Easy to make Valances and Curtains

We’re all getting pretty tired of the dreariness of winter. It’s time for spring, and a fresh look for our homes. However, due to either budget constraints or lack of finding exactly the items that we have in mind, we tend to just leave things as they are. With your window treatments, that need not be the case. It is super easy to change the look of a room with new curtains or valances, and can be a very economical fix as well, as long as you own a good pair of scissors, an iron and a sewing machine (or can borrow one or use a relatives/friends machine). Now, don’t panic and tune out! Yes, I said sewing machine – but don’t let that scare you – you only need to be able to make it sew a straight stitch for a quick seam – that’s it!

Guys – think of it as a “tool” for fixing something, and not just a “clothing-thing machine”. Once you do that, you’ll use it more often than you think.  🙂 

Okay – to make Quick  Curtains and Valances:

Supplies – You will need 2 matching Twin size Flat Sheets for a set of curtains in the color/print you want for that particular room; or if you are making valances, you will need 1 Twin size Flat Sheet for 3 – 4 Valences. You will also need a spool of thread in a color to match/blend with the fabric. *See note below regarding using fabric off of the bolt for curtains and valances.

*If you are not using a sheet and have instead found a piece of fabric that you want to use, just make sure that you have a piece of fabric that is at least 42 inches wide. If you are buying fabric off of bolt, figure that you will need 1 yard of fabric to make approx. 2 valances, depending on the finished length that you want. If you are making curtains,  figure that you will need approximately  1 and 1/2 yards  to 2 yards of fabric PER curtain panel, depending on finished length.

For Full Length Little or No-Sew Curtains – Find the “top” of the sheet (the wider top hem that goes towards the head of the bed). See if it has the sides of that hem sewn closed. If not, insert a curtain rod thru the wide hem of both sheets, and hang up your curtains!! If it is sewn closed, then fold that hem over towards the back of the fabric, pin it in place. Now sew across the bottom (open, pinned edge) of the hem only (not up the sides) to form a “rod pocket”. Be sure to “back stitch” at the start and finish of the sewing line to secure the threads and strengthen the edges. Press out any wrinkles with the iron and Viola’ instant curtains!! Now if you want to tie the curtains back, a pretty piece of ribbon or cording will work just nice!

For the Valences or shorter Curtains – First, measure your window down from The Top of the Curtain Rod to the longest point of the window (length) that you want your valances or curtains to cover. WRITE THIS DOWN!!! Now, add 2 inches to this length (for the bottom hem you will make), and add 5 more inches to that measurement (for the top “rod pocket” that you will make).  Total this up, and you now have the Total Length of fabric that you will need to cut from the sheet/fabric.

If using a sheet, locate and cut off that top wide hem that we talked about earlier. If you are only making 1 valance, you can leave this hem on and do exactly as you were directed above for the curtains. However, if you are making more than 1 valance, you will end up with unmatching rod pockets if you keep this wide hem on!

Now, measure down the fabric the total length that you came up with from your earlier measurements, and cut off the length of fabric needed. If using a bolt fabric, cut off your selvage edges now as well. Lay fabric piece out flat, right side (front of fabric) face DOWN.

If you are using a sheet for your fabric, the side edges are already finished for you. However, if you are using a bought piece of fabric you will need to fold each side edge in 1/2 inch, and then 1/2 inch again, pin in place, press and sew to encase the raw edge left from cutting off your selvage edges.

To make top rod pocket, fold 1 inch of top edge of fabric towards you (remember, fabric is laying face DOWN and you are working on the backside of fabric); fold that inch of fabric over onto itself again to enclose your raw edge. Pin in place, press and sew straight across pinned edge of hem. Now, fold that same hem over to the back of the fabric  3 inches, pin in place, press and sew across hem again. You should have a rod pocket that will easily accept up to a 2 inch wide curtain rod.

Now go down to the unfinished bottom edge of fabric and fold it up 1 inch (working from the backside of the fabric again), and then up 1 inch again  to encase the raw edge. Pin in place, press and sew closed.

Congratulations!!! You’ve just made yourself, or your kids, or whoever some new valances!! You should be proud!! You did good, and just saved yourself a whole bunch of money, not to mention all of the time you saved running from store to store trying to find ready-made curtains/valances in the fabric that you wanted. Enjoy your newfound curtain making knowhow, and go spruce up those windows!!   😉