Schemes with valance window treatments

Valance window treatments are so adaptable that they can be used in virtually every room in your home.

You can keep them simple and plain, or enhance them with wonderful headings, trimmings and other embellishments. You can gather them, shape them and ruche them.

And you can make all these valances at home, with just basic sewing tools.

 

What makes a good valance?

Proportions

straight valance

A straight valance with a plain trim along the base

I know I keep harping on about proportions, but it really is a vital ingredient of getting your designs looking great.

So what depth should you make your valances?

As with cornices, a good guide is to have the overall depth about one fifth of the length of the curtains. Even where you have a shaped valance with the center section shallower than the sides, you can still keep the center to the same one fifth.

Some situations make it difficult to keep to this. If your window is close to the ceiling then it's quite acceptable to have the depth a bit less, like one sixth. When you do this, it's best to keep the headings and base quite simple.

I'd also suggest that if you use shorter depths you make sure the heading depth (pencil pleat, goblet, etc) is at least one third of the overall depth. If you don't, the valance will look top heavy and seem as if it's been forced into the confined space.

Here's a page with some valance ideas you can use for your valance window treatments.

Headings

box pleated valance

Box pleats with a flat 'yoke' at the top. Flat sections are useful if you want to keep the design simple.

Another of the great features of valances is that you can use different heading styles. And because the headings will always be on show, you can add to them by using ropes, trims, different colored threads, edgings and anything else you can think of.

Then there's the bottom of the valance. Here you can add trims, trimmings, fringes, braids, or just keep it plain.

Shape

Remember you can also shape your valance. This works well when you want to get away from all the horizontal and vertical lines in your room.

There are just a couple of points to remember.

  • Keep the shape simple. Usually having the sides deeper than the center so the shape forms an arch is all you'll need.
  • Keep the transitions gradual. Because of the gathered fabric in the valance, if there's a sudden change the folds in the bottom will look unsightly.

Fitting

Tip

One of the biggest mistakes made by non-professionals is to assume that to get great window treatments you have to make your designs complex.

In many cases adding fringes and braids can enhance the treatment. But don't ignore the attraction of an understated design.

Proportion and quality of making up are two of the most important principles of draperies.

My own preference for fittings for a valance window treatment is to use a mounting board. This will support both the track for the drapes, and the valance. It's a very secure way of supporting all the drapery.

You can also buy valance fittings which normally comprise two tracks, one in front of the other. The track nearest the wall supports the curtains, while the front track, which curves around the sides to the wall, supports the valance.

In my experience these are good for light window valance treatments. But drapery which uses a heavier fabric, and is lined and interlined is too heavy for this type of support.

Valances tend to move when just supported by a track or rail, especially when the curtains are moved. Because of its thickness, a board will prevent this from happening to the same extent.

See this page for more information on valance hardware.

Making

If you've already looked at the pages on making drapes or cornices, you'll see that the instructions for making valances are more or less the same. Think of a valance as just a short curtain, and you can see why the methods for how to make valances are nearly identical.

You can have your pleated headings as simple or complex as you like.

There are a number of way of hanging your valance for the best results.

Remember...

Valance window treatments are a very useful addition whenever you want to add some character to your window. They're easy to make, and can be adapted for nearly every style of furnishing.

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