Simple Pelmet

  • Image of a finished padded pelmetPadded pelmets add a touch of elegance to any room and can be made to match, contrast or coordinate with the rest of the window treatment. They can be made in all weights of fabric and are ideal to show large patterns or luxurious fabrics to their full potential. Plain fabrics and those without a definite one way pattern or nap can be railroaded for this style of pelmet, making it very economical on fabric.
  • Adding braid, fringing, binding or tassels to the bottom edge will enhance the shape creating a focal point of the window dressing.
  • Whether you wish to create a dramatic effect or a simple design, a padded pelmet will add a finishing touch to any window treatment.
  • Unless a straight pelmet is to be made, it is advisable to make a full sized paper pattern before the fabric is cut. The size and shape of the pattern can be adjusted easily until the required effect is achieved.
  • The free instructions below are for a Simple Padded Pelmet which is the easiest to make. There are a further 16 different styles of Pelmets in our e-book.

Image refers to colour code key for the diagrams


  • Pelmet or box board, fitted above the window in the required position.
  • Adhesive buckram, Pelform or MDF board, in the required length and width.
  • Fabric for the front of the pelmet.
  • Lining for the wrong side.
  • 6oz or 8oz wadding, enough to cover one side of the buckram.
  • Stick and sew Velcro, enough for the front and returns of the pelmet board.
  • Braid, fringing or tassels, if required, enough for the bottom edge.
  • Paper for pattern, an old roll of wallpaper is ideal.

Measuring and Estimating Fabric Quantities:

  1. Measure the front edge and both sides (returns) of the pelmet board and add 1" (2.5 cms) seam allowances. Divide the overall length by the width of the fabric to be used. Round up to the next whole number for the number of widths required. If more than 1 width is required, allow an extra 1" (2.5 cms) for each seam.
  2. Decide on the finished length of the pelmet at its longest point and add 1.5" (3.75 cms) for hem allowances. This is the cut length. If patterned fabric is used, extra will be needed for pattern matching.
  3. To calculate the amount of fabric required, multiply the number of widths by the cut length.
  4. If the fabric is to be railroaded like the lining, the amount required will be the measurement of the front edge and the returns plus 1" (2.5 cms) seam allowances. This only applies if the length of the pelmet is less than the width of the lining or fabric.

Making a Padded Pelmet:

  1. Cut a piece of paper to the finished width and length of the pelmet, including the returns. Fold it in half width ways, measure and mark the width of the return and draw half the required shape between the mark and the fold. When the pattern is unfolded the shape will be symmetrical. The returns should be left flat at the required length.
  2. Cut out the shape and pin it to the pelmet board. Adjust the length and shape until the desired effect is achieved.
  3. Using the paper pattern, cut the buckram to the same shape and size.
  4. Moisten the buckram lightly and cover 1 side with wadding. When stuck, trim the wadding to the same shape and size.
  5. Cut 1 piece of fabric and 1 piece of lining to the required size adding 1.5" (3.75 cms) to the finished length and 1" (2.5 cms) to the finished width for seam allowances. If more than 1 width is required, join widths together with a flat seam making sure to position a full width in the centre with equal part widths added at each side and matching the pattern across all widths where necessary.
    Image refers to step 6 of making a padded pelmet
  6. Lay the fabric on a flat surface, wrong side up, and lay the paper pattern centrally on top. Draw around the pattern adding 1" (2.5 cms) seam allowance at the top edge and 0.5" (12mm) on the other 3 sides.
  7. Cut out the shape including the seam allowances.
  8. Repeat for the lining.
  9. Lay the lining on a flat surface, right side up, and position a length of the "sew" side of the Velcro along the top edge so that the top of the Velcro is 1" (2.5 cms) down from the raw edge, starting and finishing 0.5" (12 mm) in from each side edge.
  10. Pin and stitch the Velcro in position, working both rows of stitches in the same direction to avoid puckering.
  11. Lay the fabric on a flat surface, right side up, and lay the lining on top, wrong side up, matching the raw edges.
  12. Pin and stitch the 2 layers together down both sides and along the bottom edge, 0.5" (12mm) in from the raw edges.
  13. Work a second row of stitches along the bottom edge, just inside the seam allowance, close to the first row.
  14. Clip the seam allowance along the bottom edge, to the second row of stitches, every 1" (2.5 cms).

    Image refers to step 14 of making a padded pelmet
  15. Turn right side out and press.
  16. Insert the buckram between the layers of fabric and lining, with the wadding towards the fabric. Make sure to take the seam allowances towards the lining.
  17. Turn in 1" (2.5 cms) along the top edge, gently pulling the fabric taut, and pin.
  18. Slipstitch the lining to the fabric along the top edge.
  19. Backstitch the braid, fringing or tassels along the bottom edge, close to the fold, if required.
  20. Lay the pelmet on a flat surface, wrong side up, and measure the width of the return in from each side edge.
  21. Fold the pelmet at each of these marks, making sure each fold is at right angles to the top edge.
  22. Stick the adhesive side of the Velcro to the front and return edges of the pelmet board.
  23. Attach the pelmet by pressing the 2 sides of the Velcro together, starting at the centre and working towards each side. Make sure to align the folds with the front corners of the pelmet board.

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