Valances are decorative finishes for the tops of drapes. For
rooms with low ceilings, start valance at ceiling. A simple
valance has already been described.
Circular, pleated and gathered flounces can be used for
attractive valances. A casing is made at the top for the
outer rod on which the valance is placed. Valances are
usually lined. They may even be sewn onto the top of the
curtain or drape for an informal room.
Other valances are
sewn onto stiff boards or wood. Sometimes these are called
cornices to distinguish them from soft valances with no
stiffening in the back. The boards are cut straight or are
shaped (some hardware stores or timber yards will cut out
wood pieces to your measurements), and are attached to the
window frame with brackets. The depth is usually from six to
twelve inches (15 to 30 cm).
The fabric, either matching or contrasting, is
cut to fit the board, plus one inch seam allowance all
around. Cut lining piece and stiffening to size without
seam allowance. Fold back seam all around on valance piece
and press, creasing sharply. Insert stiffening under
turned-back edges and baste. Turn in edges of lining ½
inch and place over valance, wrong sides together (lining
will be a little smaller than valance), and baste edges
together. Whip a piece of twilled tape to top and tack
tape over the top of the wood board, using ordinary
The valance should
go straight across the board and around back to the wall.
These two short side sections are called the returns. Allow
fabric for this when cutting.
Valances may be quilted, decorated with appliqué, ball
fringe, or braid. They may be scalloped at the bottom, using
a pattern made out of paper to shape the scallops. Read
directions for making scalloped flounce on our
For swag effect, use
a width of fabric with ends cut diagonally. Hem edges and
drape over tie-back pins or through rings. Experiment before
cutting to get proper effect.
Valances give that warm feeling. It is like the icing on the
cake on your window treatment.