This window treatment, which a friend and I dubbed the “Marsha” valance (named after the first client I created this style for), is just the thing if you like a simple and uncomplicated look for your windows.
While many of my designs are inspired by existing window treatments (aka – I copy them), I’d never seen a valance like this one when we dreamed it up. Then again, “there’s nothing new under the sun” – Ecclesiastes 1:9. 🙂
A very simple design, the main detail is the two pleated “bells” at the edge of each valance. While I’ve made this style several times now, I never seemed to remember exactly how to make the pleats! I needed to write this tutorial as much for myself as to share with you!
This valance hangs from two medallions/tiebacks. In the photo above, the medallions are placed directly above/even with the outer edge of the window alcove opening.
In this kitchen, we installed the medallions about 4″ past the wood trim.
This valance included a rick-rack style jute trim placed 5″ above the hem.
Width – Take the width of your window (or the width at which you plan to install your medallions) + 24″ for pleats (12″ per side) + 3″ to 5″ for droop = width of valance before folding pleats.
Example – 40″ (window) + 24″ (pleats) + 3″ (droop) = 67″ Valance WIdth
If valance will be wider than one width of fabric be sure to consider where your seam will be and match your pattern repeat.
Length – Can vary. Average valance is 18″ – 24″ in length.
Droop – This part is a bit tricky. I base the droop on the height at which I place the medallions compared to the top of the window. It also depends on the fabric used. The heavier the fabric the more it will tend to droop. For the first valance shown above I added about 2″ because we didn’t want much of a droop. For the second valance I didn’t add any extra fabric. The distance between the 2 loops/pleats is the same distance as between the medallions. The weight of the material automatically gave this valance the droop.
MAKING THE PLEATS
Once the valance is lined and hemmed it’s time to fold the pleats. This is where the additional 12″ on each side comes in to play.
1. Mark the valance along the upper edge, on each side, 2″ and 14″ in from the end.
2. Fold the valance lining up the two pins. You will have 6″ from the pins to the fold.
Secure in place, together.
3. Beginning at the folded edge, pin the valance at 1″, 3″ and 6″.
*The 6″ pin is the same place you lined up the 2″ and 14″ pins in the previous photo.
4. Stitch each marked section 2.5″ from the top edge of the valance.
This photo shows the first 1″ from fold being stitched in place 2.5″.
5. Repeat for 3″ and 6″ pin. Repeat on opposite edge of valance.
Here you can see each section stitched in place.
6. Begin to open each stitched section lining up the stitches to form the pleat.
7. Now it’s starting to make sense! As you fold, make sure the layers of the pleat are evenly spaced.
8. Pin or clip the pleat to keep it secure.
9. Make a 1/2″ wide loop by folding a 2″ wide strip of fabric in fourths and topstitching. Insert the loop within the layers of the pleat. Loops can vary in length. This one is 1.75″ long.
10. Stitch loops in place, securing pleat at the same time.
You may not be able to machine stitch all the layers of the pleats due to the thickness of the folded fabric.
11. Hand sew/stitch any loose layers. You will definitely need to do this if you choose a thicker fabric.
12. Iron pleats in place ONLY the length of the stitch lines – 2.5″
Cute and simple but not short on style!
The windows shown here frame the breakfast nook in this kitchen.
We used the same fabric paired with a beaded tassel trim for a different look above the kitchen sink. See more HERE.
More of this home and the Dining Room,
Thanks for the tutorial. I made a similar valance for my bathroom years ago and would like like make a new one. I like the way you made the pleat better than the way I did it so I will be book marking this post. I am so in love with all fabrics, especially home decor…sometimes I wish i had more windows and someone else to wash them.