NO-SEW (Seriously!!!) Window Valance

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As is often the case in my plenty perfect life, I have been living with a window valance in my upstairs bathroom – that, ahem, doesn’t exactly match the towels. I got all excited about my new bathroom towels about 6 months ago and never made a matching window treatment. Until now!

This is another one of my “No Sew” creations. Just so you know, I do know the correct way to make this window valance. If it were done right, it would be made with the proper lining, interfacing, invisible, hand-hemmed turn-backs, etc. – but this is a cheating version. Knowing the right way to do something is necessary to find the best ways to cheat – and I have lots of ways to cheat! – none of which will make you feel quite as frisky as an illicit affair or writing off a vacation as a business expense – but almost.

For this project, you will need:

1 yard of fabric

Stitch-Witchery

Scissors

Steam Iron

1” x 3” (approximately) board the length of your window casing

“L” brackets

Drill, screws

Staple gun, 3/8” staples

Note: Decorator fabric is usually at least 54” wide. If you want to make a valance for a window wider than about 36”, you will need to adapt this to fit your needs. Feel free to ask a question in the comments if you need more help.

Step 1: Press all folds and wrinkles out of your fabric.

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Step 2: With “wrong” sides together, fold fabric in half lengthwise OR fold it so that a few inches of fabric extends beyond the other.

The side that extends will be the “right” side or face fabric (the side which will show) and the side which is shorter will be the “wrong” side or the back of the valance (the side which will not show). Look at the side of the fabric which will show and make sure that you have folded the fabric at a place that looks good and that it makes a straight line across the pattern on the “right” side.

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Step 2: Press selvedges inward to the edge of the pattern on the fabric.

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Step 3: Use Stitch-Witchery to seal seams together on sides and across top.

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To seal the top seam, I used a lot of small pieces of Stitch-Witchery to conserve materials and because this seam will not show once it is stapled to the board.

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Step 4: Fold your fabric in half from selvedge to selvedge. Make sure that the center of your fabric is the center of the pattern showing on the “right” side. (My fabric was printed just slightly off, so I had to adjust my “center”.) Snip a small triangle of fabric from the fold at the top edge so you will know where your center is.

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Step 5: Measure your board, divide the length in half, and mark the center on your board.

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This is where you will start stapling.

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Step 6: Measure the width (the depth it will be sticking out from the wall) of your board. Subtract this amount from each side of your fabric and make a little mark or small cut with your scissors.

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Fold fabric back toward the “wrong” side at this measurement and press.

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The fabric between these two fold now has to be pleated to fit on your board. This does not have to be exact, but use the pattern of your fabric to dictate where your folds are placed so that it looks good on the “right” side.

You can use the board to help you work out the best place for your pleats in a trial and error sort of way or use a yardstick. I measured my fabric between the side folds and subtracted the length of the board. This told me that I had 12 inches of fabric to pleat, so I made a 3” pleat (which took up 6” of fabric) on each side of the center. I picked a spot for the pleats which worked with the pattern of my fabric.

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You can do several pleats, inverted or outward – whatever works with your fabric. I settled on one big box pleat in the middle. As long as it looks good, there is no wrong way to do this.

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Step 7: Once you have determined the best placement and depth for your pleats, press them with the iron.

Step 8: Begin stapling fabric to the board, starting at the center and moving toward the sides. The fabric should wrap around to the back side of the board.

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Stop stapling about 5” from the end of the board. This will allow you room to finish the ends.

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Step 9: To square off the corner, turn your board upside down and fold the fabric into a triangle (sort of like making a bed) and staple.

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Turn the valance “right” side out again. The corner of your fabric should be snug to the corner of the board and hang at a right angle.SONY DSC

Step 10: Screw in the “L” brackets to your window casing and then attach the valance. I find it is easiest if I put the “L” brackets up first, and then rest the valance on top to attach it.

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Step 11: Pour yourself a glass of wine, draw a nice warm bubble bath, and lay in the tub admiring your handiwork!

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…and how nicely your new window valance matches your bath towels!!!

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P.S. If you are having trouble keeping the sides squared to the window casing, your can make use of yet another one of my ways to cheat – use double stick tape to keep the sides from flapping out. No one will ever know!

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8 Comments

  1. Mary Evelyn Reply

    I’ve looked at all kinds of no-sew valences, but these are BY FAR, the best! I have a window in my living room that is basically three windows in one, so it’s about 7 feet in length. Would this type of valence work for that?

    • annie kip Reply

      Hi Mary Evelyn – thanks! Yes, this would work for a long window – just take each step slowly and carefully because you will be working with a lot of fabric. You might have to put another “L” bracket or two in the middle for support. You can make as many pleats as you want but one way to do it would be to create two pleats/three sections to complement the three windows below. Let me know how it comes out!

  2. Michell Reply

    These look great. I am trying to find an easy valance option for my kitchen windows. I have two corner windows over my sink that desparately need window treatments, but I have been struggling to find something that will work because they butt right up to each other in the corner. I love the look of this valance but don’t think I can do it because there is hardly any space where the 2 windows meet. Any ideas?

    • annie kip Reply

      Yes – these are super easy! Because you have a difficult window, the prep will take you the most time!

      You could make these valances on a very narrow board – if a 1×2 inch would fit for you. OR you could use the regular 1×3 inch board and miter the corners. You would make the valance the exact same way. I think the second option would look best!

      Feel free to email if you have specific questions I might be able to help you with!

  3. Kris Reply

    Ooh! I’m buying double-stick tape! That would work great on some of my valances.

    This looks terrific and I will keep the idea in mind for when I need a decor update (since, unlike Sara, I can only do a little hand mending. Ahem.).

    • annie kip Reply

      Yes – and the double-stick foam tape is good to have on hand too! This project only took about an hour (inlcuding the time it took to photograph it!). Let me know if you ever try it!

  4. Sara Tetreault Reply

    Beautiful! I love how this looks in your bathroom and even though I’m a sewer ;) I would have made them in a very similar fashion. Your fabric choice is excellent. Well done, Annie!

    http://gogingham.com

    • annie kip Reply

      Thanks, Sara! I was lucky to find such a complimentary fabric! If my machine were out all the time, I would probably use it more! Glad to know you would have done something similar!

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