Transform Thrift Store Curtains - Alter & Create Valances




Introduction: Transform Thrift Store Curtains - Alter & Create Valances

Curtains are expensive and usually end up being way too long for your windows. I recently bought some silk curtains from a thrift store for $2. They were too long so I decided to hem them. Also, my home office only had standard blinds and I wanted some valances to add a little style. I saw a few at the store, but they were pretty ugly and pricey. So, I decided to hem my curtains and use the excess material to make valances. If you don't need valances, you could also use that excess material to make some pillow covers to match. I will probably do that next time! If you can't find any decent curtains at a local thrift store, you can always buy them from a regular store. The price for the longest curtains is oftentimes the same price you'd pay for shorter ones - so buy the longest ones possible as you'll use that excess material to create some valances!

Note: You may notice in the images that the material is not the same in some of the images. This is just because I purchased some curtains on two separate occasions and altered them - and I wanted to show a variety of photos - so I've done this project twice so far!

Step 1: Measure & Cut the Curtains

  • The first thing you need to do is hang one of the curtains up on the curtain rod. This way you can see exactly how long it will be once it is on the curtain rod, so you can decide where to hem it. Mark the spot you want to hem it at - with a piece of tape or a marker.
  • Lay the curtains on the floor. I recommend ironing the curtain at this point if you haven't already - it makes it easier to sew and work with. (in my image you can see how wrinkled it is - as I did not yet iron it)
  • Fold material in half or lay it out flat - then cut a straight line across where you want to hem it. In the first image, you can see that I also cut a strip in the middle. I did this to create a tie for the curtain. *Note: Like I said in the first step, I did this project on two separate occasions. So here you can see there is not a lot of material left for a valance, although I could make a small one. My second time doing this, I had two feet of material left over - you'll see it in the other images. It was plenty of material to make a valance.

Step 2: Iron & Pin Curtains in Preparation for Hemming

  • Fold the bottom of the material to prepare for hemming. You may need to put some water in your iron for steaming or use something to help keep the material ironed and flattened.
  • After going across the bottom with the iron, then you will need to fold it one more time and iron again - pinning along the way. See images.

Step 3: Hem the Curtains

Sew the curtains, removing the pins as you go along. Your curtains are done!
Now you can prepare to make your valances!

Step 4: Plan, Cut, Iron & Pin

Now you need to plan how you want your valances to look. There are so many different styles to choose from. Your decision partially depends on how much material you have, and also on how ambitious you are! For me, I had never made valances before. I looked at a variety of styles online and thought it would look nice to create valances with the style you see in my images. I then decided to add a decorative touch to it - with some lace edging I got on sale the other day. Take a look online for ideas!

For my valances, I originally created them to lay flat and go across the entire curtain rod. But, I thought it looked kind of weird as it was much wider than the actual window width, so I pinned it down in a few places and sewed it to create a new style, which you can see in the images.
  • I folded my material in half, made chalk marks where I wanted to cut & then cut across with my rotary cutter
  • I pinned the first one I cut onto the 2nd valance, so I could use it as a pattern & cut it exactly the same as the first one
  • Then iron, just as you did in previous steps, fold, iron & pin in place

Step 5: Sew on Lace & Finish Up

Lastly, I pinned the decorative lace in place (after sewing the seam already) in preparation for sewing it on. I sewed the lace on and my valance was done! Cut off any excess threads and hang your valance up. You can then take a good look at it and see if you want to alter it in any way. It is easy to create different styles while it's hung up, by using pins to secure it.

This project has endless possibilities for different styles and you can really transform some boring curtains into beautiful custom pieces that fit your home nicely.



  • Paper Contest 2018

    Paper Contest 2018
  • Sew Warm Contest 2018

    Sew Warm Contest 2018
  • First Time Author Contest 2018

    First Time Author Contest 2018

We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.