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How to Make a Pull Up Valance With Lace

by Linda Erlam

Add visual softness to a window blind or existing drapery with a pull-up lace valance. Pull-up refers to the illusion that the valance is a cord-drawn blind pulled part-way up the window. A version of the Austrian shade, this valance is one a beginner sewer can attempt with confidence. The method of sewing for lace or any other fabric is the same. Use lace to pretty-up the windows in a girl's room.

Cut your lace to twice the width of the finished valance plus 2 inches, and 3 times longer than the required finished length.Turn the side edges of the lace over to the wrong side 1/2 inch, twice, and press the folds. Sew close to the second fold to secure the side hems.

Turn the bottom edge up 1 inch, twice, and press the fold. Pin the hem in place.

Turn the top edge over 1/2 inch and iron the fold.Turn the top edge an additional 2 inches and press the fold. Pin the top hem in place.

Lay the valance on the table with the wrong side showing. Determine the number of channels across the finished valance and divide the flat width by that amount, marking the channel widths with pins across the top and bottom hems. For example, if the finished valance is 60 inches, with channels 15 inches wide, there will be 4 channels across the width. This is an arbitrary decision and is based on your preferred style; typically, the finished channels are 10 to 20 inches wide. In this example, if the fabric is 120 inches wide, your 4 channels will be 30 inches wide on the flat fabric. Mark the channels. Start at the bottom left corner and place marks at 30, 60 and 90 inches across the bottom. Place the same marks across the top hem.

Cut one piece of shirring tape for each channel, plus one. Cut the pieces to the same length as the hemmed valance fabric. Pin each piece of shirring tape to the wrong side of valance, the right side of the shirring tape visible. Tuck the top edge of each piece of tape under the edge of the top hem at the corresponding channel mark and pin in place.

Pin the tape to the valance down to the bottom hem, to the corresponding channel mark. Tuck the bottom edge of the tape inside the bottom hem. Release enough pull cord from the tape so the cord will not be caught in the stitching of the bottom hem. Pin the hem in place.

Pin a piece of tape down each edge, 1/2 inch from the outside edge.

Sew the bottom and top hems in place, sewing across the shirring tape. Back-stitch over each cord along the top hem. Do not sew across the released pull cords on the bottom.

Sew down each edge of each piece of shirring tape, from the edge of the top hem to the edge of the bottom hem.

Pull the pull cords on each tape until the valance shirrs up to the desired length. Tie the two cords for each piece of tape together and trim off the excess cord.

Thread a cafe rod through the top channel, arranging the fullness evenly across the rod, and hang the valance in place.

Items you will need

  • Lace fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Self-erasing fabric marking pencil
  • Straight pins
  • Shirring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Cafe rod


  • Back-stitching is taking a few stitches backward and then continuing forward on the seam.
  • Shirring tape is a cotton or polyester ribbon with two cords attached at each edge. Pulling the cords gathers the tape. It is used for Austrian shades, gathered valance headings and chair or table skirts and is available by the yard in the home decor section of fabric stores.

About the Author

Linda Erlam started writing educational manuals in 1979. She also writes a biweekly newspaper column, "Design Dilemmas," in the "Lakeshore News" and has been published in "Design and Drapery Pro" magazine. Erlam is a graduate of the Sheffield School of Interior Design and is a practicing interior decorator and drapery workroom operator.

Photo Credits

  • Doug Menuez/Photodisc/Getty Images