How to Make Valances for Windows

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Lining fabric
  • Yardstick or tape measure
  • Curtain rod
  • Matching thread
  • Scissors

Window valances are short, gathered curtains hung from a rod at the top of a window. A valance can stand alone or be combined with shutters, blinds, sheers, lace panels or cafe curtains. Custom, lined valances can be made out of almost any fabric. Only a standard curtain or cafe rod is required to hang a valance, but wider specialty rods can also be used.

Measure the width of the window. Multiply this number by 3 for a full, gathered valence, or 2 for a loose, straight one. Add 6 inches to this number for side seams.

Measure from the curtain rod down to where you want the valence to end on the window, usually between 10 and 18 inches. Add 3 inches for the hem. Add 4 inches for a casing (or tunnel for the rod to go through) if you are using a standard curtain or cafe rod. If you are using a wide specialty rod, measure the thickness (all the way around) and add 1 inch for ease.

Cut the fabric to these measurements. The side seams of the valance should be parallel to the selvedge (bound) edges of the fabric for the valance to hang correctly. If the width from Step 1 is wider than the fabric's width, join two lengths of fabric together with a 1/2-inch seam.

Cut the lining to the same measurements, except subtract 3 inches from the width measurement. This will allow for the front fabric to wrap around to the back and hide the edge of the lining.

Sew the sides of the fabric to the sides of the lining in 1/2-inch seams with the right sides of the fabrics together. Since the lining is 3 inches narrower, the front fabric will wrap around to the back. Turn the valance right side out and press it flat. The front fabric should be folded 1 1/2 inches to the back on both sides.

Turn the valance inside out and sew the top edges with a 1/2-inch seam. Turn the valance right side out and press. Fold this edge down half of the casing measurement from Step 2. (This would be 2 inches for a regular rod.) Stitch the edge in place to form the casing (or tunnel) to put the curtain rod through.

Press both layers up 3 inches on the back to form the hem. Turn the raw edges under 1/2 inch and press. Sew the hem in place.


  • Measure your window before buying fabric. Fabric comes in different widths, but usually 45, 54 or 60 inches. Figure how much you would need for each before shopping to avoid making errors.


  • "Versatile Valances"; Donna Babylon; 1991

About the Author

Margaret Montet has been a freelance writer for five years and a librarian for 20. She has master's degrees in library science and music theory. She writes extensively about America’s oldest seashore resort, Cape May, N.J. Montet has published articles in "Edible Jersey," "The Traveler," "Twin Capes Traveller," "Chesapeake Family" and "Go!" on topics including medieval art, murder mystery dinner parties, cranberries and quilting.