Monday, January 25, 2010

Dishtowel Valance in 15 Minutes. On your mark, get set...


I’ve had these dishtowels kicking around for quite some time.

Too pretty to mess up doing dirty kitchen work.
No sense in having them if I’m not going to use them.

I chose them because I liked the earthy green color and the artichoke motif.

My kitchen has just one window over the sink and I don’t really want to block out the light or the view of the back yard.
So I decided press the towels into service over the window.
Here’s how I did it in 15 minutes, and with 3 sewing steps.
I know, right?

For this project you will need:

3-4 clean kitchen towels that have been
washed and dried and pressed

1 spring-tension curtain rod
(1/2” diameter) that fits the window

Sewing machine with straight and zigzag capabilities

Matching thread


Step 1

Back in home economics class (when dinosaurs roamed the earth) I learned how to install a zipper using scotch tape. I decided to apply the same principals here. Since the seams are already finished and I didn’t want to create bulkiness or a raw edge, I butted the seams of each towel along their side edges and taped them in place.

Next I set my sewing machine on the widest zigzag I have and positioned the foot centered over the trough where the two towels meet and zigzagged right down through the tape catching each towel at the left and right. Repeat with second towel.

Pull off the tape from each side et voila!

You now have all three towels nicely connected into one large rectangular “curtain” piece. (wish I’d taken a picture at this step, but it’s too late now, so close your eyes and picture three towels sewn together at the sides. Nice huh?)

Step 2

Next I folded the curtain piece in half horizontally matching the top and bottom together ALMOST!
Note in the picture above that I did not butt the back EXACTLY along the bottom edge, just to be sure it wouldn’t show from the front.

The artichoke motif is now at the bottom looking at you there’s a fold at the top and the other half can not be seen from the front side but is hanging nicely against the window.

Use your iron to press on the fold.

Measure 1.5” from the fold. Mark with chalk or other invisible/washable marker.
(I keep soap slivers which are great for this!) Recycling yet again. Love that!

Stitch a single, straight line all the way down the marked line.
...and we're sewing...

Step 3

Measure second line repeating Step 2 except
THIS TIME MEASURE FROM THE STITCHED LINE YOU JUST DID instead of the fold, marking and stitching just as before.

You know have a pocket for your curtain rod and a nice ruffle across the top.



  1. Cute! Thanks for the how-to.

  2. Kathleen, I've done the same with old, from a tag sale, dresser scarves. They are almost always handmade (I lived in the country back then) and far to pretty to discard, even damaged. These had pulled thread work and some had crocheted ends or embroidery. Invariably they were done on white muslin. Fold so the less-than-perfect bits are hidden, lace a bit of fine ribbon through the openings if you need a touch of color. In some small windows I merely made a small heading and let the croceted ends drape to either side. Although my tastes tend to be more modern, I was living in a two-hundred year old house at the time which asked for, no, demanded, a touch of the old fahioned.

    Sorry, I don't like to post anonymously but I can't get "permission" from your site here to do it any other way. Karen

  3. Clever, resourceful and pretty! And in 15-minutes? You're a woman after my own heart! Nice tutorial! Thank you! :)

  4. I have never heard the scotch tape trick! I, too, had home-ec, however don't remember anything as enlightening as this! I consider myself a beginning seamstress, so am always looking for ways to make the techniques a little easier and more understandable! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Such a great idea for those "too pretty to use" textiles! Hmmmm, I'm tired of my kitchen curtains, too (& only have one window)-maybe I can borrow this idea!

  6. Great idea and timely for me since I just bought some vintage towels at Goodwill-- what a steal! Can't wait to do this in my kitchen!

  7. Love this idea. I really enjoyed your tutorial and may have to put it to use when I find the dish towels I put away somewhere. LOL!