Top It Off

Go over the edge with fun, stylish valances and cornices. A great topper draws the eye to the window treatment and the view beyond.


+ enlarge image Monochromatic colors keep this cornice sophisticated.

Rows of ball fringe give this cornice a look so soft you just want to run your fingers over it. Start with a purchased wooden cornice or build one from 1x4 lumber and plywood. Cover the cornice with muslin, stapling it in place. Starting at the bottom, wrap the end of a piece of fringe around the side of the cornice, across the bottom edge, and to the back at the other side, using a hot-glue gun to attach it. Place a second row of ball fringe just above the first row so the edges are butted against each other and the balls fall in alternate rows.

+ enlarge image To unite the drapery and cornice, topstitch ball fringe to the inner edge of the drapery panels and the lower edge of the tiebacks.

Continue in this manner, packing the fringe tightly so the balls form a chenille-like surface. Note: The cornice shown used approximately 35 yards of ball fringe.

+ enlarge image Glass drawer knobs (either old or reproduction) take the place of Shaker pegs for hanging the valance.

A beefy plate rail and frilly dotted Swiss valance give this shuttered window its yin/yang appeal. Fashion the plate rail from a 1x4 cut slightly wider than the window frame and embellished with narrow molding strips on the top and bottom. Add dentil-style molding below the rail to hide the joint. Paint moldings to match the window frame.

+ enlarge image Use hanger bolts (double-ended screws) to attach the knobs to the window frame, spacing them about 6 inches apart.

For the valance, cut scallop-edged dotted swiss fabric the desired depth by the width of the window, plus 1 inch for every knob and 2 inches for hems. Narrowly hem the upper and side edges. Using a pin, mark the position for each knob. (There will be an extra inch of valance between each knob to create a draped effect.) Turn under the raw end of a strand of cording and topstitch it to the upper edge of the valance using a zigzag stitch. When you reach the point where a knob is positioned, loop the cord up and back down so it forms a hanger. Turn under the other raw end. Hang the valance loops from the knobs.

+ enlarge image A gingham check valance adds a graphic contrast to simple floral drapery panels.

Scalloped edges give a feeling of movement to this valance, especially when it is tightly shirred. Cut a strip of fabric two to three times the width of the window by the desired depth, adding 1/2 inch for seam allowances on all sides. Cut lining to match. Pin pieces, right sides facing.

+ enlarge image If desired, cover ball finials with hemmed circles of matching fabric. Tie the covers in place with gimp or cord.

Divide the valance width (minus seam allowances) into an even number to determine the width of the scallops. Draw a scallop template on lightweight cardboard. Transfer the design to the lower edge of the valance. Mark the upper and lower edges of the rod pocket. Sew all edges, leaving an opening at the top for turning and at each side for the rod pocket. Trim excess fabric from scalloped edges and clip the curves and points. Turn the valance to the right side, press, and slipstitch the top opening closed. Topstitch between the marks to form the rod pocket. Pin wide double-fold bias tape to the upper edge of the valance and topstitch in place, turning under the raw edges. Pin bias tape to the scalloped edge, mitering the upper points. Topstitch. Shirr the valance on the rod.

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