I made a valance for my dining room, I ended up switching the curtain to the front "parlor" which meant I had to cut it in half and add 5" to each side. The fabrics were remnants on the decorator fabric table at Hancock's. The print was Asian, so I decide to create a shape that matched the print. I put a penny in the corners for a weight to hold the curtains shape better. I put tassels on fabric covered buttons for a little added decoration. I hand sewed the lining to the curtain, (not fun).
It was a fairly cheap project and sure beats the department store price. For the most part I'd say that it is more economical to sew decorative items. Not always, though. My best friend is a fan of hot glue. That girl can take rubber bands and fabrics and make a terrific valance. Thank God for creativity, you need some when you don't have an abundance of money.