How to Make a Swagged Valance

Create a custom look with ribbons, complementary fabrics, and these step-by-step instructions.

A fabric panel bordered with a coordinating pattern makes for a great-looking valance, especially when it’s tied with ribbons that add a soft swag to the bottom edge. Here’s how to do it:

Materials and Tools:

fabric (two coordinating patterns)
measuring guide
1x4-inch mounting board
staple gun
ribbon (optional)
sewing machine or sewing needle


1. Cut the fabric to the necessary width to cover the window, or split an additional panel and sew it to the sides of the main fabric piece to gain the necessary measurement. Generally, the width required is the exact width of the finished treatment plus side seams and returns, while the length is the length of the window plus how high above the window you’re planning to mount it, which is usually about 4 inches. Be sure to add a top and bottom seam and the width of the mounting board, which is usually 3½ inches, to the length measurement. Cut or sew a piece of lining to the same measurements.

2. Cut three trim pieces 4½ inches wide and as long as is needed to cover the width and length of the topper, making sure to add an additional 4 inches to the side trim pieces and 8 inches to the bottom one to allow for mitered corners. The finished bands will be 3½ inches wide (the same width as the mounting board, which gives the finished treatment a neater look).



3. Pin the bottom trim strip with right sides together to the topper, making sure to leave 4 inches projecting over the edge at both ends. Sew the trim piece on, stopping ½-inch from each end of the main fabric piece. Add the trim pieces to the sides (leaving 4 inches extra at the bottom), again stopping ½-inch from the bottom corners. Be sure to stitch the side trim pieces to the main panel only, not to the bottom trim piece, in order to miter where the two pieces come together.



4. To create the miter, fold the entire panel as needed to create a triangle, with the overlapping trims forming a point. Follow the fold with a pencil and mark the stitching line on the back side of the trim. Pin the trim in place and stitch along the line. Repeat on the other bottom corner.

5. Repeat the process by adding trim pieces in the same coordinating fabric to the lining, and then iron all the seams toward the trim pieces after mitering the bottom corners.

6. Pin the face and lining panels with right sides together and sew all the way around, leaving about a 12-inch opening at the top. Turn the panel right side out. Carefully work around the valance to iron the edge seams as flat and straight as possible. Sew the seam closed at the top and staple the topper to a fabric-wrapped mounting board, wrapping the corners as neatly as possible.

7. Use coordinating ribbons or ties made out of the trim fabric to tie the sides up.



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