House For Six

DIY Window Valance and How to Fake a Box Pleat

Deme Crinion2 Comments
Yesterday I shared our window updates to the kids' room.  We got rid of the curtains and installed Levolor shades from Lowes.  Love the difference!  But we still needed to dress the windows somehow. 

On a shopping trip to Hobby Lobby, I wandered over to their fabric selection.  I've never purchased fabric from there before and I was so excited to see they carried a seersucker striped cotton!  In three different colors!  I snatched up 2 yards of each color.  I originally planned to do the light blue in the boys room but it looked a little too "baby".  The navy/dark grey stripe was perfect.  It pulled some of the grey colors from Sully's bedding and balanced the room well. ๏ปฟ

๏ปฟI wanted the stripes to run vertical but of course they ran horizontal and the fabric was not wide enough to cover the 58 1/2 inch window.  So I decided to cheat and faked a box pleat.  This was my first attempt at a valance and aside from my less-than-perfectly-straight stitches (don't look too close), I'm really happy with the result!.  We went from this:

To this:

Much cleaner, more streamlined and less of a trouble zone for the kids. 

Want to know how I cheated?  Here's the scoop....

This particular fabric was a little difficult to work with since it tends to be wrinkly and pucker but the stripes helped me out.  I began by cutting off all the raw edges and ensured I had 4 straight sides.  (Since my sewing machine was a freebie, I invested in a cutting mat and decision ever!)

Next it was time to cut my pieces.  Here's my poor man's math equation: 

58 1/2" (window space)
1" (outside seams)
1" (inside seams)
5" (2 sides {2 1/2" each} of the valance rod)
1" (for where I planned to place the rod - a 1/2" to the outside of the window frame)

Total: 66 1/2"  long

I wanted the valance to be 15" wide at the end, so I added 3" for the rod pocket and 1" for seams on the bottom.

Total: 19" wide

Since my fabric was too short and needed to use 2 pieces to cover the length.  I divided that length # above in half so the "pleat" would end up centered. 

I ended up with (2) 33 1/4" x 19" panels

I cut a smaller panel 6" x 19" wide (this will be the piece of fabric behind the"pleat")

Obviously my iron got a workout with this fabric...

Next, I sewed all the edges with a 1/2" hem on all sides except for one of the long 33 1/4" sides on each of the larger two panels and one 6" side on the smaller panel.

Next I used my cutting mat grid lines to line up the small 6x19" panel, and then I over lapped one of the larger panels over half of it (so 3" in), making sure that the bottom hemmed edges were even.

I used two pins to secure these pieces in place at the top, then took it to my machine and sewed them together, only going down about 2" then back up.  

I did the same thing with the other panel - placed the short edge of the large panel 3 inches over the small panel so that it lined up evenly with the adjoining large panel and with all the bottom seams.  I attached it at the top and then had this:
The short sides of the larger panels lay right next to each other. (Now if you wanted this to look more like a true box pleat, you could fold over those edges in the middle so the hemmed seam is underneath...just account for the extra couple inches when figuring out your measurements before cutting!)

They are attached to the small back panel at the top only

All edges are even and flush at the bottom:

The next step was creating the pocket for the curtain or valance rod.  Ensure all of your panels are even and aligned as they would be when finished.  Simply fold over the top (raw edge) down 3". Again I used my mat and grid ruler to ensure I had an equal 3" all the way across and pinned as I went.  3" was plenty generous for this part...most rods will specify on the package what size pocket they will just create yours to fit. 

And there she is!  You can hand stitch the very top corner where the two panels meet if you don't want them to separate. 

At this point I put it on the rod and realized I wanted it a tad shorter.  I ended up taking up my 1/2" hemmed bottom edge another 1 1/2".   

A super easy way to merge two pieces to get the coverage you need without looking like there was an "oops" in the measurements :)   Happy sewing!