Scarf Valance

  • Image of a finished scarf valanceA scarf valance gives the appearance of swags and tails but is much easier to make. They can be used alone to frame a window or used in conjunction with blinds and curtains for a layered look.
  • A scarf valance is usually one width of fabric, cut to the required length, which is draped across the top of the window with the ends falling down each side to form the tails. However, if a patterned fabric is used it will need to be joined so that the pattern is the correct way up on both tails. Seams should be positioned at a corner of the window frame.
  • Valance creators, mushroom holdbacks, scarf hooks or corbels (sconces) are positioned at the top corners of the window frame to hold the fabric in place.
  • Scarf valances are best made in sheer or lightweight fabrics. Sheer fabrics can be left unlined but lightweight fabrics need to be lined in a contrasting or coordinating fabric as the wrong side will show when the tails are pleated.
  • These mock swags and tails can be utilized as a simple scarf or have extra fabric added to the length which is formed into rosettes (this style is covered in our e-book) to create a more dramatic effect.
  • The free instructions below are for a Straight Scarf Valance which is the simplest to make.

Image refers to colour code key for the diagrams


  • 1 width of fabric of the required length.
  • Contrast lining, the same width and length as the fabric, if required.
  • Pair of mushroom holdbacks or corbels for the scarf valance.
  • Matching thread.
  • Safety pins.
  • Length of cord or tape measure.

Measuring and Estimating Fabric Quantities:

  1. Image refers to measuring for a scarf valanceSecure the valance creators, mushroom holdbacks, scarf hooks or corbels in the required position at the top or above the window frame. Throughout these instructions, I will refer to scarf hooks only but they apply to valance hooks, mushroom holdbacks and corbels.
  2. Drape a length of cord or a tape measure across the window, between the scarf hooks, including the longest length of the tails, letting the cord drape to the required finished length of the swags. If patterned fabric is used, note the position of the seam and the lengths of fabric either side of it.
  3. To this measurement add 2" (5 cms) for the hems on an unlined scarf or 1" (2.5 cms) for the seam allowances on a lined scarf.
  4. The final result is the amount of fabric required when using one width of fabric for the scarf.

Making a Scarf Valance:

  1. Image refers to steps 1 to 4 of making a scarf valanceCut 1 width of fabric to the required length. If patterned fabric is used, cut the fabric to the required lengths and join the top edges of the pieces together. Use a flat seam for a lined scarf and use a flat fell seam for an unlined scarf.
  2. Place the fabric on a flat surface and fold it in half lengthways.
  3. Measure 12" (30 cms) along one side and mark.
  4. Draw a line from this mark to the opposite corner and cut along the marked line.
  5. Unlined Scarf: Fold a double 0.5" (12 mm) hem along each of the shaped ends, pin, stitch and press. The long selvedge edges do not need neatening.
  6. Lined Scarf: Cut the lining to the same length as the fabric and shape the ends in the same way. If a plain lining is used with a patterned fabric it will not need to be joined.
  7. Place the fabric on a flat surface, right side up, and place the lining on top, wrong side up, matching all the raw edges.
  8. Pin and stitch around all 4 sides leaving an opening in 1 long side of approximately 20" (50 cms) for turning.
  9. Turn right side out.
  10. Turn in the seam allowance on the opening in line with the rest of the seam, slipstitch to secure and press.

Folding and Hanging the Scarf:

  1. Lay the scarf on a large, flat surface (the floor is ideal), wrong side up and the longest side towards you.

    Image refers to folding a scarf valance
  2. Leaving the longest side in place, fold the fabric towards you and then away from you, finishing with the shortest side towards you. The pleats should be approximately 8" (20 cms) wide.
  3. Using oddments of fabric or cord, tie the folded fabric in place. Tie it tight enough to hold the pleats but not too tightly that the pleats are squashed. Place the ties every 18" to 24" (45 to 60 cms) to make the scarf easier to handle.
  4. Image refers to hanging a scarf valancePlace the pleated fabric over the scarf hooks with the shorter side facing down and in towards the centre of the window.
  5. Pull the centre of the scarf down to the required length, making sure that both the tails are the same length.
  6. Remove the ties.
  7. Pull gently on the upper folds of the scarf, towards the corners, to decrease the amount of draping at the top edge so that it covers the window frame.
  8. When the desired effect is achieved, secure the fabric in the valance creators or scarf rings. Alternatively secure the fabric with safety pins positioned in the folds of fabric so they do not show.

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