Curtains finish a room as well as having the obvious practical advantages of keeping the drafts out and closing you off from the outside world, but you need to be thrifty if you want plush curtains for a reasonable price. I’ve been thinking through ways of making mine on a budget. Following my large patchwork curtain experiment in A foray into furnishings and home decor, here are five more thrifty ideas:

  • Look out for end of roll bargains or remnants for sale – mix fabrics if necessary by adding a deep border to the main fabric, or create broad stripes of complimentary fabrics
  • For linings and inter-linings, if you need to make several curtains check out eBay for whole rolls at knock-down prices
  • Check out charity shops and vintage shops for curtains as a source of fabric. Don’t like the fabrics? How about re-using a perfectly good lining?
  • Try Freecycle or similar for a free source of material
  • Take a plain fabric and add your own embellishment with embroidery, machine stitching or stencilling etc

How much you can get your lovely looking curtains on a budget, or even if you’re lucky for free, all depends on how much time you are prepared to spend sourcing materials (be that online or trotting round the shops), or using some crafty know-how to make the best of the materials you have to hand.

If winters are cold then lined and inter-lined curtains could pay dividends, and making your own is surely one way of keeping the cost down. Not only that, but you could be saving ££££s, $$$$s, euros etc on your heating bills rather than unintentionally heating your garden (and keeping the birds warm). We still have the original single-glazed sash windows at the front of our 1901 house, and as I didn’t want to replace them or even add double glazing I had to think of ways of keeping the draughts out and the heat in.

This summer we renovated our downstairs bay window, replacing more rotten wood that we expected and replacing old beading with draft-excluding beading. It was a big job but worth the investment in time and effort, and here is the result:

Add to that some thick lined and inter-lined curtains, and the heat from our woodburner will hopefully stay inside where we want it to be. For the back room I’ve gone for large-scale patchwork curtains, perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but I’d be happy with some homespun style here. For this window I want something more straight forward. It’s a big window, but by bidding on eBay for whole rolls of fabric I think I now have the means to make some nice looking curtains for half the price of ready-made ones.

Curtain fabric and lining bought by the roll
Patchwork curtains in progress

Vintage fabrics are making a come back, so you might find a little vintage fabric makes your windows look special. Try eBay, flea markets and vintage fairs. Charity shops often have curtains, and if you can’t find quite the right fabric you could try using the linings or going for a fairly plain fabric and adding some embellishment. Raid the haberdashery shop, add fringes, edging or borders. Get creative – stencilling, machine stitching or even hand stitching over smaller areas could transform an ordinary fabric. There are many good ideas for stencilled curtains on Pinterest.

I’m working on some Kantha stitching on curtain lining to add into my patchwork curtains. There’s always something new to learn……

Kantha stitching on curtain lining fabric