It’s Curtains for You, Sweetheart.

Thrift Score Thursday
A No-Sew Cozy Tunic Dress

If you scrounge in the same  bottom of the bin thrift stores I do, you can’t help but notice a large quantity of curtain panels. Some are with their mates, and some fly solo, but they’re always there…crumpled in the bins at the $1 a pound Goodwill Clearance Centers (and other similar establishments), waiting to be chosen.

Of course, if you already like your existing drapes, you probably pass these over. But at less than $1 a pop…perhaps you should follow the lead of one enterprising young lady and rethink that.

She saw it in the window and just had to have it.

Here’s the deal. Buying thrift store curtains is one of the best ways to get good thick fabric for a tiny fraction of what you would pay at a craft store for similar quality and yardage.

You just have to think of how you can use them!

Back in 2011, I made this simple halter dress from a leftover panel.

You could, of course, make yours longer.

Rashon Carraway suggests using thrifted curtains (as well as other thrifted textiles) as tablecloths for your next dinner party.


He also says that if you can’t find enough of the same type to mix & match and also try draping them over solid white tablecloths for a pop of color.

Rita Joy at Harbour Breeze has a great tutorial on how to turn a curtain with grommets into unique pillows that turn something purely functional into a surprisingly classy decorative accent.

Who knew?
Who knew?

Or, if you’re like me and you have a comfy sofa that could use a little lightening up, just tuck a curtain panel in a pretty print around the seat cushions.

Cheapest makeshift upholstery job you'll ever do!
Cheapest makeshift upholstery job you’ll ever do!
Welcome to my living room!
Welcome to my living room!

I was so close to buying a new couch. The one I have is cozy (and a lovely hand-me-down from one of my best friends), but that hunter green is a bit dour & dated for my tastes. I figure I’ll be able to enjoy it for at least a couple more years with its updated look. :)


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47 thoughts on “It’s Curtains for You, Sweetheart.

  1. Oh nooooo! My cell phone freaked out when I went to vote and I meant 5 huge stars! Someone help me here and vote more stars! Great article and I’m so thrilled to have you writing everyday! !!!!

  2. OMG I use old drapes to make all sorts of things, from seat covers for my dining room set, to table runners, place mats and yes, even pillow covers! Awesome to see I’m not the only one!

  3. Great idea! I honestly would not have considered that curtain fabric quality is better and cheaper than buying yardage at a local shop or even a chain store. And for the price, I don’t feel like it’s a waste if my creation turns out…more unique than I expected.

  4. I’m with you. I wish more people would think of ways to keep all of that useful fabric out of the landfills. Great post.

  5. Love this post! Sadly, I have never seen a 1.00 bin in the thrift stores I go too. And I mean a big fat, tears streaming down face, open mouth wailing kind of sad.

    1. I was thinking that cutting a pretty panel and stretching it over an old frame would make a pretty piece of art work!

  6. I hang the thick ones on my concrete basement walls to block cold air, and hang others over the foot railing on the bed so you can’t see the junk stuffed under it :-)

  7. Am I the only one who is thinking if Carol Burnette? I’m giggling over here. Just a bit. Loving you Jillian babe!

  8. I always check out the clearance curtain panels, shower curtains, and table cloths at my local Target store. You never know what you will find!

  9. I bought a single panel to make something out of (can’t remember what at the moment,) but I’d love to find some of larger panels that I would be able to sew. Fabulous, as usual, Jillian!

  10. My mum’s got a couple of skirts she made from old curtains – they always get positive comments – and of course she delights in letting people know their former lives :)

  11. As a teacher, I always snap up any old fabric/bedding/curtains I find in my fave charity shop to use for den building/canopies etc with my nursery class! The fabric gets a lovely extended lifespan doing all manner of exciting things

  12. Hello refashionista from Australia! I have actually been following your posts for over a year and I always feel that little( OK looooot) happy when I have digested your ideas! Ha, so I’m not the only one that goes to dinner somewhere eyeing the tablecloths! (Extend that to -/pool covers, abandoned tents, old face washers( bras?) and you get the drift! I do soo love your detailed explanations/visuals explaining the surgery you perform. Even though these steps might sort of seam(ha ga) seem obvious- these are the fiddling fiddle bits that keep your viewers so motivated! Art and beauty all in one! Plus reverting what could be rubbish- soooooooooo satisfying! Keep it up! Lots of love and we’ll wishes from Tassie (Tasmania) Anita

  13. I have a stash of old curtains and sheets… I used them for everything . Pillows, bag linners,NEW curtains, table runners, New (replaced) coat winnings, stuffed toys, possibilities are endless and so much fun. Great recession!!!

  14. I took shower curtain and made a curtain to cover my pantry opening. When I remodeled my kitchen, I used the fabric to make a skirt. I love your ideas.

  15. I made curtains for my son’s room out of a shower curtain. It was super easy! I just cut it in half length wise and sewed a hem on the cut side. I even used the shower curtain hooks to hand the curtains on the rod. The blue checked pattern worked great in his room.

  16. Love the new approach! We can make and do more with everything we have, not just clothing fabric. I love seeing the inspiration and ideas from multiple sources; it really helps visualize new ideas. Keep up the amazing work. I can’t wait to see what you share with us in 2016!

  17. Yes! Yes! Yes! A friend gave me some old drapes, which sat it my fabric stash for a few months, then I needed a last minute ren faire costume and the drapes were the perfect fabric! Table cloths, sheets, and pillow cases are my other favorite thrift store fabric sourses.

  18. Thank you so much for this! I’m going thrifting this weekend and will need to keep an eye out for pretty curtains. I especially love the pillow with the grommets — straight out of HomeGoods!

  19. This is a GREAT post! I have passed over so many curtains without so much as a “how-do-you-do.” Now I will be giving them the consideration they deserve.

  20. I head for the curtains first when looking for material for Halloween costumes. One year I made a Jedi cloak from some heavy brown fabric, and the other drape was fashioned into an interior cover for the through-the-wall A/C. Win!

  21. Love your curtain makeover I had a cotton curtain my mother-in-law gave me and dyed it green and made a tunic top from it, I couldn’t wait to show her what I did. She thought it was pretty funny but I loved that it was almost linen like fabric. Love your living room too!

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