Scarf Valance

Window Scarves – 3 Things You Can Do to Make Them Easy to Hang


By Rose Duffy

If you have ever tried to hang a window scarf then you know how frustrating it can be to control the fabric while draping the swags. Starting with the right fabric, in the necessary length for your window and using a rod you can pin the folds into will simplify hanging any scarf. Just follow these three tips.

1. Begin with the right fabric, one that has a soft hand and flowing drape. It can be silk or satin or sheer or even a light weight chenille. It is important however that both sides are appealing; in the process of draping both the front and the back of the fabric could end up showing. That is why sheers are often used; both sides of a sheer look the same. If your fabric has a pattern, the direction of the print will change as you drape the scarf. In the case of a stripe or plaid they will appear on an angle on the swag and run vertically on the cascades. If the pattern includes an image like a tree, the tree could end up up-side down in places. It is a good idea to avoid patterns that have a direction.

2. Having the right size scarf is important. If it is too long it can be difficult to manage and end up looking sloppy; not enough fabric and it will look skimpy. To establish the length, first decide how many swags or loops you want to have. This is partially determined by the size of the window; a typical swag is 36 inches wide, however, it can be larger or smaller. Add the windows width plus how much fabric will hang down on each side plus 10 inches for each loop/swag. This will equal the finished length of fabric you need.

Before hanging the scarf indicate the center of the fabric lengthwise, and measure up from the ends to where the cascades will begin. Mark these locations with a piece of masking tape on the edge of the fabric.

3. Use a fabric covered foam rod to simplify making beautiful swags. With a foam rod you can control the shape and size of the swags by pinning the fabric to the rod and securing each fold. Select a foam rod that is covered with a contrasting fabric to add more color or texture to your treatment Put the fabric on the rod, positioning the middle loop first. Place the center of the scarf over the center of the rod. Create soft folds and gently pull the fabric from the bottom of the loop while holding the top of the loop with your other hand.

Pin the scarf fabric to the rod to keep it from shifting as you continue to loop the fabric over the remaining rod (adding a loop for each swag). Stop when you get to the markers indicating the length of the cascades, this will ensure both sides are the desired length. Remove the tape markers and use a hand steamer to take out winkles.

Following these three tips should make it easy to create beautiful swags with a scarf.

Shop for foam rods and window scarves at For 20 years Window Treatment Designer, Rose Duffy has been using foam rods to drape window scarves for her clients. Visit her blog at and see unique scarf designs that will inspire you, as well as her complete Foam Rod Scarf System with more ideas that are designed to simplify hanging window scarves.

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How to Make and Hang Scarf Window Valances

By Jan E White

A scarf window valance will accentuate a window and finish it with a flourish. It is not generally made with a scarf but with a long length of voile or other fine soft material which drapes well.

When thinking about valance styles, remember that a scarf valance is only a suitable window treatment where blinds or fine curtains being used as window coverings or where the windows are otherwise bare. A scarf valance would look too light and insubstantial above heavy drapes and it would give an unbalanced look there.
. . . continued below the pictures . . .

Smith+Noble Pole Swag Fabric Valances           Smith+Noble Traditonal Swag Fabric Valances
Left: Pole Swag Fabric Valances       Right: Traditional Swag Fabric Valances

Different types of valances
Click on any picture for more information

Smith+Noble Box Pleat Fabric Valances           Smith+Noble Dakota Fabric Valances
Left: Box Pleat Fabric Valances           Right: Dakota Fabric Valances

1. Create the Scarf Valance
To create the “scarf” take a long length of fine material about three times the width of your window and hem it neatly on all sides. (If you want the exact length before you begin experiment with a piece of string or long strip of spare fabric, pinning it until you get the right length of swag looping over the top of the window and the right tail length on each side.)

2. Choose your Drapery Hardware
The usual way to hang a scarf window valance is to drape it over a decorative drapery rod or pole however you can also create the effect as required by attaching rings (scarf holders) where you want the top corners to be and draping the scarf valance through these. Similarly you can use small loops of coordinating fabric or ribbon bows attached to hooks or decorative sconces. Really, anything goes – you can be quite creative with this and are only limited by your imagination!

3. Hang Your Scarf Valance
Hanging your scarf valance requires a bit of patience and an eye for detail. First of all thread your valance through the rings or fabric loops or drape it over the drapery rod – whatever you are using to hold it in place – and then adjust it until you have the right depth of swag in the center and the right length of tails at the side. Once you are happy arrange the fabric folds in the swag and tails how you want them, then stand back and check your handiwork from a distance.

Once everything looks good pin the fabric folds gently together where they come into contact with the drapery hardware and if you can, add a couple of stitches to secure the fabric as you want it. (It would be a shame to get things just right and then to find yourself catching the scarf in the curtains or something at some point destroying your careful arrangement).

Jan E White has a passion for interior design especially the little details that make all the difference to a home. She has a site all about window valances which covers everything from how to choose a window valance style to how to save money when buying valances. See for all the details.

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