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How to Make an Empire Valance

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The empire valance is a formal window treatment created from at least two swags and three trumpets. The valance pieces attach to the hook-and-loop tape that is already affixed to the box board. The elements of the empire can be customized to your own decor and tastes. Creating the empire valance requires careful planning.

Things You'll Need:

  • Measuring Tape
  • Sew-On Hook-And-Loop Tape
  • Pins
  • Contrasting Fabric
  • Fabric

Make the Valance

Measure the box board width and add one yard. This is your valance fabric width. Lay the fabric on the floor, divide the width into quarters and place three marks to divide the quarters. The left outside mark is A, the right outside edge mark is B.

Draw a 15-inch line straight down from A and mark this position. Measure outward 4 inches from the end of the 15-inch position and place a mark. Draw a diagonal line from A to the 4-inch mark.

Measure the diagonal line and divide by five. These are your fold mark intervals. Place four marks along the diagonal line at these intervals. For example, if the diagonal line is 20 inches, divide by five. The answer is 4 inches. Place four marks 4 inches apart along the diagonal line. These marks are called C, D, E and F.

Cut the valance fabric and create the folds. Pick up the fabric at C and pin it to A at the top of the valance. Pick up the fabric at D and pin it to A. Repeat for E and F. Secure the folds with a stitch through all layers at point A.

Hem with a 1/4-inch hem. Repeat for second valance.

Make the Trumpets

Make a cone to the width and the length you want the trumpet to be plus 1 inch wider and 1 inch longer. Cut one cone front and one cone back from fabric. Cut one front and one back from contrasting fabric the same size.

Place the fabric cone back on a table, right side up. Place a piece of sew-in hook-and-loop tape 1/2-inch from the top edge and stitch in place. Position the fabric cone front on top of the back with right sides touching. Pin in place.

Stitch the side edges. Turn right side out. Repeat for the contrasting fabric, but do not turn.

Insert the fabric cone inside the contrasting cone. Match the bottom edges and seams. Pin and stitch the bottoms together. Turn right side out.

Turn the top edges of the fabric and contrast fabric inward 1/2-inch. The loop tape will be along the top edge. Slipstitch the edges together.

Make two more trumpets. Position one trumpet between the valance and one at each end. Hang the trumpets and valances to the box board with the hook-and-loop tape.


If your trumpets will be large, use a fusible webbing to help them hold their shape.


  • Avoid bulky fabrics for these valances, they will not hold their shape. Choose soft fabrics such as cotton.
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