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How To Make A Designer Specialty Valance from A Simple Drapery Panel

Aug 9, 2008
Here, we are going to talk about how to create a specialty valance.

A specialty valance looks similar to a roman shade that has been raised 2/3 of the way up. It is a very popular style these days and usually costs upwards of $200 to have one custom made.

However, by using a simple rod pocket drapery panel, you can create your own custom-look specialty valance in about 15 minutes.

Let's take a step-by-step look at how to create this fabulous designer window dressing!

1. When purchasing a drapery panel for this project, you will need to take a few things into consideration.

First, the width of most panels are about 46" - 52"; make sure that this width will be enough for your window.

This style of valance usually works best with windows that are 40" or less in width. However, if you have several windows lined up in a row to create a sinlge long wall of windows, you can use a single panel per window to create a run-on treatment.

The second thing you'll need to consider is the length. For average height windows, we like to use 84" length panels. For shorter windows, 63" panels work well, and for taller windows, you should use 96" - 120" panels.

2. You will also need trim to create the two loops that will hold the valance up.

We recommend a flat, braided trim of at least 2" in width. Your trim selection can help your valance look more elegant or more casual, so choose your trim based on the style you are looking to achieve.

3. You will need to determine how long you want your valance to hang.

Valances typically hang at least 16" long. The specialty valance usually hangs at least 22" because the style needs more display to look its best.

In deciding what length will work best for your windows, first determine where you want the rod to be mounted. If you want to maximize the openness of the window, mount your rod closer to the ceiling and have the valance just barely cover the top of the window.

Next, decide how far down you want the valance to hang from the rod. This will give you the final length of the valance. Most of the time, this will be at least 22", and can go as long as 48". The longer lengths look great when used with two-story windows.

4. Now you will make your loops using the trim.

Now you will cut your trim into lengths twice as long as you want your finished valance, plus 2". You will make a loop and use the extra 2" to attach the ends of the trim together to close the loop. Be very careful that both loops are exactly the same length, as even small differences are noticeable in this treatment.

5. Lay your panel out on a flat surface and fan fold from the bottom.

We usually recommend using the floor to lay the panel out. Then starting at the bottom of the panel, fold the bottom hem under about 4" to 5". Now, fold the panel forward to the same width as the first fold. Continue folding forward and and under, similar to the way you would fold a paper fan. Continue folding until your panel is the length of the loops.

6. Slide the trim loops over each side of the folded panel.

As you slide the loops into place, be careful to keep your folds tight. Keep the bottom fold so that it is laying flat again the loop, and each successive fold will lay atop the other.

7. Now slide the valance onto the drapery rod and hang in the window.

Now that the valance is hung you can adjust the folds, the location of the loops and the drapery on the rod. Move the loops so that they are about 1/4 of the way from the outside. This will give you about 50% of the treatment hanging in between the two loops, which is the best look.

The panel can bunch on the rod or lay flat, depending on the look you want and the width of the rod and the panel.

Fluff the folds until you achieve the look you want. The crisper the folds, the more traditional it will look; while a looser fold will appear more casual.

You've just made a designer window treatment for less than 30% of the cost of a custom-made one! You will be amazed how great your windows look with these upscale treatments to dress them up.
About the Author
Melody Foster of The Cozy Home, an interior design firm with services for the Average American Family. You can get Step-by-step Instructions to create the treatment here plus many others or Ask An Expert for help, on your window dressing challenges. You can purchase Softline panels, at The Cozy Home.
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