How to Sew a Burlap Valance with a Ribbon Accent

Valances give color to a room without blocking the natural light. I like being able to make my own valances because I can select the fabric and create my own design.

As you know from reading my other blog posts, I LOVE burlap because of its texture and it goes with everything. I also added the orange polka-dot ribbon to add color.

I made this valance for the window in our loft (my office) and I just love the way it turned out.

I apologize that I took these pictures after I made the curtain (prior to starting my blog). However, I will explain the steps I took.

Cutting and Sewing the Two Pieces of Fabric

First, determine the size you want your valance to be. I typically hang the valance higher than the top of the window frame. This way it does not block the sunlight. In this case, I hung it 4 inches above the top of the window frame. So keep this in mind when you are measuring/cutting your fabric.

Below is a picture showing the bottom of the valance in comparison to the top of the window. It covers the top of the blind and about one and a half blades of the blind.

The width of my window trim (edge to edge) is 35.5″ and I wanted my valance to be about 1″ past each edge, which is why I needed the final width of the valance (after sewing) to be 37.5 inches.

Also, I wanted my valance to be 37.5 inches in width by 13.5 inches in length. I wanted a 1-inch seam on all sides; I opted for a larger seam so it would give the edges more body/weight and hang property.

Math for the width: 37.5″ + 1″ on one side + 1″ on the other side = 39.5″

Math for the height: 13.5″ + 1″ on one side + 1″ on the other side = 15.5″

After I carefully did my math calculations, I cut the burlap (and the beige backing fabric) 39.5″ x 15.5″.

I put the finished pieces together (right sides facing each other) as if I were making a pillow. I sewed the two pieces together on the bottom and then sewed the two pieces together on the top.

When I sewed the sides, I left about a 2″ small opening for the curtain rod at the top on both sides (see the picture below). I used one of these holes to feed the fabric through to turn the fabric right side out. Once I turned the fabric right side out, I ironed the curtain. When you iron, make sure the seams on all sides are fully extended so the curtain should be a perfect rectangle. Ironing makes it much easier to sew the ribbon because it creates a smooth/flat surface.

Sewing the Ribbon

First, I measured and cut the side pieces of ribbon. (I love polka-dots.) I cut the ribbon about a 15″, which allowed for 1″ to fold over at the bottom and 1/2″ at the top (13.5 is the height of the finished edge of the valance). I should have tucked under the raw edge on the top, but instead painted the edge with clear fingernail polish to keep it from unraveling. I then cut the ribbon using the same calculations for the other side and sewed the ribbon to the valance. When sewing the ribbon, I did two rows of stitches (on each edge of the ribbon). However, WHEN SEWING THE RIBBON, DON’T SEW THE OPENING CLOSED WHERE THE CURTAIN ROD WILL BE INSERTED.

This picture shows the front side where you can see the stitches on both edges of the ribbon.

This picture shows the backside where you can see both rows of stitches.

Now you are ready to cut the ribbon for the bottom edge of the curtain. Again, cut the ribbon long enough to tuck under on both sides so you will not have a raw edge of ribbon that is visible. Because the width of the finished valance is 37.5″, I added 2″ inches for a total length of 39.5″ so I would be able to fold over (tuck under) 1″ on both ends. Then, I sewed the ribbon on the bottom of the valance. When sewing the ribbon, I did two rows of stitches (on each edge of the ribbon). Also notice in the picture below how I overlapped the bottom ribbon over each side ribbon.

I highly suggest pinning the ribbon and then IRONING before sewing. This flattens the ribbon and makes it easier to sew it straight. This will also ensure that the valance hangs properly.

Below is a picture of the bottom corner of the back of the valance.

Below is a picture of the back of the finished valance.

Below is a picture of our loft. This quilt is actually a hand-me-down from our daughter when she was in college. I use the reverse side because I like the smaller geographic pattern. Here is another picture of the loft. You can see my desk next to the loft railing and Buddy the cat is taking a nap. My craft room is adjacent to the loft. This is my Happy Place! This is the view from my desk; I can see the lake. It feels like I work in a treehouse.

Where could you add a valance in your house?

Let me know if you have any questions by commenting below.

Happy sewing!



Author: Suzanne

Blogger and DIYer with my talented husband Neal. I share about our projects and life lessons following Christ.