When making a pleated valance, we first suggest that a pattern be made on paper. Six inches should be allowed for each pleat with space between each pleat of eight inches in width. Let?s assume, for example, that a valance is to be made into five pleats. It will be necessary to allow 30″ for the pleats. There are to be 6 spaces between the pleats of 8″ each, making a total of 48″.
The material needed at the two ends to turn the corners and reach the window trim should be at least 4″ on each end, making 8″ for two turnbacks. Add 1/2″ at each end for hems, making 1″ additional. The total width of material needed is 30″ plus 48″ plus 8″ plus 1″ = 87″. When the pleats are drawn together, as indicated in the illustration, the final width of the valance is 57″. The valance may be made smaller or larger by reducing or increasing the spaces between the pleats.
Most materials are not sufficiently wide for valances and have to be pieced. If a valance board is not used the 4″ for the turn-backs at the sides will not he necessary. In the latter case an inch or two on each side may he turned under or cut off, according to the width of the window or the inside corner blocks.
Valance boards should be about 4 inches wide and long enough to come to the edge of the window casing. The top of the valance board should be on the level with the upper edge of the window trim or casing. For a well finished effect, the board should be covered with lining similar to that used to line the material. The valance is then tacked on to the edge of the valance board.
If a curtain rod is to be used for the valance, triple rods may be purchased. The inner rod to be used for the glass curtains, the middle one for the over-draperies and the outside one for the valance. Valances may be attached to the curtain rod. Hooks are sewed on the back into the pleats when the pleats are being made. Extra hooks may be placed between the pleats which help to keep the heading upright. Rings are sometimes used instead of hooks and they are slipped over the rod.
After the paper pattern is completed, we would suggest cutting a model out of muslin or other cheap material, pin the pleats in place, try the model at the window to see how it fits and at the same time determine its height. The height of the valance is determined by the height of the window.
A good general proportion to follow is to make the valance one-sixth of the height of the curtain treatment. If the window is six feet and the curtains stop at the window apron, the valance should be twelve inches deep. If, however, the curtains go to the floor, the average height of a window from the top of the window casing to the floor is 9 feet, making the valance in this case 18″ deep.
The valance is lined by placing the right side of the lining and material together, cutting the lining so it extends 1/2″ beyond the material at the bottom. Stitch across the top and at the sides. Turn the valance inside out so that the wrong sides are together and baste across the lower edge, 1/2″ lining showing beyond the edge of the bottom of the material.
If a fringe or other edging is to be used, it is placed underneath next to the lining upside down so that the top edge of the fringe is even with the edge of the lining and will not be noticeable against any wood corner blocks. With the fringe and lining in position, stitch together, then turn the edge of the lining and fringe up over the front edge of the material and sew neatly together for these stitches will show on the back and front. Remove the basting threads that are left.
To make the pleats, draw the material together as indicated on the pattern where 6″ has been allowed for each pleat and baste together. The fold is then made into a box pleat or pinch pleat. A pinch pleat is made by gathering the 0″ fold together and dividing it into three small folds and sewing the three folds securely in place.
A box pleat is made by drawing the material together and getting the effect of a straight pleat as shown in the illustrations previously referred to. For making shaped valances, it is advisable to first make a paper pattern and place it in position in order to study its lines and proportions. For accuracy fold the paper in the middle and draw half of the design. Cut the other half by it.