Discover How To Make Drapes With Valances

Discover how to make drapes by following this easy step by step drapery making guide. This is one of those really easy sewing projects that seems far more complicated than it really is.

Maybe the fear of this has put you off trying to make your own drapes and curtains in the past?

...well fear no more!

These window coverings drapes are finished off with curtains with attached valances header. This gives you the look of valance window treatments while only making curtains. These are really easy window treatments to work with.

You can then move on to make curtains with other designer window treatments headings after you have had chance to make your own curtains a couple of times with the easy curtain guides on this site.

Such as pinch pleat curtains, goblet pleat curtains, tab top curtains and grommet drapes to name just a few curtain styles. So just follow the written guide on how to make drapes just below here.




(For this example we are going to use a single width of fabric in each curtain panel to keep things simple as possible.)

How to measure for your drapes

  • 1. The first job is to measure how long your curtain need to be. I recommend you fit your window curtain hardware (such as a decorative curtain rod with curtain rings) before you measure for drapes. This will make it so much easier to get accurate sizes, especially if you decide on long curtains that need to be just clear of the floor.

    I do recommend you make floor length drapes with this curtain style they will look so much better than short curtains.

    Take a look at the how to measure for drapes page here.



    Cutting your fabric to size

    Then take your finished curtain length and add 27 inches for hemming allowance and creating the window coverings valances. Now cut your curtain fabric at this length, making sure you cut your fabric square across.

  • 2. Next you need to cut your curtain lining fabric at the finished curtain length plus 6 inches. Again making sure you cut the fabric square across the width. Now we start with the "how to sew curtains" bit


  • Sewing your curtains

  • 3. The next step in how to make drapes is to hem your curtain fabric. You need to turn over the bottom of your curtain panel by 2 inches. Then turn over a further 3 inches and pin down the fabric in place. Then repeat this for the bottom of your curtain lining fabric. Now you need to sew a line across the top of both curtain hems to lock them in place.
  • Take a look at the how to hand sew page here. Or maybe the sewing curtains page here.

  • 4. Now we need to sew the lining in to the curtain. Before we do this we need to measure the full width of the curtain panel. In this example we will assume the fabric is 54 inches wide.

    Now we need the lining fabric to be 2 inches narrower at 52 inches wide. So almost certainly you will need to trim a couple of inches of one side of both your curtain lining panels.

    Now we are ready to sew the lining in to the curtain. Start from the bottom hems. The curtain hem should be set about 1 inch higher than the fabric panel hem. once in position and you have pinned the edges of both fabrics together. Then start to sew the lining to the curtain panel. Your sew line should be 1/2 inch from the edges of both fabrics.

    When you come to lining up the edges of the fabric ready to pin in place on the other side of the curtain panel. You will need to pull the lining fabric over an in or two as the lining is now narrower than the curtain fabric panel.

    Make sure you pin in the hems on the second side at the same 1 inch difference in height as you did for the other side.



  • Bagging out your curtains

  • 5. Next on how to make drapes we need to turn the lined curtain panel out (often called bagging out) the right way. As the fabrics are facing in towards each other. You then lay the fabric over your table, smoothing out both fabrics. It pays to at this point to press open the seams with a steam iron.

    Also you need to make sure that the edges of the lined curtain panel are showing an even amount of the curtain fabric down the sides on both sides of the curtain lining fabric. This happens because the lining is narrower than the curtain panel width it is sewn to.

  • 6. Now on how to make drapes we need to turn our attention to the hem end of the curtain panel. Making sure the hem of the lining fabric is sat at an even 1 inch up from the bottom of the curtain panel all the way across.

    Next we need to tuck the corners of the curtain panel in at an angle that are sticking out where the two fabrics meet. This is called mitering the corners of your curtain. These are then sewn down by hand with a sewing needle. It only needs a few stitches to hold it in place.



  • How to make your valance

  • 7. Now we turn our attention to the top of our lined curtain panel. As you can see we have a lot more curtain fabric at the top than lining fabric. Next you need to measure from the bottom of the curtain panel up to the finished length you need your curtain to be. Put a few pins in to mark this line across the curtain panel.

    Then fold over the surplus fabric so it passes the line of pins by 2 inches. This should create a curtain with attached valance of about 10 inches deep. Now carefully move the pins from underneath and place in the same place on top holding the valance down to the curtain panel underneath.



  • Sewing on the curtain pleating tape

  • 8. Now on how to make drapes we come to attaching the curtain header tape. In this example we are using a 3 inch pencil pleat curtain tape to create a gathered heading. This will hang with curtain hooks from the rings under the decorative curtain tod.

    Now we need the to cut the curtain tape 2 inches wider than our curtain panel width. this will give us an inch to tuck under on each end. Pin the header tape on to the top of the curtain panel set down about a quarter of an inch. This header tape covers where the top of the curtain is turned over.

    Now you need to sew 2 lines across the curtain just on the edges of the tape. Sew both lines in the same direction to avoid the tape twisting while sewing. Then sew across the ends of the curtain tape at both ends. This helps when gathering the curtain header tape.

  • 9. Now on how to make drapes we need to pull the three cords out the curtain tape on one end of the curtain tape. Then tie them all together in a tight knot.

    Now we pull out the three cords at the other end of the curtain tape and start to pull the cords while holding the curtain tape. This will cause the tape to pleat and the curtain to gather.

    We continue to gather the pencil pleat header tape until the gathered curtain is just over half the width of the curtain rod it is to hang from. Then we wrap the surplus cords around the fingers of one hand and tie off in a bundle.

    Repeat this for your other curtain panel, only pull the cords out from the opposite side of the header tape. The bundled cords should hang to the outside edges of your window treatment.

    Next we insert curtain hooks in to the small pockets on the back of the curtain tape. These are spaced every 6 to 8 pockets between hooks, one for every curtain ring.



  • How to hang your curtains

  • 9. Finally on how to make drapes we just need to hang our new curtains from the rings under the decorative curtain rod using the hooks in the back of the curtain tape. Then pleat the curtains into 4 or 5 pleats starting at the bottom of the curtain panels and working the pleats in to shape as we go up the panel.

    Sometimes it helps to tie bands around the newly hung curtains to help train them in to their pleats. A few days like this works wonders in most cases. There are plenty more simple window treatments you try your hand at on this site now you know how to make drapes for yourself.

    Take a look at the how to hang pencil pleat curtains page here.



  • If you found this article on "how to make drapes" useful, then take a look at the "how to make curtains" page for more tips. Then please pass it along to your friends and family on social forums and blogs. Even better if you really liked it then link back to this article. So others can find out how to make swag curtains for themselves.





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