This is an example of a basic, clean line kick pleat valance. The pattern of the fabric almost acts like a solid and tops these basic drapery panels to give them a finished look.
Now here's an example of how fabric and contrast banding can make these anything but boring!
Then there's this one that is completely customized with a scallop in the middle and a fan fold ruffle adorning the bottom and top edges.
Here's the one I'm featuring in todays tutorial.
Isn't she adorable! The fabric alone gives it a lot of interest, but then Mother of Pearl buttons were added to the top of each kick pleat to add a little whimsy.
There's a few things to consider when making a kick pleat valance. After measuring the width of your window you must decide on the sections. Odd number is always best. You also have to decide on the length of the valance. You may not want it to obstruct your view out the window, in which case it can be hung several inches above the window. Once you have figured out the number of sections you want, you have to decide on fabric and motifs. This ones motif did not fit within the space of the sections however, the pattern worked regardless. If you choose a large patterned fabric to use on a small valance, just keep in mind what part and how much of the motif is actually going to show.
Since there's so much going on behind the scenes of a kick pleat valance and we don't want there to be shading when sunlight shines through, we always use blackout lining on these. In fact as a rule most valance styles are always lined with black out lining. The good thing is kick pleat valances require minimal amounts of lining.
The finished size of this valance is 26" wide x 13" long. We decided to have 3 sections and 4 pleats and it will be mounted on a 1x2 (which nets a size of 1 1/2")
What you'll need: Fabric, blackout lining, thread, board and buttons.
Lets do the math to figure the length of our cuts.
I always make sure the face fabric wraps around the bottom towards the back of the valance by 2", so our cuts will include that.
1 1/2"(depth of board)+13"(finished length of valance)+2"(towards the back)+ 1/2"(seam allowance)=17" (length of each cut)
If you've never worked with blackout lining, it has a rubber-like coating that blocks out all light. That rubberized coating also makes it kind of thick and it doesn't crease very well when pressed. It also doesn't unravel or Frey like regular fabrics do. Because of these factors, I construct things a little differently when I'm using blackout lining.
To figure the length of the blackout lining cuts, here's the math.
1 1/2"(board depth)+ 13"(finished length of valance)=14 1/2"
There's no seam allowance added into the blackout lining math because of the way I construct this valance. The lining gets butted up against the inside of the hem fold line of the face fabric. I'll try to explain in this illustration.
Now that we have the length of our cuts determined, we have to figure the width of each cut. The width of the cuts will be completely determined by the number of sections in the valance and the fabric used for the valance.
My valance has 3 sections with 2 kick pleats separating the 3 sections and 2 half kick pleats at the ends of the board. Take the finished width of your valance (26) divided by number of sections(3)= width of sections. Since mine came out uneven, my sections will be 8 3/4, 8 1/2, 8 3/4. The 1/4" difference will never be noticeable.
Our kick pleats are going to be 3" deep. You can make them as small as 2" if necessary, but I wouldn't go any smaller than that because you need that fullness in there for the valance to lay smoothly.
If you've chosen a solid fabric for your valance your cut widths will be much easier to figure. If you've chosen a patterned fabric then you will have to figure your cuts around centering your motif in the center of each section.
Lets look at the workings of the valance first to help you understand what factors come into play.
More than likely you will have to use more than one cut of fabric for this valance. You will definitely have more than one cut if you are using a fabric with a large motif to be centered in the middle of each section. So lets look at where the seams are to be placed.
My Motifs landed on the fabric in such a way that I had to cut a piece for each section. My cut for the first section on the left side of the valance was 26 1/4" wide x 17" long. Here's how I got my cut size.
1/2"(seam allow)+1 1/2"(return for board depth)+3"+3"(half a kick pleat)+8 3/4"(left front section)+3"+3"+3"(3/4 of my kick pleat at which point I need to make a seam)+1/2"(seam allow)=26 1/4". Here's visual if you are having a hard time understanding the cut. It also shows where your motif should be centered. Please excuse my drawing, I'm not very good at Microsoft Paint yet and there is a lot to explain in this drawing. I tried to make it as simple as possible, but as I said, there is a lot to explain in this one drawing. You may need to take a few minutes to study the drawing to understand the full concept. Once you have the "ah ha" moment, you will "get" it and it will make understanding the rest of the cuts much easier.
Whew! That was a lot of information at once. I usually draw all my cuts out on the fabric before I begin to cut just in case there needs to be any adjustments because of fabric shortage. Now lets figure our 2nd cut, the center cut.
Notice that my first cut was positioned on the right hand area of my fabric and the middle section is positioned in the middle area of my fabric. This is where my motifs happened to land on my fabric. The third cut had to be cut out of the same motif as section one except that motif was too close to the selvage edge of the fabric to be cut there. Thank goodness that same motif was also positioned on the left side of my fabric. Keep these kinds of things in mind when planning your valance.
You have officially finished the hardest part of this valance! Give yourself a pat on the back if you are still with me here!
Now we need to cut our Blackout lining. Here's how we figure the length to cut our Blackout lining. 13"(finished length of valance)+1 1/2"(board allowance)=14 1/2"
Our widths are going to be the same as our face fabric except in reverse order. So I cut 3 pieces. The first one 26 1/4" wide, the second one 21 1/2" wide and the third one 20 1/4". The difference is I numbered them from right to left this time. This ensures our seams will be in those kick pleats and that the Blackout lining seams will not land in the same place as the seams for our face fabric. If they all landed in the same place, this would cause a lot of bulk, we want to spread out our bulk.
Finally we can get to the sewing part of this tutorial. Stitch your face pieces together in the order they are numbered starting from the left side. Stitch your Blackout lining pieces together in the order they are numbered starting from the right side.
Press all these seams open. Try to get the Blackout lining seams as flat as possible.
Now we need to cut our board. I used a 1x2 which nets an actual size of 1 1/2"x3/4". I get mine at my local Hardware store. They don't have to be anything fancy because they are going to be covered with fabric. But you DO want to try to get one that is as straight as possible. Notice the really warped one in the right hand side of this picture. Something like that would make our valance hang uneven.
First draw a line with a pencil 1 1/2" in from each side of the board. Now measure over from the edge of the board and draw a line where your first pleat will land. In my case my first section is 8 3/4", so my line is drawn 8 3/4" from the side of the board. My second section is 8 1/2" wide, so I drew a line 8 1/2" from the first sections line. The remaining area should equal 8 3/4" for my third section.
Tada!!! Your valance is done! :-) Use a couple "L" brackets to hang it above your window. Hang the "L" brackets first, then set your valance on top of the "L" brackets and screw from underside through the holes in the bracket right into the wood. Step back and take a look at your finished valance. Give yourself a HUGE pat on the back because I know these directions got a little complicated at times and you stuck with me and finished the valance.
As I said at the beginning of this tutorial, all kinds of Custom details can be added to Kick Pleat valances. I'll do some tutorials on those another day....so follow me and stay tuned! Pin It