How to Measure for a Pleated Valance

Making your own pleated valances is one way to dress up the windows of a room while also adding a little interest and detailing to the valances.

Making pleated valances is relatively straightforward, but you'll need to know how to measure for a pleated valance so you know exactly how much fabric to purchase. After you've measured your windows you can do a little math and be ready to head to the fabric store.

Determine how deep you want your valances to be from the curtain rod or inside of the window casing downward. Typically a valance will drop down 12 to 16 inches or a third of the window's length. Add 4 inches to this distance. This will allow for an inch for the bottom hem and 3 inches for the top rod pocket or mounting board.

Measure the width of your window inside the casing if using a mounting board, or measure from one end of the curtain rod to the other to find the base width you are working with. Decide how far apart you want each pleat in inches and divide your base width by this number to find how many pleats you'll be making.

Multiply the number of pleats the valance will have by 5 inches and add this sum to the base width of your window or rod. Add 2 inches to this measurement to allow for a 1-inch hem on each side of the valance. If you have wrap-around rods, then measure the distance from the wall to the face of the curtain rod, called the return, and multiply this distance by two. Add this amount of return to your total, if applicable.

Use the total you came up with in Step 3 to buy the quantity of fabric you need. Cut the fabric's depth to the measurement calculated in Step 1. This should give you one solid piece of fabric to work with for creating your pleated valance.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Paper and pencil
  • Calculator, if desired
  • Fabric
  • Scissors


  • If you are dressing multiple windows, be sure to buy enough of the fabric you are using to cover all of the windows. Depending on the depth of your valances, you may be able to make two to four valances from one piece of 54-inch-wide fabric cut to the length you need.
  • Consider also buying enough fabric to make matching throw pillows or to upholster chairs to create a finished look in the room.