How to Make Curtain Valences

The pelmet (valance) was originally used as a means of keeping curtains and drapes free from dust, and is now very popular simply as a decorative feature. Tie-backs are both attractive practical, holding hack curtains to let in the maximum light.

A fabric covered pelmet is quick and simple to make with a special PVC (vinyl) material that is self-adhesive on one side and lined with velour on the other. The adhesive is covered with hacking paper, which is printed with ready-to-cut pelmet patterns to suit most styles of decoration. Attach the finished pelmet to a batten (furring strip), with the returns secured to the wall above the curtain (drapery) track with angle irons. The batten should he5 cm/2 in longer than the curtain track at each side of the window.

Plain shaped tie-backs are easily made with the help of buckram shapes coated with iron-on adhesive. The buckram is available in kit form, pre-cut in several sizes to suit the curtain width. Attach the tie-backs to the wall with rings and hooks. Experiment with the position of the hooks, before fixing, to assess the most pleasing effect. A fabric-covered pelmet (valance) provides the perfect finishing touch to this window treatment and echoes the shape of the wallpaper border. Pelmet styles can he plain or fancy, scalloped or stepped. Choose a style to suit your chosen fabric and the general decor of the room. Position tie-backs about two-thirds of the way down a short curtain for maximum effect, but do experiment with the positioning before making the final fixing.


  1. Measure the batten (furring strip) and the returns. Cut out the PVC (vinyl) pelmet material to this length, taking care to centre the chosen pattern. Cut out the shaped edge of the pelmet material along the correct line for the required shape. Cut out a piece of fabric about 3 cm/ 11/4 inch larger than the pelmet material.
  2. Lift the backing paper at the centre of the pelmet material, cut across it and peel back a small amount on either side. Match the centre of the fabric with the center of the pelmet material, and press the fabric on to the exposed adhesive. Keep the fabric taut, peel away the hacking and smooth the fabric on to the adhesive.
  3. Turn the pelmet material so that the velour backing is facing upwards. Using a sharp pair of scissors carefully cut away the surplus fabric around the edge of the pelmet material.
  4. For a neat finish, glue a length of braid around the edge of the pelmet using a suitable craft adhesive. Attach strips of touch-and-close fastener to the barren with staples or tacks. Use the hooked part only, as the velour hacking of the pelmet material acts as the looped part of the fastener. Press the pelmet in position on the batten.


  1. To make the hack of the tie-back, pin the buckram shape on to the fabric and cutout around the edge of the shape. Lay this on the wrong side of the fabric to make the front, and, using a dressmaker’s pencil, mark a line on the fabric 12 cm /1/2 in all around the outside of the buckram shape. Cut out the larger front piece.
  2. With the wrong sides together, sandwich the buckram between the front and hack pieces. Press with a hot, dry iron to fuse all the layers together, raking care nor to scorch the fabric.
  3. Snip into the edge of the surplus fabric all around the tie-hack. This will help the fabric to lie neatly without puckering when you turn it over to the wrong side.
  4. Fold the surplus fabric over to the wrong side of the tie-hack and turn under the raw snipped edge. Use matching sewing thread to stitch the folded edge neatly in place, taking care that the stitches do not go through to the right side. Stitch a brass ring on to each end of tine tie-back.


It is easy to vary the look of plain tie-backs by adding narrow frills or by binding the edges with bias strips of contrasting fabric. A strip of wide, ornate ribbon or braid makes an unusual tie-back, simply apply iron-on interfacing on the wrong side to stiffen the ribbon and cover the back with a strip of lining fabric in a toning color. Turn under the raw edges, and slip stitch together around the edge.