I refer to this valance as the inverted inverted box pleat, and you will soon see why. This unusual valance was one of the many Iíve encountered on my annual trips to the Heimtextil show in Frankfurt, Germany. After standing there a long time trying to figure out just how it was made, I finally did what any good workroom sewer would do: When no one was looking, I lifted up the valance to check out the back! And there it was, the simple little clue that made the bell ring!
I get so excited over new looks that are easy to make because they
provide opportunities for so many people, and this one-of-a-kind
look is incredibly simple to create.
As you can see from the illustrations, this valance features inverted
box pleats on the front. (Illustration 1 shows the difference between
a box pleat and an inverted box pleat.) The pleats are between 12
and 16 inches deep, which gives three to four inches of fabric folded
each way from the center of the pleat. The pleats are vertically
stitched closed about four inches. I would recommend the spacing
between the pleats to be no less than 12 inches, and it could be
as wide as desired.
The valance is self-lined with no bottom hem, so it is twice as
long as the desired finished length at the longest point of the
shape. To form the lining, the valance is folded under toward the
back along the bottom edge and is taken all of the way to the top
of the valance.
Now hereís the secret: When placing the inverted box pleats
in the valance, also place another inverted box pleat directly in
line with the first, along the bottom edge as shown in Illustration
2. These pleats are also stitched closed about four inches. When
the valance is folded to self-line itself, this pleat is then at
the back top of the valance. Thatís why I call it the inverted
inverted box pleat!
To dress the valance, the bottom edge of the pleat is opened by
peeling back the inside edges toward the outside to create the slightly
poufy, triangular-shaped area (see Illusration 3). The length of
the spaces between the pleats now appears shorter than the triangular
area in the pleats because the edge of the pleats pulls it up. When
the edges of the pleats are peeled back, they now are on an angle,
making them shorter in overall length than the spaces, which are
hanging straight down.
I also noticed how the workroom placed the pleats according to the
horizontal repeat. This technique is important in any top treatment
that is not gathered to the extent that the pattern no longer shows.
Isnít it great? I told you it was easy! Many of the other
styles I see in my travels to Germany, Paris and England are not
quite this easy to decipher!
Strickland is owner of Professional Drapery School, Swannanoa, NC,
and is an internationally acclaimed speaker with 20 years experience
in the window coverings industry. She is the publisher and editor
of Sew WHAT?, an international monthly newsletter for professional