Shabby Chic “Rag” Valance

After a particularly STRESSFUL day (being on TV is harder than it looks!!)…I was feeling a bit drained this afternoon and not at all inspired about what to do today’s post on. I was really thinking some sort of craft because I find crafting to be very relaxing and therapeutic! But only if it’s SIMPLE. If it’s NOT simple..then for me, it’s really the OPPOSITE of both of those things! :-)

Well, it must have been my lucky day because I found the PERFECT craft!  Low stress…BIG pay-off! I’m calling it my Shabby Chic “Rag” Valance…even though it’s hardly made from RAGS.

A month or so ago…I ordered a “Jelly Roll” from  I didn’t even know what a “jelly roll” WAS until I made my first ever Flannel Rag Quilt back in March. It’s basically a roll of 40 strips of different colored and patterned fabrics that are all coordinated. Each strip measures 2 1/2″ x 45″. Since then I’ve even learned what a “fat quarter” is too! lol.  Funny quilting/sewing terms.

Anyway, the idea I had for the “jelly roll” didn’t pan out…so I was left with ALL these strips of beautiful fabric and nothing to do with them! I’ve been racking my brain for weeks now…but nothin’.  UNTIL TODAY!  Today the lightbulb finally went on and I created THIS!

As you can see….it’s basically strips of fabric tied to an expandable curtain rod….but I love how it turned out!  I ADORE the colors and patterns of the fabric (it comes from Joanna Figueroa’s “California Girl” collection), and how when they’re all put together it looks so fresh and airy! I actually wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I do….so now I have the dilemma of needing to get MORE “jelly rolls” for the two OTHER windows in my kitchen bay.

The only thing I did that involved any concentrated effort was laying out all the different patterns in different colors and picking and choosing an “order” I wanted them go in. I didn’t want to get done and realize I’d put like 8 GREEN colored strips in a row. :-)

After I had my fabric strips in the order I wanted them to go….it was just a matter of tying them on!

Here are a few photos of the simple process:

Repeat until done.

So even though my “RAG” valance isn’t made from “rags”….I’m sure it COULD be! Or any sort of fabric scraps you happen to have lying around. I will definitely be doing more of these. Maybe the next time I have to be on TV. ;-)

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  1. says

    Really pretty, except for the washing part. I couldn’t throw it away very easily! I noticed the strips were pinked, maybe that would help…or swishing gently in a basin of soapy water…

    The strips could also be attached with a macrame start. Lark’s head, I think it’s called: Fold the strip in half, hold the two ends on one side of the bar and the loop on the other, and pull the ends over the bar and through the loop, then tighten. Hmm, now I’m thinking about a macrame lace!

  2. says

    This is adorable!! I have been trying to figure out the perfect kitchen curtain for the whole year we have lived in this house. I’m ready to go to the store right now! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!

  3. says

    What a perfectly simple, yet beautiful idea! I have SOOO much scrappy fabric from vintage linens that is just shoved in my fabric cabinet because I cant bring myself to throw them away. I also have 2 windows in my kitchen bay that are screaming for some kind of treatment. The light that comes in these windows is so soft and yellow in the early morning, and I love sitting at my table with my coffee and Bible, the light inspires me! I cant wait to put together a rag valance and let the light pour through it! Thank you for sharing this idea! I’m getting started as soon as I get a curtain rod!

  4. RachelJL says

    It’s funny that you brought up the Jelly Rolls, too, because it made me go to the site you posted where I read about other terms. Then, this morning, I found out that my daughter needed some “fat quarters” for her sewing class, which, apparently, the women working at the cloth store called something else which was similar (fabric quarters?). I felt like I was all prepared. ;) Not that it mattered, because my 10yo knew exactly what she was looking for. Always fun when your kids know way more than you, lol.

  5. Mary Hill says

    What a wonderful idea, as far as washing goes, if you didn’t tie the knots too tight you could just untie them wash in a gentle cycle and put them back on, maybe even in a different order for a little different look. If you wanted them to be longer and this wouldn’t require too much more work just take the ends and instead of tying a loop. just stitch a loop at one end and slide them onto the rod. which would be easy to take off and wash. It would also make them longer if you wanted more window covered.

  6. Pepper says

    THANK YOU!!! I bought some vintage looking Martha Stewart tea towels with the intention of learning to sew them into kitchen curtains. However, I don’t sew. This was the perfect project for my tea towels! I am working on them now and can’t wait to admire the finished product. :0)

  7. Courtney Eubanks says

    Love, love, LOVE THIS!!! I’m actually finishing up one for a six foot (!!!) window for our baby girl’s (who will be here in late August) room today. After that, I’m going to do the exact same thing for a crib skirt. The fabric and ribbon for both was about a third of the cost of what one window treatment would have been, and is completely unique! Thanks so much for this!

  8. Karen says

    Love the look! I would love to do this on a very wide window in my livingroom. Can you tell me how wide your rod is and how many strips you used? I need to figure out how much to order. Thanks in advance!

  9. says

    I found your post of oven cleaning excellent. You said you would post how you cleaned the window t he next day. I have looked and looked but cannot find this. Would you send a link to my email? Thanks Sharon

  10. says

    I wonder if you could just put them in a paper bag with some salt and shake it up. Someone taught me to do that with silk flowers years ago. It gets the dust out of them.
    I love this idea! I was going to do one on a pressure rod and use brightly colored ribbon, but I just might do this one instead.

  11. Judy Dubay says

    Great summer look! Although if you want a quick holiday look you could switch to seasonal fabrics without much work. I think I would sew 2 strips together and turn right side out therefore you have finished edges and it becomes washable.

  12. Tasheena says

    I just discovered your site yesterday, it promptly became my home page. I just gotta say you rock lady! you solved two of my biggest challenges (hair and skin) giving me the simple solutions I’ve been searching for….again–you rock! What a fantastic source for the chronic DIY junkie!

  13. Linda Henderson says

    I have a tiny window in my powder room that this’ll be perfect for!!

    As far as washing is concerned, I would recommend putting all the strips into a lingerie bag and toss it into the washer and dryer. Just like a quilt!! The bag should protect the edges of the fabric enough. They may need a quick touch of the iron though. Then again, they’re “rags” so go with the as-is look!

  14. SmART Momma says

    I was also thinking you could use the lingerie bag for washing, then saw someone else mention it. Also, I was thinking I would like to spray paint my curtain rods before adding the fabric. Can’t wait to try this in my kitchen!

  15. Mitzy Mills says

    Most of my experience is that curtains don’t get so dirty that they have to be thoroughly washed and dried. Whey couldn’t you just take them out in the yard and simply hose them with the water hose? Then you would not have to remove them from the rod at all. Leave in the sun to dry and hang back up when dry.

  16. laura Plunk Davis says

    I made one of these for my friends new baby room, but I tore the strips.
    I had made her an alphabet banner and number banner had fabric left over so the rag valance and still had enough to make a rag quilt, it was adorable…

  17. Rhianna says

    Do you think fabric from old sheets would work? I have seen some real inexpensive sheets at thrift stores, garage sales, etc. Then it could make the project much less inexpensive.

  18. Beth H says

    What a cute idea for those of us who are fabric addicts and can’t decide on just one… or five…. or ten… I may do this for my sewing room, but I think I’ll use a more decorative rod since so much of it does wind up showing through. (Or pushing the fabric knots closer together.)

  19. bonnie says

    im confused about the knots too third picture where it looks overlapped confused me cause i thought it was just a knot is it double knotted?? looks so good and I have very long windows that I just want a valance on and havent found what I like. I do have lots of material.

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  1. […] Rag valance: this smart window covering is made from strips of fabric that have been simply tied to an expandable curtain rod. The gorgeous colours and patterns are from Joanna Figueroa’s California Girl collection so can hardly be said to be rags, but you could certainly recreate the same with any leftover strips of fabric for an unusual, original window covering. Source: One Good Thing by Jillee […]

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