Tea towels can convert to a simple valance with one line of stitching.

How to Make Simple Kitchen Valances

by Kathryn Hatashita-Lee

A valance created from inexpensive tea towels in a pattern you admire will add a textured accent to your kitchen décor. Working with towels with finished edges helps you avoid the guesswork of sizing and cutting a valance. Folding over one end of the towel to encase the curtain rod and stitching one line will form a rod pocket for a flat or gathered topper. As an alternative, create a no-sew valance with fusible, iron-on hemming tape sold in small packages or off the roll in a fabric store. Slipping the tape between the towel layers and then pressing with an iron helps create a casing for your custom window treatment.

Place a preshrunk tea towel on a flat surface, and then set a curtain rod close to one edge of the towel.

Fold one towel edge over the rod to enclose the rod, and then insert straight pins into the two layers of toweling to create a rod pocket. This pocket should allow enough ease to create gathers, if preferred. Remove the drapery rod carefully and set aside.

Thread a hand-sewing needle or your sewing machine. Adjust your sewing machine to a regular, straight stitch with a stitch length of approximately 2.5. The machine needle can be a universal needle suitable for wovens, such as a needle size starting from 60/8.

Hand sew or machine stitch a line of stitching on the folded-down towel using the straight pins as a guide. Remove every pin as the fabric feeds along the needle plate. Back-stitch over the final few stitches by pushing the “Reverse” button or lever, and then trim close to the stitching with scissors.

Press the valance with a preheated iron, insert the curtain rod through the rod pocket and then hang your custom valance in your kitchen window.

Repeat these steps with additional tea towels to create the valance width to cover the upper windows. For example, if each finished valance panel measures 25 inches wide, and your spring tension rod measures 40 inches inside the casement, you would need three tea towels to cover this rod with a gathered valance. In this example, the fullness is a ratio of about 2:1, meaning that twice as much fabric width will cover the rod length. As you add more towel sections, stand back and view the valance from inside and outside your home to see the effect.

Items you will need

  • Tea towels
  • Curtain rod, such as a café rod or spring-tension rod
  • Straight pins
  • Thread, color-matched
  • Hand-sewing needle or universal sewing machine needle
  • Scissors
  • Iron, ironing board
  • Fusible, iron-on hemming tape


  • For a no-sew valance, insert a strip of fusible, iron-on hemming tape to attach the folded-down flap to the back of the valance. If this tape is paper-backed, remove the backing according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Press the rod pocket with a pre-heated iron. Your iron will not be in direct contact with the fusible webbing. Let the valance cool on your ironing board to ensure a strong bond.


  • Keep pins, scissors and your iron away from small children and pets. Never leave a plugged-in iron unattended.
  • Take care if you need to step up on a stepladder or sturdy chair to install the curtain rod. Do not allow children to stand on the ladder or chair, especially near a window.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images