In episode 9 of The Sew Much More Podcast: 30-Minutes with Workroom Tech (air date February 13, 2019), Ceil DiGuglielmo and Susan Woodcock talk about box pleated valances.
Current trends are for more simple and tailored styles with clean lines, which means as far as top treatments go… box pleated valances are still very popular.
Boxed Pleated Valance Basics
A basic box pleated valance is when you have a straight hem across the bottom, and the finished width is divided into sections. Usually it’s equal sections or "boxes", but you can get creative with the sections to have some larger than others. The fullness is folded to the reverse side. See the sketch below of a basic box pleated valance.
If it’s a solid or non-directional print or weave, then you can railroad the fabric for no seams, or only one seam hidden in a pleat. That’s a winner!
With a print fabric, it's more complicated. Susan recommends a scale drawing on graph paper which can then be blown up to full size pattern paper. "That’s when I get out the graph paper, roll out the fabric and start making a cut plan" said Susan, adding "if the fabric is a floral for example, then I will map out the motif to see how it will fit on the sections or boxes”.
You may need to adjust the size of the boxes to fit the pattern motif. In the drawing below, you can see the difference between using three boxes or four boxes for the same width and length on a box pleated valance with a scalloped bottom edge.
There are many options for using pattern motifs. If there’s more than one flower in the fabric to choose from, then it might look better to mix them up, especially if there’s an odd number of boxes. For example; if the valance has five boxes or sections, mark the sections on the pattern as A-B-A-B-A. On the fabric you will select three “A” motifs, and two “B” motifs.
Seams and Pleats
Paper patterns allow you to mark seams and folds, and other notes for cutting and sewing. Susan shared that it's better to make a mistake on paper that you can tape back together, or throw in the recycling bin, than on the client’s fabric. "I like the pattern paper from Rowley Company that is marked in 1 inch increments, but you can also use craft paper", she shared. The scale drawing blown-up to full size on the pattern paper. You will add for the pleats, and mark the seams.