Instruction to make waterfall drapes

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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Instruction to make waterfall drapes
Waterfall style valances over drapes make a pleasing window treatment. (Christmas tree image by Mirek Hejnicki from

Waterfall draperies are composed of two parts. The waterfall is a fixed swag-style valance that may be mounted to a board or curtain rod. The draperies are typically in the same fabric as the valance and are simple or pleated curtain panels that hang behind the waterfall valance. For a standard size double-hung window it is common for the waterfall to be made of three small swags with a ruffle across the top.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Fabric
  • Straight edge
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Trim (optional)
  • Cafe curtain rod
  • Rings and clips (optional)

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  1. 1

    Measure and cut three pieces of fabric 16 by 25 inches. Fold the fabric to a 12-1/2 by 16 inch rectangle. Measure 6 inches along the top of the 12-inch side. Draw a straight line from the mark to the bottom outside corner (not the fold). Cut along the line. Repeat this for each fabric piece.

  2. 2

    Open the fabric pieces. The 12-inch length is the top. The 25-inch length is the bottom. (You can add trims along the bottom.) The angled sides will house the pocket rod and have a ruffle.

  3. 3

    Sew a 1/2-inch hem around all four sides of each fabric piece. Fold back one angled side by 2 inches. Sew a seam 1 inch from the fold. Sew a second seam 3/4 inch from the first seam. Repeat for the second angled side. Sew each fabric panel the same way.

  4. 4

    Thread all three swags onto a cafe style curtain rod. Start at a long side corner to a short side corner, across the swag centre pick up the other short side corner through to the long side corner. Adjust your folds to look neat. Thread the other two swags the same way.

  5. 5

    Make two curtain panels in the same fabric as the valance by measuring the width of the window plus half the width of the window. Measure from the rod to the floor and add 3 inches for hems.

  6. 6

    Sew a 1/2-inch hem around all sides of the curtain panel. Fold 2-1/2 inches from the top back and sew over the existing hem. This will create a large pocket that will fit most curtain rods. You can also hang this curtain using rings and clips. Repeat for your second curtain panel.

Tips and warnings

  • The height of the waterfall can be varied by changing your measurements and by selecting to use a single large swag over three smaller swags. Trims can be added along the bottom edge to enhance the swags more.

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