Swag Valance Tutorial

Updated June 13, 2017

Swags were historically found only in expensive homes. Today, the swag valance is a common window treatment. The swag valance serves a decorative purpose in the home and requires more fabric than other styles of valances. The swag valance can be used to create a focal point in the room as it frames the window. There are many styles of these valances.

Swag Styles

A tailored swag has tails that hang down the sides of the window. This style is typically chosen for large windows with views the homeowner doesn't want to close off with traditional panels. The valance will form some type of curved pattern across the top of the window, and the tails will form angles as they hang

More casual styles can be achieved by making gathered swag styles. A rolling swag, twisted swag or deep swag are considered to be of the gathered variety. These hang directly on the pole without any additional mounting hardware.

Narrow windows can accommodate a single swag valance. Wider windows may require multiple swags to be positioned across the pole. This is a personal choice depending on the appearance you choose.

The most luxurious swag valance is the Manhattan and turban styles. These swags drape in folds across the top of the window. The Manhattan swag is an asymmetrical valance with gathers. The turban utilises pleats to create the folds.

An unlined swag is created with a sheer translucent fabric. This is typically used in rooms to allow the light to filter through.

Material Choices

The valance rod can be ornamental or it can be basic and plain. If your swag valance will hang in a manner that allows the rod to show through, an ornamental rod will have a better appearance. The rod finials should also correspond with the fabric treatment. A fancy finial may not be appropriate with country farm swags. Likewise, a plain finial may look cheap when an elaborate formal swag is displayed.

The fabric choice will help determine the tone of the swag valance display. A textured tone-on-tone fabric will be more formal than a gingham check fabric. Cotton fabric has easier laundering and care instructions than other drapery fabrics. Cotton also offers the homeowner a larger print and colour selection. A quality cotton fabric will hang better than a lower grade cotton fabric. Choose cottons that have higher thread counts. A visual comparison between two cottons will indicate the higher thread count fabric.

Construction Tips

Due to the amount of fabric required to make a swag, consider making a mock swag to begin with. This mock swag can be made from an inexpensive muslin. Cut the muslin to the shape you want the valance to be. Make adjustments to the proportion and styles. Then use this as a pattern on your more expensive swag valance fabric.

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About the Author

Jennifer Terry is program director for TriCounty Agency for Intellectual Disabilities. As a University of Alabama graduate, she holds a Masters in rehabilitation counseling and a Bachelor in psychology with an emphasis in child development. She also earned an Associate in business management and second Associate in computer information systems from Bevill State Community College. She holds a grant writing certificate from North Georgia College and State University.