Saturday, August 4, 2012

A "How-To" Box Pleat Valance Tutorial

Happy Saturday! 

Well, I'm back today to {finally} write up a "how to" post for making your own simple Box Pleat Valance. I always have great aspirations of writing more than 2 posts a week, however life always seems to get in the way!!!

As I wrote on Tuesday,  the valance in the command center is up and it was a fairly easy project that Jill and I completed in about 3 hours. I say fairly easy, but I didn't do any of the sewing. I don't know how to sew, {it's on my life's "learn how to do..." list}, although Jill gave it her best shot of describing each step as she was doing it! But for someone like Jill who knows how to sew, it's a fairly easy project!

I'm warning you now...this is a long post :)

The supplies you will need:

Sewing machine, iron, staple gun, tape measure, fabric scissors, chalk, pins, thread, and an L-shaped ruler.
{Hopefully you don't really need the pliers-I think we used them to take out a staple gone wrong!}
 The other very important supply you'll need that I don't have an individual picture of is lining for the valance and the valance fabric itself

Most likely your valance will be long enough to come into the window {it should be: at least 2"-3" minimum} so you'll want the fabric lined when the light shines through the window. Anything with a good amount of polyester will work fine. If you do 100% cotton, and the window gets a lot of sun, the lining will eventually get eaten up by the sun. The one I ended up finding was about 70% polyester and 30% cotton. 

Supplies for mounting the valance:  

2"x4" piece of wood
I got mine at Home Depot and they cut it the size I needed for free. They will do two free cuts per piece of wood purchased.
And a calculator doesn't hurt :) 

The length of the wood should be the length of the finished valance. I wanted mine a couple inches wider on each side of the window in the command center. 

Here we go! 

Iron the fabric

Determine the number of pleats for your valance.

We decided on 2 pleats, so 3 sections of flat fabric. My board was 42" wide. We factored in  8" per pleat, an additional 3" on each side for the depth of the board {to wrap around the "return" or the side of the board}, 1/2" for the 1/4" hem on each side and about a 1/2" for each end to wrap around the back of the board, equaling 65.5" total in length.  The fabric will wrap around the top of the board as well as the sides. You will need just a tad of extra width {that last 1/2" on each side} to wrap around the sides of the valance to the back of the board to staple it securely. 

We also decided the valance should be 14" high when finished, and the board depth was 3", so we added an additional 3" for the fabric to wrap over the top of the board. Make sure to also add the hem width to the overall length. The hem all the way around should be about 1/4"-1/2". For this valance, the overall length we cut the fabric was a total of about 18".

Measure twice... 

Cut once :)

*the best way to cut fabric is to keep it flat and not to cut it up in the air*

Pin the fabric face down to the lining.
{This will make a bit more sense in a few steps.}

Cut the lining to the size of the fabric.

Sew all the way around the outside but leave a small pocket opening that is not sewn together. 

Allow just enough of an opening to be able to pull the fabric through right side out. When you flip it right side out, all the seams will be on the inside.

Trim off all the corners above the sewn hem. 

This way, when you flip it right side out {I'll explain in the next step} there won't be too much fabric gathered in the corners.

Turn the entire piece inside out through the opening. 

Give it another good once over with the iron, making sure all the edges line up and are nice and flat. Then sew a top stitch all around the edge of the fabric.
This will take care of the small opening that was left to pull the fabric through in an earlier step.

{ I didn't get a shot of this step. I have no idea what I was doing, but I wasn't paying attention at this moment! I had no idea Jill even did this step!!!} 

Time to measure for placement on the valance board.

Fold over the fabric and mark the center of the fabric. Measure and mark the center of the board as well. Then measure and mark half that on both the fabric and the board to get to the center of where the pleats will go and mark that on the board as well.

Add approximately 2" on each side of the pleat and pin together. That accounts for your total of 8" per pleat as mentioned earlier. This is a little bit of trial and error. We had to re-do this step a few times as we measured and pinned for the pleat and then held it up to the valance board.  It either didn't quite wrap around each end or it wrapped around one side too much.

This is how it should look once it's all pinned together.

Pin down the pleat as well to make it easier to sew.

You'll want to sew down the pleat a good 6" or so.

Jill sewed on each side of the pleat to stitch the pleat secure.

We just tied the thread in a knot on the back side to finish it off.

Are ya still with us?!?!? Told you it was long!!!
Time to start stapling!

Lay the board flat on it's deeper side. Staple on each side of the pleat. 

 The fabric will fall over the top of the board and down. This way, the top of the board is covered with fabric and you don't see the exposed board.

Then wrap the fabric around the corners all the way around to the back of the board.

{We kind of forgot to add extra width like I mentioned above that would be needed for wrapping it around the back to staple it securely. We cheated and shorted the right side of the valance a bit because in my case, you wouldn't ever see the right side of the valance. But, if you will have the valance visible on both sides, make sure not to forget to add about an additional 1/2" for each side to secure the sides to the back of the board.}

Line it up and staple the side piece on the back of the board.
{Didn't get a picture of where we stapled it on the back where Jill's hand is}.

Ta Da!!!

After it was all assembled and delivered home safely, I ironed it again before it was hung

Stay tuned for next week's post on how I hung the finished product! If you have any questions on what we did to make this valance or if there are any steps that are unclear, please feel free to ask away in the "Comments" box at the end of this post and we'll be sure to respond! 

Have a great weekend!

linked up to:
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia


  1. This is the BEST tutorial I've seen. Looking forward to making my own valance this week. Thanks!!

    1. Thanks! We'd love to see the finished product!

  2. Wonderful tutorial! I have been looking for a good detailed tutorial - I am planning on making a very similar valance sometime this week. I will post it on my blog:

  3. Wonderful tutorial! I have been looking for a good detailed tutorial - I am planning on making a very similar valance sometime this week. I will post pictures on my blog!

    1. Glad it could help! Send us a link to your post once your valance is complete!

    2. Here it is! I am so happy with it - thanks again for the wonderful tutorial!

  4. Wonderful instructions. Inspired me to make the valance immediately. Here it is.

    1. Anonymous~Your valance looks beautiful! So happy this tutorial could help! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  5. You make it look so simple and easy!! Hope mine turns out as beautiful as yours!


Comments make our day! We love hearing from you!