How To Cut Fabric for Valance Curtains

Image of purple valance

A curtain valance is a piece of fabric that forms the topmost part of a curtain. This serves several purposes, but mainly to provide a highlight at the top of the curtain. Adding fabric valances is usually a good alternative to having a wooden valance covering the curtain rod itself. You can easily install fabric as valance material for your curtains. In some cases, you can cover the wooden base with fabric, for a cleaner look. The important thing here is getting the measurements right.

What you will need:

  • Tape measure
  • Yardstick
  • Scissors
  • Chalk or any fabric marker

Determine the length. The first thing you need to do is determine how long your valance fabric should be. Measure the height and length of your valance board. Remember to take the measurement of the width, too, which is the distance from the wall to the face of the valance board.

When measuring, you will need to measure the width twice (because you will need to cover both sides with fabric). So, for example, if the face or length of your valance board is 48 inches, and the width of each side is 6 inches, your total length would be 48 + 6 + 6 or 60 inches.

Add an allowance for the center pleat. Aside from the total length plus width measurement, you will need to add an allowance of about 10 inches for the center pleat. This will allow for a large center pleat.

Add an allowance for seams. Additionally, you would need to add an allowance of 1/4th of an inch for sewing seams at the side of the fabric valance.

Transfer your measurements to the fabric. You can use any fabric pen or chalk to mark your measurements on the fabric. You can use your yardstick for measurement, and to make sure your markings are straight.

Cut the fabric. Lay the fabric on a clean, flat surface and cut with sharp scissors along your chalk marks. You will need to make sure you make straight and clean cuts. After cutting, you will need to sew the seams at the side and bottom.

As an option, you might also want to add another layer of fabric to your valence. This should give you contrast and some highlight, which can be useful for adding a decorative touch to your curtains. When adding layers, make sure the topmost layer is shorter in terms of height, so that the bottom part of the inner layer is exposed.

Some notes:

Remember to wash the fabric before cutting it. Most fabrics will shrink after the first wash. You will most likely want to wash your valance fabric from time to time, so it will be a good idea to pre-shrink it before measuring and cutting.

You will also find it easier to measure and cut your valance fabric if you iron it prior to measurement. This will result in straighter cuts and easier measurements. Also, remember to practice caution when handling sharp objects like needles and scissors.


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