Pelmets and Valances
A pelmet or a valance provides an additional decorative finish to the heading of a curtain and also helps to prevent draughts from coming through a window.
A pelmet is made of rigid or semi-rigid panels covered with fabric, which usually matches the curtain fabric.
It is hung or tacked over the window on a board that is held on right-angle brackets, with side pieces attached under the board at each end.
The pelmet board does not need to be very strong, because it carries little weight. A valance is a deep frill of fabric that either hangs over the curtain heading on a rail or may be attached to the curtain fabric itself.
The pelmet should be slightly wider than the curtains, so that they do not look cramped by it,
and its front should be far enough away from the curtains to ensure that they do not drag against it when they are opened or closed.
The depth of the pelmet will depend on the length and style of the curtain: a good rule is to make the pelmet one-eighth of the depth of the finished curtain.
To make up this pelmet, you will need the curtain and lining fabric, medium-weight interlining (also called bump), buckram, velcro, a marker pen, a decorator's brush, heavy-duty shears, staple gun, and the basic sewing kit.
1. Cutting Buckram Measure and cut the buckram to the length (including the sides, or returns, of the pelmet) and depth required. Use heavy-duty shears - buckram is very tough and will blunt good dressmaker's scissors.
2. Scoring Sides Mark lines on the buckram at the point where the sides meet the front corners of the pelmet. Score along these two lines with the back of scissor blade. Cut out the interlining and the lining 1.5 cm larger than the buckram panel all around. Assess the placement of any design motifs and pattern repeats on the pelmet covering fabric, and ensure that the straight grain will run straight on the finished pelmet. Cut out the curtain fabric 3 cm larger than the buckram panel all around.
3. Dampening Edges Lay the buckram centrally on the interlining, and lightly dampen its edges on water: a small decorator's paintbrush is ideal for this purpose. The dampened buckram will be lightly adhesive.
4. Clamping Interlining Fold the edges of the interlining over and then onto the dampened edge of the buckram panel. Press the interlining edges down firmly with your fingertips, and fix it in place with cloth pegs.
5. Trimming Interlining Press the edges with an iron over a damp cloth, removing the pegs as you work around the buckram panel. The heat from the iron will cause the interlining to adhere to the buckram. Trim off the excess interlining at the corners so that the pelmet covering fabric will fit easily and smoothly over the interlining.
6. Attaching Fabric Lay the panel centrally on the wrong side of the fabric. Dampen the edges of the buckram to the inside of the interlined edge. Fold the fabric over the panel, overlapping the interlining. Mitre it at the corners. Smooth taut the fabric and pin it in place. Iron the edges over a damp cloth.
7. Attaching Lining Turn lining edges 2 cm to the wrong side. Mitre corners and press. Pin the lining to the back of the panel and slipstitch in place.
8. Fixing Velcro Fix the frame over the window, ensuring that the pelmet will cover the curtain heading. Cut velcro tape to the length of the frame. Staple the hooked strip along the frame. Slipstitch the fuzzy strip to the top edge of the back of the pelmet.
9. Attaching Pelmet Fold along the scored lines marking where the pelmet sides meet the front. Attach the fabric-covered panel to the pelmet board by aligning the two velcro strips and then pressing them together firmly.
The Finished Pelmet
Cut buckram to the size of the panel, including sides. Make a pattern to the size of the front of the pelmet. Fold in half and mark the centre, then fold into quarters or eights.
You will need curtain and lining fabric, medium-weight interlining, buckram, velcro, a marker pen, tape, heavy-duty shears, decorators brush, and the basic sewing kit.
1. Drawing Pattern Draw a right-angled shape from the side to the bottom edge of the paper pattern. If you draw the shape from the side that has the marked central fold, there will be an indentation at the centre of the panel; if, however, you draw from the other side of the paper pattern, there will be a castellation at the centre.
2. Cutting Paper Cut out the pattern and open up the paper. If the pattern shape was half the width of the folded paper, the castellations and indentations will be of equal size.
3. Tracing Pattern Secure the pattern on the buckram with tape. Draw around the pattern with a marker pen. At each end of the pattern, mark on the buckram where the sides of the pelmet meet the front.
4. Cutting Buckram With the back of a scissor blade, score along the lines that mark where the sides of the pelmet meet the front. Cut out the pattern along the bottom edge of the front of the buckram panel, using heavy-duty shears - do not use good-quality dressmakers scissors on the buckram.
5. Cutting Interlining Cut the interlining, lining, and fabric 1.5 cm larger than the buckram all around, carefully assessing the placement of pattern repeats and the alignment of the straight grain on the pelmet fabric before cutting. Lay the buckram centrally on the interlining, and snip the internal corners.
6. Trimming Excess Dampen the buckram edges with a brush and peg the interlining in place. Press the interlining over the damp cloth. Trim the excess at the corners. Lay the panel centrally on the wrong side of the covering fabric and carefully snip the internal corners.
7. Attaching Fabric Fold the fabric over the pelmet edge and pin it to the interlining. Smooth the fabric and sew it to the interlining with small tacking stitches. Trim excess fabric at corners. Hang the pelmet, and you're done.
The Finished Pelmet
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Temoor Dar