Curtains offer an abundance of fabric for craft projects once their usefulness as window coverings has ended. The fabric is often in like-new condition, as the only wear a typical curtain gets is from hanging in a window. Recycle window treatments from your linen closet or purchase them inexpensively from yard sales and thrift stores to create new household items. Some projects utilize the existing hems and rod casings of the curtains --- or these elements can be cut away, leaving you with a blank canvas.
Curtain Panel Duvet Cover
Measure the width and length of your existing comforter and add 1 inch to each measurement.
Cut off the hems and casings from old curtain panels. Piece together the panels using a sewing machine; create two identical rectangles the size of your comforter measurements. Note that if you would like a reversible cover, or if you do not have enough of one curtain to produce two rectangles, you can use different curtains for each rectangle.
Lay down one rectangle with the right side facing up. Place the other rectangle on top of it with the wrong side facing up. Pin the sides and bottom edges and sew them together using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Iron the seams open --- this will give you crisp edges when you turn the cover right-side-out.
Fold over the top edges 1/4 inch and iron them until they lay flat. Fold over another 1/4 inch of material, iron the edges and pin them. Sew around the pinned edges to form a hem.
Cut out four strips that are 3 inches wide by 12 inches long from the leftover curtain fabric. These will be the ties for the duvet cover.
Fold one strip in half with the right sides together and the long edges matching. Iron the fold. Open the strip and refold the long edges to the center crease. Iron the folds. Fold the strip in half again, matching the long edges. Iron and pin. Sew the pinned edge. Repeat with the remaining ties.
Lay the cover on a flat surface. Measure the top hemmed edge to find the center and mark it with a straight pin. Place one tie on either side of the pin with the top of each tie extending above the edge and 1/2 inch of the tie ends on the hem. Then, separate the ties by 24 inches and pin their ends to the hem. Sew over the ties to connect them to the hem. Turn the cover over and attach the other two ties in the same way.
Turn the duvet cover right-side-out. Insert your comforter into the cover. Attach the top of each raw side seam of the cover to the comforter using safety pins to prevent the comforter from shifting. Match the back ties with the front ties and tie the top closed.
Recycled Curtain Apron
Lay one curtain panel with straight edges on your work surface. Measure and cut a 22-inch square --- one side of the square must be the top rod casing edge and one side must be a hemmed side of the curtain.
Lay the square with the wrong side facing up on your ironing surface. Fold over the cut side edge by 1/4 inch and iron it. Fold over another 1/4 inch of material, iron it and pin it. Sew the pinned edge to create a hem. Fold and sew a hem on the cut bottom edge in the same way.
Lay the hemmed square on your work surface with the wrong side facing up. One end of the top casing will have an opening for the curtain rod. The other end will have been sewn closed by the hem you created in Step 2. On the end with the opening, measure the distance from the opening to the outer edge of the material. Using that measurement, mark that distance on the hemmed end with a straight pin. Using scissors, cut open the casing at the pinned mark. Do not cut through to the front of the square.
Cut a 60-inch length of 1-inch-wide ribbon. Attach a safety pin to one end of the ribbon. Insert the safety pin in one opening in the casing. Guide the safety pin through the casing and out the other opening. Remove the pin. Adjust the ribbon so that an even amount of material extends from both sides.
Put on the apron, tying the ribbon ends in the back. Adjust the casing to gather the skirt on the front of the body.
Based in the Midwest, Cyndee Kromminga has been writing craft and interior design articles for 15 years. Her articles and craft designs have appeared in Crafting Traditions Magazine, Easy Holiday Crafting Series-House of White Birches Newsletter and Country Woman Christmas Books. Kromminga's education is in interior design and she has experience operating a craft and design business for more than 20 years.