Language Barrier.

Hi All Elsie here.

O.K. So there is a whole other language in soft furnishing.

One of the main areas of confusion surrounds the decorative item above a curtain. The following post aims to help you with the difference between them.

VALANCE / PELMET / LAMBREQUIN

VALANCE

Soft gathered or flat item to decorate the top of a window.

This item is normally frilled with tape at the top or hand formed  pleats.

The item is not solid. (You can also have a valance on a bed to cover the base).

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The first image is a pencil pleat valance with an upstand but you can get other headings (as with curtains).

You can keep them simple or make them complicated. Whatever suits.

PELMET

Hard decorative item across top of window.

Stiffener is used such as ply or bucrum.

I personally prefer ply as it holds its shape better, is easier to shape and gives you neater returns. You can also make the pelmet quite big if needed with ply but not so good with bucrum.

Ply is dearer but the finish is far superior.

Pelmets are also attached to a pelmet board (plank of wood) after curtains have been hung underneath the board). Tape, velcro or both can be used to make them stay put.

The returns on the pelmet can vary but the basic two are 3 / 4 inch over a roman blind or 6 inch over a curtain. Things can effect the return size such a casement window, rails and other obstacles.

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These are all ply pelmets.

The following is a bucrum, look at the return (the fold going to the wall). Not very neat is it? Also note the ripples on the face. These are inherent on most bucrum pelmets.

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LAMBREQUIN

These are a bit more complicated. Similar to pelmets they are ply.

The board however is an integral part of the pelmet so the construction is similar to that of upholstery.

Everything is covered with lining, interlining and the fabric. Because of this the main fabric finishes at the bottom of the board and does not wrap under and around the back of the board (unlike a pelmet), therefore a trim needs to be added to the bottom to hide the end of the fabric and the subsequent staples that are used to hold the cloth in place.                                                                   As you can imagine this item becomes very time-consuming and therefore expensive.

Due to the board being part of the lambrequin face the curtains have to be hung onto the rail under the board, then the whole thing is lifted onto brackets. Lambrequins tend to be heavy so two people are generally needed for fitting them, adding to the cost again.

Lambrequins tend to be a lot more elaborate and can be quite architectural due to how they are constructed. You can layer them up aswell these are then called double layered.

I liked to put an additional visible pelmet board on top that was wider than the lambrequin underneath. I often covered it with a contrast fabric to give an additional feature with a cord nestled underneath. This is called a top hat.

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I hope this helps clear up any confusion.

Thanks for reading. E.D.Wolfe

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