To save money on a fancy shower curtain, try buying a plain style and adding your own touch with appliques.
Choosing a Curtain
It is important to ensure that your shower curtain is fabric rather than plastic if you are going to sew appliques on it, because sewing appliques on a plastic curtain would be disastrous, if not impossible.
If you choose a fabric shower curtain without a pattern, you don't have much to worry about. Choose any color of the rainbow, and you'll be sure to find appliques that compliment it, but don't limit yourself to a solid color. You can choose a curtain with a pattern, as long as you can envision where appliques will be added. For example, if your shower curtain is covered with butterflies, stitch butterfly appliques over some of the graphics to make them 3-dimensional. Doing so will add visual interest to a flat pattern.
Chosing an Applique
Applique used to apply only to decorative pieces that were stitched onto a fabric. Now, appliques are available in an iron-on variety, which makes them much more user-friendly. Stitch-on appliques are still the best choice when decorating your shower curtain. Although iron-on appliques are much easier to use, the heat from the shower may weaken the adhesive.
If the applique that you love is an iron-on, use it anyway. Iron the applique according to the instructions, then stitch the edges like you would any other applique. Ironing it on before stitching is helpful because it will keep the applique in place while you sew. Doing so eliminates the pins that you would normally need to hold the pattern in place.
Unless you are an experienced seamstress, it may be a good idea to choose smaller appliques that require less sewing. Some appliques are sold with the thread and needle that you'll need, making the project easier.
Completing the Job
Choose whether you want your thread to contrast or match the edges of the applique. Contrasting thread looks nice if it is done correctly; however, most people choose to match their thread to their applique. Lay the curtain on a flat surface and place the applique where you want to stitch it. Hold it in place with straight pins. If you purchased an iron-on applique, iron it in place instead of using pins as described before.
Now, get ready to sew. Use small straight stitches close to the edge of your applique. Staying less than .25-inches from the border. Ensure that the applique is well secured and tie your knot. Once it is securely attached, rethread your needle and stitch around the edge again, making loops to cover the edges of the fabric. You may repeat the last step to create a wider border, using a zig-zag stitch.