What do you think of when you hear the phrase Pinch Pleat?
Do you think formal? stodgy? old fashioned? not my style?
Or do you think cute? neat and tailored?
I have to admit I understand the old fashioned perspective especially when phrased as “pinch pleat drapes”. Doesn’t do a thing for me. And there was a time when I didn’t like them at all but they’ve grown on me. I actually like the look of pleats on a window treatment and use them quite often.
Today I’m sharing a simple little pinch pleat (aka a three finger pleat) valance out of a shimmery aqua fabric with a contrasting band along the lower edge.
I’m even sharing all the how-to’s so you can create you own pleated window treatments!
I’m going to begin with the actual construction of the pleat.
See Below for details on figuring the yardage, fabric and distance between pleats.
- This valance has 1″ pleats.
- Each pleat will take 6″ of fabric.
- The first pin is placed 2.5″ from the edge of the valance to allow for a return (the distance from the back of the pleat to the wall).
- The distance between the 2 pins shown above (6″) will be our pleat.
Fold valance wrong sides together and line up pins. There should be 3″ from pin to fold.
Measure 3″ from the top of your valance and stitch together.
Open the fabric allowed for your pleat and “pinch” together forming 3 equal portions.
Pin or hold pleat in place…
and stitch from the edge of pleat back to the previous stitch line.
You now have a stitch 3″ down from the top of your valance and 1″ in from the front of the pleat.
Easy than you thought, right?
Here’s a view from the back side of the valance. I’m using pin hooks inserted on the back side of each pleat approximately 1/2″ from the top edge of the valance for rings.
Side Note: There are several different ways to construct window treatments in regards to hems…upper, lower and side hems. For this valance I sewed the lining to the upper and lower hems using a 1/2″ seam allowance leaving the sides/ends open. I Ironed the valance creating the correct upper and lower hems, and then folded the double side hems and blind hem stitched them in place. The contrasting band along the lower edge, also creating the hem, is 3″ high.
Details for Figuring Widths and Spacing for a Pinch Pleat Valance
Pinch pleated window treatments are figured at 2.5 to 3 times fullness. This means you take the width you’d like your finished valance to be and multiply by 2.5 or 3.
EXAMPLE – 36″ wide window
- 36″ x 2.5 = 90″ OR 36″ x 3 = 108″ — 2 widths of 54″ wide fabric.
The number of pleats as well as the distance between those pleats can vary. The valance can hang very straight and flat without any extra fullness between pleats or you can choose to include a bit extra for the valance to have more of loose appearance.
This valance has 9 pleats with 8 spaces in between at approximately 4.5 to 5″ each. This measurement HAS to equal the width of your finished valance/width of window or wider. In this case 36″. Example – 4.5″ x 8 spaces = 36″ OR 5″ x 8 spaces = 40″.
- 9 pleats x 6″ (54″) + 2 returns at 2.5″ each (5″) + double 1.5″ side hems (6″) + distance between pleats 8 x 4.5″ (36″) = 101″ Width of fabric before pleats & side hems.
- With 5″ between pleats for extra fullness – 54″ + 5″ + 6″ + 40″ (8 x 5″) = 105″
*You can adjust the number of pleats and/or the size of pleats in order to work with less fabric (or more fabric) if necessary. For instance you can use 7 pleats or your pleats could be 3/4″ or 1.25″ instead of 1″.
Valance is 18″ long using 2 widths of fabric and made to fit a 36″ wide window bedroom window. Fabrics purchased at Hancock Fabrics. Fancy display and photo studio aka two bar stools in my living room. 🙂
I am definitely seeing more and more pleats in window treatments these days. I personally prefer a casual, more relaxed pleat for my own home but love the look of these tailored more traditional pleats.
Which do you prefer?
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