Make it Easy
An Easy-to-Make Valance and Cushion Covers
When I went to high school, there was a class called Home Economics that covered both sewing and cooking. I always passed but was not among the best and the brightest. It’s my theory that my teachers gave me a passing grade out of pity for my lack of natural talent or simply because they wanted to see the back of me.
No matter. I learned how to thread a sewing machine and fill a bobbin. When I was newly married, my mother, who thought every girl should aspire to domestic greatness, bought me a sewing machine. I learned how to sew a simple pair of curtains but mostly, the machine sat idle except for mending the occasional seam on a pair of hubby’s work pants.
Over the years, when I did get the itch to stitch, it had to be something simple. Lately, decorating magazines have shown examples of cushion covers made from cloth napkins. No measuring, no cutting – just face the right sides in, sew along three sides, pop the cushion in and stitch up the remaining opening. Even someone with stunted sewing skills could do that, so I took this idea to the dollar store and discovered that you could get a package of two 17″ square napkins for cheap.
Then, reasoning that I could probably use the same idea with other materials from the dollar store, I created an oblong cushion cover by joining two tapestry placemats. This time, the stitching was done with the patterns showing out to form a ¼” border. You can do this with hemmed napkins as well. The beauty of being able to recover cushions so easily and cheaply is that you can change them with the seasons or just on a whim.
When I saw these striped tea towels, I wondered if they couldn’t be fashioned into a new window treatment for the kitchen. After all, what’s more at home in the kitchen than a tea towel?
Three tea towels were used for this 43″- wide window. I chose the striped pattern because it’s perfect for a casual kitchen. (Also, I can’t be bothered with pins.) The vertical lines meant I could just follow one of them in order to sew a straight line.
Create a rod pocket by laying out the tea towel length-wise, turning over the top edge (side of tea towel) about 3″ and sewing along the original hem. About 1 ½” from the top, complete another line of stitching to create the rod pocket and top ruffle.
My cheap valance may not be up to Home Economics standards, but it looks good anyway.