Define the shape of the valance with a line of buttons.

How to Make a Lined Valance With Buttons

by Kathryn Hatashita-Lee

A lined valance looks attractive from both inside and outside your home and provides a combination of light and privacy. Drapery lining gives this topper more body and protects the fabric from fading. Dress up the valance with buttons like punctuation marks on a field of color. Buttons shaped like anchors, flowers or stars, for example, will add personality and whimsy to a child’s room. These decorative elements sewn up the sides or along the lower hem will help define the gathered panel. Buttons attached to the lower corners also work as drapery weights and will improve the hang of the valance.


Measure the length of the installed rod with a metal tape measure. If the rod has returns that project from the wall, include these measurements. Record this rod width.

Double this rod width to calculate the width of the fabric to cover the rod and create gathers. Record this cutting width.

Measure from the top of the rod to the desired lower hem of your valance, and add 4 inches for upper and lower hems to calculate the cutting length. For example, a finished length of 12 inches plus 4 inches equals 16 inches for the cutting length.

Set the prewashed and pressed fabric face down on a large, flat surface. Mark the cutting dimensions with a washable fabric marker and a yardstick or straightedge. Cut the fabric with scissors or a rotary cutter on a cutting mat. Set aside the scrap fabric.

Place the drapery lining on a flat surface. Pin the cut valance fabric face down on top of the lining as a template. You will see the back of the fabric on top of a larger lining piece. Cut the drapery lining to the same dimensions as the fabric piece, and then trim one side edge of the lining by a scant 1/4 inch so the lining won't show on the fabric side. Keep the straight pins in place. Set aside the scrap lining.


Adjust your sewing machine to a straight, regular stitch. A 70/10 universal needle works well for woven fabrics. Test stitch by sewing the scrap fabric and scrap lining together.

Stitch the fabric and lining together with ½-inch seams close to the left side edge, the bottom edge, and the right side edge. Remove every pin as the fabric feeds across the needle plate. The stitching line will look like a wide “U” shape. The top or header of the valance will still show the raw edges.

Press the valance to embed the stitching. Trim the lower left and lower right corners to reduce bulk when turning inside out. Take care not to cut the stitches. Turn the valance inside out and then press.

Rod Pocket and Buttons

Set the valance with the lining side up on your ironing board. Press down a ½-inch fold from the raw edges of the lining and fabric.

Place the valance with the lining side up on a large, flat surface. Position the rod over the top of the header lining and bring the folded edge over the rod to encase it. Pin along the folded edge from left to right to form the rod pocket. The rod should easily move inside the pocket. Remove the rod.

Edge-stitch with a regular straight stitch close to the inner fold. Remember to pull out the pins. You will see one line of horizontal stitching near the top of your valance. The sides of the rod pocket remain open. Press the valance.

Mark a tiny dot with the washable fabric marker to indicate the position of each button on the front side of the valance. For example, a button can accent the lower corners of each valance panel. Thread a hand-sewing needle and sew the buttons securely to the face.

Insert the rod through the pocket, and then lift the rod to the brackets. Adjust the gathers evenly along the rod.

Items you will need

  • 1-inch-wide drapery rod
  • Metal tape measure
  • Fabric
  • Washable fabric marker or tailor’s chalk
  • Yardstick or straightedge
  • Scissors or a rotary cutter and a cutting mat
  • Drapery lining
  • Straight pins
  • Iron, ironing board
  • Thread
  • Hand-sewing needle
  • Buttons
  • Safety pins


  • Shank buttons can attach with a safety pin inserted from the lining side, through the shank hole and back out through the lining side. For a tie-up effect, gather a section with the button already attached and secure the folds with a large safety pin inserted from the lining side. If you pair the valance with a longer curtain on a double rod, these pins will not show from outside your home.
  • Decide if your valance will display as one wide piece or as individual panels. If the actual width of the fabric is narrower, you can seam two or more widths to create one wide panel. For example, one width can split in half from top to bottom and then attach to the left and right sides of a panel. This middle panel will be wide with narrow extensions on the left and right edges.


  • Keep the sewing supplies, iron and buttons out of reach of small children and animals.
  • Unplug the iron every time you step away from the ironing board.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images