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  • Writer's pictureSusan Woodcock

Shaped Soft Cornice

Cornice boards are usually made of wood and while they are a beautiful style and fun to construct and upholster, they can be quite heavy and difficult to install in some places. A "soft cornice" gives the same look with much less weight and can be attached to the mount board with staples or Velcro, allowing for more flexibility when installing!

The sample shown here is made with Peltex, a stiff, heavy interfacing. You can find Peltex with other interfacings and stabilizers in online and local sewing and fabric stores. You can also use a product called Skirtex which can be found with upholstery supplies. Peltex is available plain, with fusible on one side or with fusible on both sides. I am using the plain version for this soft cornice.

In addition to Peltex the project uses polyester fusible fleece , Wonder-Under paper-backed fusible web, fabric glue, welt cord, blackout lining and a mount board (1" x 4"). The basic steps for making a soft cornice are shown below.


Cut fusible fleece to the finished cornice shape allowing 3-1/2" on each side for the returns, and at the top to wrap over the board. Iron the batting to the fabric. If the fabric has a pattern motif, make sure it is centered.

Apply fusible fleece to the fabric

Cut the design out of Peltex and the adhesive web, allowing 3-1/2" extra on each side for the returns, and at the top for board mounting. Iron the adhesive web to one side of the Peltex.

Apply fusible web to the interfacing

Peel away the paper backing leaving the adhesive attached to the Peltex piece.

Peel away the paper backing.

Place the Peltex with the adhesive side down on the back of the fleece that is already attached to the fabric. Line up the pieces so the shape matches.

apply to the back of the fleece

Press and steam the pieces together using a press cloth to prevent the Peltex from sticking to the iron. An old linen towel is used as a press cloth here but a scrap of cotton drapery lining would work fine too.

steam the pieces together

Trim away excess fabric along the bottom, shaped edge leaving about 2 inches.

Trim away excess fabric, leaving about 2 inches.

Clip curves and press the edges over the Peltex, following the shape.

Clip the fabric around the curves, and press.

Glue the raw edges to the back of the Peltex using fabric glue and let it dry. You can iron the edges to speed up the time it takes for the glue to set.

Glue the fabric to the back of the interfacing.

Make bias covered welt cord and sew to another wider piece of bias cut fabric. This will hide the stitching.

Sew welt cord to a strip of fabric.

With the cornice piece face up, glue the welt cord along the bottom edge following the design. Pin in place as you glue.

Glue welt cord along the bottom edge.

Let the glue dry before you continue...

Let the glue dry...

When the glued welt cord is set, turn the piece over and clip the edges of the bias strip as needed so it will lay flat. Glue to the back.

Clip the bias strip as needed.

Turn over the fabric at each side to cover the returns. You want fabric to wrap inside the returns because this area can be seen when viewing from below. Add Sealah Adhesive Shaper to the return areas before you glue down all the fabrics. The wire in the shaper allows the returns to be bent to hold their shape. Turn under all cut edges and finish the back neatly, gluing it all together.

Cover the back with blackout lining, trimming evenly around the bottom shape. The blackout lining can be attached with adhesive web, or glued in place. Gimp braid can be glued over the edge of the lining but blackout doesn't fray so it can be left like this if it is securely glued.

Cover the back with blackout lining.

Before attaching to the board, turn over the returns, and top edge and press with steam to create neat and square corners. Cut away excess batting and Peltex at the corners. Staple to the board and wrap under cut edges on the top corners and finish neatly with glue or staples. Install to the wall using L-brackets.

Finished soft cornice.

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