Making your own Window Treatments

It seems that I have a blog stalker who loves to drop by and leave me mean and nasty comments, all the way from the way I decorate, to yardsales, advertising, and the way I live my life. Since she continues to drop by every couple of weeks for the last month (and of course, hiding behind Anon. and usually at night when I’m not on the computer) I’d just like to take this opportunity to put her right where she apparently wants to be, front and center. And this will be the only time I address this here on the blog. I refuse to get into a “who can out retort who” contest.

Dear Anon: There are plenty of people who do like my blog and me, so I really don’t care what you think about me, my house, my decorating abilities, or my blog for that matter, so do yourself a favor and don’t come back. You promised that the last time and then again, last night decided to stop by and throw a little more mud my way. Your comments will continue to be deleted. I feel sorry for people like you who apparently have nothing better to do than sling criticisms and nastiness on others and it’s really very sad. So, I hope you’ll make good on your earlier promises and just be GONE. You are not a friend of mine and you’re not welcome here. I have the DELETE power and will just zap your comments if you decide to leave more, so don’t bother.

And here’s just a little advice for YOU. You might want to learn to spell if you continue to throw snarky comments at people who yard sale (not yard sail). There’s no boat involved in this sport. 🙂

Now, on to more fun topics!!


Some of you have asked about choosing and making window treatments for your home, so I thought I’d just share a bit about how I came up with all of mine. Like I mentioned before, my mom has done all my sewing for me my whole life and has sewed countless window treatments for me, as I’ve used them for a few years and then got tired of the fabric or decided on another style. I usually keep them for at least 5-7 years and the ones in my house now are no exception. It’s too costly to trade out window treatments on a whim, so I try to stick with classics that will last a long time for me.

Now, let me just say that my window treatments would never pass the test of a real designer, but they work just fine for me. I’m sure a workroom seamstress will look at these pics of my mom’s sewn treatments with a frowny face and probably think that they look homemade and that’s fine. They work for me! 🙂


First up, my beachy guestroom that I redid for under $500. Since I found the comforter set at a yardsale, it was easy to just buy the 96” length panel for this window from Target. Done, finished. Hang it on a black iron swing-arm rod and this window is A-OK by me. Again, I’ll tell you that one trick I’ve learned is to hang those window treatments as high as you can on the windows. Hang them high and hang them wide, outside your actual window where the edge of your molding is covered, but not the entire window. Makes those windows look so much more important and bigger than they might be in person. This optical illusion works wonders on most all windows.


My mom made this little treatment for a screened porch I had and then redid it for my laundry room when I moved in this house. I had this apple green velvet from Ballards in my stash and she added the black leaf fabric to the top and bottom of this little treatment. I just shirred it on an iron rod and again, took it all the way to the ceiling. Trim is such a great way to personalize your window treatments. Even if you buy ready-made window treatments, you can always add some trim to them to give them an extra special look. This trim was left over from my kitchen project, which we’ll get to in a minute. I always save every scrap of trim just in case I can use it elsewhere. I love trim and have used my hot glue gun to add trim to pillows, but really prefer fabric glue. It just works and looks better to me. You don’t get those globs of glue that you get with the hot glue gun.


I’m not above buying panels out of a catalog either. These are some simple linen/cotton panels that I found at the Company Store online and the pair was about $70. Not bad at all. These aren’t even lined, but I loved the fabric pattern and since they were hanging on top of the wall and not covering the windows, it didn’t even matter if they were professionally lined or not. And actually, the catalog showed the dark border as the bottom of the window treatment, but it was so pretty and would be behind the sofa, that I switched it and put the prettiest part at the top. They fit the bill for my den and look great in here on a simple iron rod. So keep that in mind when you are looking at ready-made panels in the catalog. How can you change them to work in YOUR house. Oh and by the way, most of my window hardware you see in ALL these pics came from yardsales. Without exception, almost every single thing came from yardsales over the years. There are great things out there to be found, I’m tellin’ ya! So check those out as you’re looking too.


These are actually 2 valances that my mom made for me too. They started out as just the floral fabric and were simple little treatments that I think I had shirred on a rod at first. After I found the solid gold silk bee fabric at a yardsale for about $1, I asked her if she would rework them for me and add the silk on there. She did and this is what we came up with.


She added the gold silk as a cuff at the top and as a little skirt on the bottom and then we put a row of trim over the seam to dress it up. Since my one window here was way wider than my old house’s single window, I just hung these both together and they appear as one treatment now. This was a perfect treatment for this window coming up the stairs into our livingroom.


Our upstairs guestbath is really a very simple treatment to make. If you sew at all, you could do this one. It’s just a rectangle, lined on the back with off-white lining and I used clip rings to hang it from the iron rod. Again, my mom made this one too. With some brush fringe across the bottom, that adds a little pizazz for very little money. I couldn’t hang this one up any higher, since I needed to cover the top of the window.


This shower curtain topper was made pretty much the same way and the whole thing is shirred on a rod so has a rod pocket. Added the brush fringe again and that band of checked fabric was from my toile drapes in the other bedroom. I added the covered buttons just to make it more custom. You could do this with any combination of fabrics and that checked band is just hot glued together to form the swags.


I had 2 sets of toile drapes that my mom made me for my bedroom about 8 years ago. Still love this fabric combo and used one set of drapes in my dining room and one set in the toile guestroom. I was happy that it worked out like that since each room has one big window. The great thing about using panels is that you can move them from house to house and they will always work. Might need to hem them, but they still still work as long as you keep them long enough to begin with. These puddle slightly on the floor.


I took some pics underneath to show you how easy these are put together. This black checked topper is an upholstery weight material and is simple sewed back to back with the panel and the topper hangs down. Added some bullion fringe to this one too. I haven’t actually tried sewing panels, but I think I could do it. This is just simple straight line sewing.


Lined with white lining and hemmed on the sides. Again, this hardware, poles & honking big fleur de lis finials were found at a yardsale when I was in Atlanta.


Rings are sewn right onto the top of the panel and they form their own pleat with the heavier fabric on the topper.


Back of the topper fabric.


Again, mom made these blue silk drapes in our master bedroom. I love the little scalloped paisley she added to the top of these. I had seen a pic and asked her to try it and they turned out so cute. Unfortunately, this silk has faded along the edges since I hung these 3 years ago. The morning sun comes in here strong and even through the white blinds a lot of heat is generated. But, I’ll live with them for a few years before I change them out.


Behind the panel. And yes, I found this pole and finials at a yardsale too.


The little topper is just attached at the top and flops over the front.


While we’re in here, I thought I’d show you the Linden Street lamp I got from that deal a few months ago. I love this new lamp in here in the reading nook.

Kitchen WT

Now, to the kitchen. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this fabric. I’ve had this valance for 7 years now and still love it. The fabric is Braemore Garden Tureen in Crimson and I don’t think you can find it anymore. At least, I haven’t seen it online in quite awhile. I do think there is a lime green version of it that is still available though.

I saw a valance like this at Forsyth Fabrics in Atlanta way back then and took pics of it front and back, so we could copy it. My mom did a great job with it and we figured out how to put it together and get the same look. It picked three fabrics for this and I love how they all work together. The plaid is just pleated and added on the bottom and the top is sewed as the lining and the topper and just folds over the top so it can be seen. Simple pleats along the top create the little bit of swag that you see and this window is wider than my old window was so I think I even took out a few of the pleats to make it wider. If you’re trying to make something like this, I think the rule of thumb is to make your valance about 2 times wider than your window and the pleats will take up a lot of the fabric too.

I fell in love with this fabric at first glance because it has bunnies on it.


See? This is what I fell in love with.


Again, trim from Forsyth’s in Atlanta was added along the seam at the bottom. At the time, I splurged on this trim and it really makes these.


And here’s the back of it so you can see how it was put together. We allowed enough of the green fabric to line the back and still have enough to drape over the top as a cuff. Rings were sewed on the top. See, not so hard when you see it put together.

So, I hope this has helped you all a little to see that you can have custom drapes without spending a fortune. Now I know you’ll probably say…..yeah, but your mom made all of those. And yes, she did. I’m sure blessed with that. But, there are a lot of seamstresses in every town who work at home and charge reasonable rates, so if you do want something custom made, it’s definitely worth it to get what you want.

Birmingham’s own, Pate Meadows, has some wonderful window treatment patterns, so check them out too if you haven’t before. Most of the fabric stores in Atlanta carry their patterns and I’ve used them several times. They are very stylish and Southern Living has used Pate Meadows treatments many times in their showhouses.

The best part about custom is you get to choose your fabrics. You’re not stuck with whatever the manufacturers are offering on their ready-mades. I just love having my own choice of fabrics and styles in my house. Not cookie-cutter at all. And I hope this gives you some inspiration to try something new in your own house. And better yet, learn to sew! I have that sewing machine I found at a yardsale, so I need to get busy myself and learn some new things about sewing.

For an extra special treat, go over to my friend, Judy’s blog for some design on a dime drapes. Drop cloth drapes with an attitude. You will love this one too!

- Rhoda


  1. Jo Draven says:

    Oh my gosh, Rhoda! How could anyone say anything awful to YOU?

    You have helped me and my family so much! We have saved TONS of money because of a healthy respect for thrifting, cooking at home, and DIY-ing — all because of your blog!

    DIRECTLY because of your influence, I have painted a really hideous (but free!) bookcase, two chests of drawers (AND changed the drawer handles), installed curtain rods (okay, I know this is simple .. NOW, but really, I never would have attempted this before), and it just goes on.

    I guess I'm writing because of the same reason as many others: to let you know how much I appreciate your "voice," because I sure as heck don't comment enough for you to understand.

    I haven't been unlucky enough to see this person's comments, but I sure hope that you NEVER stop blogging. It's been a real joy to follow your blog for close to a year now!

    Jo Draven in Toronto (Go GOP!! LOL)

  2. Wonderful job done. Very neat sewing job done i must congratulate you mum for it.
    Lovely trims done and with so much neatness.

  3. Window coverings could really bring colors and shades to your old dull windows. Aside from this, it would give you more privacy and protection against from direct sunlight.

  4. Beautiful, just beautiful – I think they could pass any “real” designer test! I enjoy reading your blog every single day….

  5. Hi Rhoda,
    I just came across your blog while searching for a company that makes valences. Whoever was leaving you horrible remarks is a horrible person with nothing better to do. Your blog is great!

  6. I’ve never left a comment before but have browsed your blog a number of times. I think your blog is fabulous and every time it comes up on one of my searches I have to take a peek! Today I was searching valances 🙂

  7. Your window treatments are just wonderful! Very inspiring. I’m in the dreaming/planning phase and adore your ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Decor Diorama says:

    Wow…you and your Mom are made of awesome. Such inspirational pics and tips! I’m TRYING to cover a biiiig kitchen window that gets blinding sun glare. I will look over your entire blog!

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