Balloon Valance

  • Image of a finished balloon valance with a cafe curtainA Balloon, Cloud or Pouf valance is an ideal top treatment for small windows when used alone or teamed up with cafe curtains or blinds and is best fitted outside the window recess.
  • This simple to make valance is an unlined rectangle of fabric with casings at both the top and bottom edges. The fabric is threaded onto curtain rods through both casings with the lower rod fixed in a position to allow the valance to drape over and conceal it, creating the balloon effect.
  • Crisp, lightweight fabrics are the best ones to use for this valance, which can be stuffed with tissue paper or wadding to hold its shape.
  • The free instructions below are for curtain rods with a diameter of 0.75" (18 mm) and a projection of at least 1" (2.5 cms). However if you wish to use wider curtain rods or continental rods, add 4 times the width of the rods to the finished flat length to allow for the wider casings.

Image refers to colour code key for the diagrams


  • Lightweight fabric.
  • 2 curtain rods, 0.75" (18 mm) diameter and long enough to fit outside the window recess with a projection of at least 1" (2.5 cms).
  • Matching thread.
  • Scraps of tissue paper or 2oz wadding, enough to stuff the valance.

Measuring and Estimating Fabric Quantities:

  1. Fix the curtain rods in place. The top rod should be fixed at least 1" (2.5 cms) above the top of the window frame. The bottom rod should be positioned 2" or 3" (5 or 7.5 cms) above the required finished length of the valance.
  2. Image refers to measuring for a balloon valanceHold a tape measure to the top edge of the top rod and the top edge of the bottom rod, letting it loop between the two until the required finished length is achieved. This measurement will be the finished flat length of the valance. Add 4" (10 cms) for hem allowances. This is the cut length. If patterned fabric is used, extra length will be needed for pattern matching.
  3. To estimate how many widths of fabric will be needed, measure the length of the rods and multiply by 2. Divide this figure by the width of the fabric to be used and round up to the next whole number. As the fullness ratio does not need to be exact, I would suggest using the full widths of fabric.
  4. To calculate the amount of fabric required, multiply the cut length by the number of widths.

Making a Balloon Valance:

  1. Cut the fabric to the required size. Join widths together with a 0.5" (12 mm) French seam making sure there is a full width in the centre with equal part widths added at each side edge and the pattern is matched across all widths, where necessary.
  2. Turn in a double 0.5" (12 mm) hem at each side edge, pin and stitch.
  3. Turn up a double 1" (2.5 cms) hem at the top and bottom edges and pin both hems in place close to the innermost fold to make the casings.
  4. Check that the rods will fit snugly through the casings and adjust if necessary.
  5. Image refers to making the casing for a balloon blindStitch the hems close to the innermost folds and press.
  6. Thread the valance onto the top and bottom rods.
  7. Adjust the gathers evenly across the valance, pull out the flounces and stuff with scraps of tissue paper or wadding to achieve the desired effect.

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