Dollar Store Style

Free Decorating Ideas and Tips by Marlene Alexander

Kitchen and Bath



Make it Easy 


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 amongst 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 a dollar.



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 (a dollar each). 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. 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 three-dollar valance may not be up to home economics standards, but it does the job just as well.  








see also: Make it Easy 

for more easy to make craft ideas.


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