How to Make Window Treatments

Learning how to make window treatments will give you the freedom and flexibility to coordinate any window covering with your room decor. You can learn how to make window treatments that are simple or elaborate, with a touch of whimsy or elegance, or even something retro to fit your mood. Combine curtains, window blinds or shades, valances or cornices, tie-backs and window scarves to create a wide range of window treatment looks.

Window treatments don't have to be store-bought and expensive. With a few simple sewing tools and techniques, you can create your very own unique window treatments. Here are instructions for making some popular window treatments.

The tools you will need to make window treatments include a needle and thread; a sewing machine; a measuring tape; scissors; a pencil; straight pins; an iron; decorative ribbon; and a curtain rod.

Of course, you will need fabric. Solid colors are fine, but don't hesitate to choose a vibrant, cheerful pattern. Lining material is optional, but recommended for patterned fabric to help prevent sun fading.

A valance is a very popular window treatment element, and easy to make. Once you have chosen your fabric, cut a piece two times as long as the width of your window and frame, and about one-and-one-half feet wide. Flatten the edges with an iron and hem the two vertical sides and one horizontal side with a sewing machine or by hand. Fold the remaining edge over the back of the material several inches. Make a ruffle by sewing a line all the way across the folded material in its center. Then make a rod pocket by sewing another line about three inches beneath the fold. Insert a curtain rod and hang your new valance!

Making a simple full-length curtain is even easier. Cut material the width of your window and whatever length you prefer. But remember to allow extra inches for hems all around. Then cut strips of material four inches wide and eight inches long. Fold these strips lengthwise in thirds and stitch. Fold the straps in half and sew to the top back side of the curtain, forming loops through which a curtain rod can be threaded.

Not all homemade window treatments start from whole cloth. Take match-stick blinds, for example. Alone, they're bare sticks that roll up over a window; rather bland, and not good for privacy. But try this: cut a piece of boldly patterned or striped material the width and length of the unrolled match stick blind. Cover the back side of the cloth with spray adhesive, available at all fabric stores. Glue the fabric to the back side of the match stick blinds ­ the side facing into the room. Voila! A novel window treatment that can be coordinated with any fabric in your room.

Or take the same match-stick blinds and add interest with a window scarf and valance of fabric coordinating with your room. For privacy you can add a sheer or curtain to the window treatment.

Cornices add a dramatic touch to windows of any size, from narrow kitchen and bathroom windows to room-length panes. To make a cornice, you need only boards, nails, and brackets. A 9-inch deep cornice looks great in bathrooms and kitchens. The wider the window opening, the deeper the cornice can be. Use spray glue to fasten fabric over the cornice for a coordinated look.

Making your own window treatments is fun and frugal. It gives you a chance to let you imagination run free, and to coordinate fabrics throughout your home. Try your hand at making your own windows treatments and see just how easy it is!