How to Sew a Swag Curtain Valance Pattern

    by Jennifer Terry

    About the Author

    Jennifer Terry is program director for TriCounty Agency for Intellectual Disabilities. As a University of Alabama graduate, she holds a Masters in rehabilitation counseling and a Bachelor in psychology with an emphasis in child development. She also earned an Associate in business management and second Associate in computer information systems from Bevill State Community College. She holds a grant writing certificate from North Georgia College and State University.


    A valance is a decorative piece of fabric used to dress up a window by hiding a rod or fixtures. The curtain valance is often used with other pieces of the curtain set to create an overall look. You can also use the valance alone. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination. Curtain valances are more economical to make than draperies and only require basic sewing skills and notions.

    Things You'll Need

    • Fabric
    • Muslin
    • Measuring tape
    • Scissors
    • Pins
    • Fabric pencil
    • Sewing machine
    • Thread

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    Measure the width of the area to be covered. This is your top measurement.

    Place muslin pattern fabric on the floor. The muslin will be 1 yard wider than the top measurement.

    Mark the center of the muslin. Measure one-half the top measurement to the right of the center and mark. Measure one-half of the top measurement to the left of the center mark and record. These are your outside marks.

    From the outside mark, draw a 15-inch line straight down and mark.

    From the 15-inch mark measure outward 4 inches and draw a diagonal line from the top edge marking to the 4-inch mark.

    Divide the diagonal line into five parts for a four-fold swag. Mark these fold lines with cut notches.

    Cut the muslin pattern.

    Lay the swag fabric on the floor with the right side up.

    Pin the muslin to the swag fabric. Trace the muslin pattern onto the swag fabric with a fabric pencil. Remove the muslin pattern.

    Pin the swag fabric to the back of a couch or to the side of the bed for the fabric to hang straight down.

    Pin the first fold. Take the fabric at the first fold mark, and bring it to the top of the swag. Repeat until all folds are pinned.

    Cut off excess fabric at the diagonal line, and trim the swag bottom to leave 3 inches below the last fold.

    Hem the top 1/4 inch. Hem the sides with a 1/4-inch hem.

    • This provides a swag that is 15 inches deep. If you want a deeper swag, just change the 15 inches to a higher number and increase the 4-inch measurement by 1 inch for every inch you add to the depth. For example a 16-inch-deep swag should measure 5 inches in place of the 4 inches. A 17-inch-deep swag should measure 6 inches in place of the 4 inches.
    • You can add snap tape or hook-and-loop tape to attach the valance to a jabot to hang over a cafe rod. Or you can attach a valance to a shelf with upholstery tacks.
    • Swag fabric should be longer at the bottom than at the top to drape properly.