Drapes can be really, really pricey. One of my favorite tricks it to use a king-sized flat sheet, cut in half to make two panels.

Remember these sheets from Carlton Varney's HSN line?

They are sold out now (*UPDATE: I guess there are some sheets on eBay?), but check out what my girl Pam did with a king-sized set!

It's the easiest project, really, all you do it cut a flat sheet in half and then use iron-on binding tape or a sewing machine to zip down the new edges you just made on the two panels.

Then you can cut holes in the the casing part of the flat sheet (the folded over part at the top) and thread the new panels in to your hardware.

Don't forget to use the pillow cases too. Pam used hers to sew a changing pad cover.

Pam took things to a new level with her valances though (not to mention the pretty blue trim!). Love the way that turned out. Pam, we want a tutorial on the valences!! (seriously, let me know if you do a tutorial and I'll update this post). ** TUTORIAL POSTED HERE**

Here are some fun sheet sets that would make for great curtain panels:

Horizontal gray stripes from West Elm.

Actually, all the new sheets at West Elm...

This plaid would be really cool actually, if mixed with girlier elements in the room.

Water colored polkadots! So great for a kids space, with lots of white and solids in the rest of the room.

If you have two windows to dress, it would be easier to justify the cost of getting this duvet cover to split up into four panels. I think the pattern would be so cool as drapery!

Also, if you're looking for cute, but really inexpensive, try Better Homes and Gardens line for Walmart. I think the twin sheet sets are about $12. Here are a few of my favorite patterns:

Love this red

And the blue and green is an old favorite of mine. (have to go in store for these)

Check out all these sweet options at Macy's! $20 per flat sheet (which would make a nice, full panel)...

How lovely is this plum pattern, available for $10 at Kmart? I am really tempted here.

I also love this blue and gray, for a more subtle print.

Some obvious pointers -

-Get the largest sheets possible. The more fabric the better. Or, buy twin sheets, for each panel, like we talked about above.
- This is not always the most economical route, but if you don't know how to sew well, and you have found a sheet pattern you love, this is a great option I think.
- Stick with cotton! Jersey knit drapes won't work. :)