No Sew Tie-On Window Valance
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How to make a fast and easy tie-on window valance in two different ways.
I received an email two weeks ago, asking me about the window treatment in my master bath that I included in my Parade of Homes House Tour. I had to go to the post to see what window treatment was in question. When I went through the post, I realized that I hadn’t done a tutorial post on how to make this no sew window valance.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to explain the process. It is one that I quickly fashioned without a pattern and using only what I had on hand. When I worked in retail display – this is how we made everything – we had to create using only with what we had in the prop room to make all sorts of decorative treatments in a short period of time. I used fabric glue for everything.
I am going to try my best to explain how I made it. I made another one that is even simpler to hang, so that you can see there are options and no wrong or right way to make something for your home – only what your skills and style dictate is right for you.
How to Make Two Versions of a Simple Tie On Fabric Window Valance
I made these window valances the no-sew way, but they could just as easily be made using a sewing machine.
- Fabric glue
- Curtain rod
- 1 yard of ribbon for each tie. I needed 4 ties for a 36” wide window.
- Iron-on fleece or felt – I used Pellon brand.
- Measuring tape
- Both versions of the valance are simply a long rectangle of fabric.
Version 1: Gathered Tie On Window Valance
The valance in my master bath is a white rectangle of fabric that is tied onto vintage swing rods with ribbon.
I bought the swing rods many years ago. You can find rods like these by doing a Google search for “Drapery Swing Rods” or “Vintage Swing Rods”.
Since I liked the size and shape of it, I fashioned a simpler valance with updated colors, when I redecorated the room a few years ago.
Swings rods are made to hang drapery panels. With traditional rods – drapery panels move side to side along a rod to cover the window. With swing rods – the rods themselves swing out of the way when you need to get to the window.
I took a creative license to use the rods in my own style – as a decorative way to hang a simple valance. They are stationary. I like the contrast of the detail in the rod against the white valance.
Fabric needed: Double the width of the window for your width measurement. Mine was 36-inches. For the height – 15 inches is what I used. I doubled it so I could make a lining. Add 2-inches to each measurement to turn over to make finished edges/hems. For instance: If your window is the same dimension as mine – your cut fabric should measure 74” x 32”.
I made this version by folding all the raw edges of the cut fabric over 1-inch and then pressing them. I then folded the entire piece of fabric in half lengthwise. To seal the sides and top edges together, I ran a line of fabric glue all along the folded edges and pressed to create sealed seams.
How to Hang the Gathered Tie On Valance:
The extra length of the fabric allows for the gathers and dips in between the ties.
Starting on one top edge of the valance -gather about 5-6 inches of fabric in your hand. Wrap the ribbon around it and secure with a knot. Then bring the ends of the ribbon around the rod and back to the front of the gathered fabric. Tie the ribbon into a knot to secure the gathered fabric to the rod.
Repeat at the opposite end. Once the ends are tied on, figure out the spacing needed for the two center gathered ties and then tie each one in the same way as the first.
Use your fingers to smooth the top of the dips and to spread out the fabric above each tie. The bottom will automatically lay into soft folds. You may have to coax them a bit.
There is no wrong or right way when fashioning a window treatment like this. When I have taken it down to clean – it went back up slightly different. It does not have to be perfect to add decorative interest to your room.
Version 2: Straight Tie-On Window Valance
To help demonstrate how simple a tie-on valance is to make – I made a second version without gathers. I found fun novelty fabric at JoAnn’s Fabrics called Multi Colored Elephants by AAK D# 70104. It took me about 30 minutes to make, start to finish.
The front is fabric I finished by folding over and pressing raw edges. For the lining, I used iron-on fleece/felt pressed onto the back.
Measure the width of your window. Add half of that measurement to get the width needed. For instance: Window is 36-inches wide. 36 + 18 (half of of 36) = 54 Your fabric should measure 54” x 15”. Add 1-inch to all sides for finished edges/seam allowance. Cut fabric 56” x 17”.
1. Fold over all raw edges 1-inch and press. Place a line of glue under fold and then press again to create a finished edge.
2. Cut the lining a bit smaller than the fabric.
3. Lay fabric right side down. Place cut lining on top.
4. Press to adhere.
It will look like this when you are done.
How to Attach Ribbon Ties
5. Fold ribbon in half. Add a dab of glue right in the fold.
6. Add a dab of glue to the bottom of one side of the ribbon.
7. Along the top edge of the fabric, place the glue side of the ribbon down on one end.
8. Press to adhere. Repeat with other ribbons evenly spaced along the back top edge.
How To Hang Tie On Valance to Curtain Rod
Tie the valance onto the rod making bows with the ribbon. Arrange the fabric so it bows out a bit in between each tie.
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I want to sign up for your web site but, the space won’t set me fill in my email address.
Lots of inspiration! Thank you :)
Very cute – the fabric paired with the ribbons just makes it. I’m wondering the specifics on the ribbon – how thick was it and how long did you cut it? Also, do the ties seems to lie easily to the front? It seems like if I did this the bows would be crooked. Help!!… :)
Hi Amy –
The ribbon I used was 1-inch wide. Each bow was made from a 30-inch piece. Getting any bow to lay the way you want it can be done. You have to primp and play with it to get it just right. Grosgrain is the hardest type of ribbon to tie into perfect bows. The way the knot in the bow forms is determined by how the ribbon is positioned when you loop it through. It is hard to explain. I try to keep it flat. Then I get a nice even looking bow.
If you want your bows to be straight and perfect. Use a shorter piece of ribbon to tie the valance on, but don’t make a bow, just a knot. Make a perfect bow using a separate piece of ribbon. Cut off tails, then hot glue the center of the bow to the knot on the tied-on to the rod ribbon. Perfect straight facing bows every time.
I love this idea and am going to try it! I am new to sewing, etc so this will help ease me into it! I was wondering for the white valence what type of fabric did you use? Also, did you use the felt on the white one, or just the one with elephants?
Thank you so much!
Have only recently discovered your wonderful blog.
Have just finished making four no sew window valances and LOVE them.
Am about to do some chalk painting with the unsanded grout, the problem I have is here in Australia we do not have any of the wax you suggest, I am hoping one of your reader can help me with a suggestion.
Once more I so am enjoying trawling through your blogs.
Hi Cheryl -Thanks so much for the nice note. Happy to hear that your window treatments all came out.
The wax for protecting chalk paint is used for furniture wood refinishing. Here in the US it is sold in the paint and stain aisle of the home improvement or hardware store. It is called Paste or Soft wax. Any brand will be fine. I am not sure of any brand names that may be available in Australia. I would try a Google search and see what turns up. If nothing does – you can buy Johnson Paste Wax on Amazon or any of the brand names directly from their websites. AnnieSloan.com CeCeCaldwells.com and Websters.com. The shipping might be expensive though.
So cute and so easy! This is why I love your blog!
Once again you have come up with the most gorgeous valances. I love each and every one of the ones you have shown us. These are so cool. I can’t decide which of the many you have taught us I love the most…. very hard since they are all so great.
And I used to sew to pay my rent….. now, just to find a spot to sit at the sewing machine would be too difficult for me.
I recently went through planning demenisions and all that rot for Top Down Bottom Up Roman Shades and just finding the hardware and then the cost told me to quit before I started to cut. First of all, I really don’t like the boring drop cloth fabric I bought, don’t think it is even suitable, the work…… ugh. I intend to see if I can come up with enough white sheeting to just make the simplest cafe type curtains till I think of what I really, really want. I get so much inspiration to just keep dreaming… yes all from you.
Thank you so much for this tutorial of gorgeous, easy valances, that with just some added length might be my new curtains. Since the kitty kats have destroyed my mini blinds…… the only way to go now! lol lol …. and really I am not laughing.. but a grin here and there.
Love these! Especially the colorful elephants. I didn’t know there was iron on fleece or felt. Where have I been?
Love this idea! It’s hard getting the right size and shape valance, so it would be great to make our own!
Wow Love it. I got to clicking on the other links for now sew valances, curtains, etc. The one with the fitted sheet really caught my attention. Thanks for sharing!
I love your ideas!! Sadly, the last time I sewed anything was 25 yrs ago! But, who needs to sew when I have your adorable no-sew ideas.
Thanks for the inspiration,
You have finally presented me with a easy option for the sewing challenged. I needed colorful yet simple toppers for my bedroom windows. Thanks
These look fantastic, and the fact they are no sew is a bonus. Very easy to do, but the sounds of it. I love your swing out curtain rods.