of curtains. A separate valance can be added to the top of each curtain - this style is used when the curtains need to be opened and closed. When a single valance is attached across the top of a pair of curtains they will need to be held open with tie backs or hold backs as the heading is stationary. Both these styles of valance are usually unlined whether they are attached to lined or unlined curtains. This cuts down on the bulk of fabric along the top edge and can be used with most heading styles. They can be made to match, coordinate or contrast with the fabric of the curtains and to accentuate the edge of the valance, fringing or cord can be attached to the bottom edge. Another way is to make the curtains much longer than is necessary and turn the top over to represent a valance. Single or double layers of fabric are usually bound around the edges for this style.
The instructions below are for a single valance attached to a pair of curtains with fringing on the bottom edge.
- Fabric for the curtains
- Lining for the curtains
- Matching or contrasting fabric for the valance
- Matching thread
- Fringing, enough for the bottom edge
- Pencil pleat heading tape, enough for the flat width of both curtains
- Pair of tie backs and tie back hooks
Measuring and Estimating Fabric Quantities
For the Curtains
- Measure the track or pole and multiply by the fullness ratio. Divide this figure by the width of the fabric to be used and round up to the next whole number. This is the number of widths of fabric required.
- The number of widths of lining will be the same as the fabric.
- Measure the finished length required.
- To calculate the cut length, add 20cm (8") to the finished length for hem allowances. If patterned fabric is used, extra will be needed for pattern matching.
- The length of the lining will be the same as the fabric minus any extra for pattern matching.
- To calculate the amount of fabric required for the curtains, multiply the number of widths by the cut length.
For the Valance
- The flat width of the valance will need to be the same as that of both curtains to which it will be attached, adding 10cm (4") for side hems.
- The length should be approximately 1/6th of the finished curtain length, with a minimum of 15cm (6"). However, this can be adjusted to suit your own preference. To calculate the cut length, add 7.5cm (3") for the top and bottom hems to the finished length. If more than one width is required, extra will be needed for pattern matching where necessary.
- To calculate the amount of fabric required, multiply the number of widths by the cut length.
To calculate the total amount of fabric required, add the amount required for the curtains to the amount required for the valance.
Making the Curtains
- Cut the fabric to the required size for each curtain. If more than 1 width is required, join widths together with a flat seam making sure to add any half widths at the outside edges.
- Cut the lining 10cm (4") narrower and 7.5cm (3") shorter than the fabric. If more than one width is required, join widths together with a flat seam making sure to add any half widths at the outside edges.
- Turn up a double 5cm (2") hem at the bottom edge of the lining and stitch.
- Turn up a double 7.5cm (3") hem at the bottom edge of the fabric and pin.
- Lay the fabric on a flat surface, right side up, and lay the lining on top, wrong side up, so that the top folds of the hems are aligned.
- Pin the side edges together matching the raw edges. Stitch down each side edge, 12mm (0.5") in from the raw edges. Stitch down the length of the lining but do not stitch through the hem allowance on the fabric.
- Turn right side out, rolling 2.5cm (1") of fabric to the wrong side at each side edge.
- Mitre the corners of the hem on the fabric and slipstitch the hem in place.
Making and Adding a Valance to a Pair of Curtains
- Cut the fabric to the required length. If more than one width of fabric is required, join widths together with a French seam. Make sure to add any half widths to the outside edges and match the pattern where necessary.
- Turn in a double 2.5cm (1") hem down both side edges and along the bottom and pin. Mitre both bottom corners, stitch the hems in place and press.
- Pin the fringing along the bottom edge, close to the fold, turning in 2.5cm (1") at each end to neaten. Backstitch in place.
- Place the valance on a flat surface, wrong side up.
- Place both curtains on top, wrong side up, matching the outside edges. Make sure the curtains butt together in the centre and the top edges are aligned.
- Turn down 2.5cm (1") at the top edge and press.
- Free the cords at both ends of the heading tape.
- Place the heading tape along the top edge, close to the fold, on the wrong side. Turn under 2.5cm (1") at each end to neaten and pin.
- Place a cord tidy bag under the bottom edge of the heading tape, 5cm (2") in from each outside edge.
- Stitch the heading tape along both edges, through all thicknesses. Work both lines of stitches in the same direction to avoid puckering, attaching the cord tidy bags.
- Pull up the cords on the heading tape from both ends, to the required width, and secure them with sliding loops. Roll up the excess cords, place them into the cord tidy bags and adjust the gathers evenly.
- Insert curtain hooks into the heading tape and hang.
- Fix the tie back hooks at a convenient height at each side of the window.
- Drape the curtains, adjust the folds and hold in place with the tie backs.
- Insert curtain hooks into the heading tape and hang.
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