How to make tab-top curtains

Show off the rod with tab-top curtains
How to make tab-top curtains

Tab-top curtains have small taps looped over the curtain rod and the rest of the curtain falls from the tab. You can see the rod in the spaces between the tabs of the curtain adding elegance to your window dressing.

You can choose to have tab-top curtains that fall to the floor, are tied back from the window or with toppers that cover the top facing of the window. Although you can buy ready made tab-top curtains, you have a wider choice in fabrics and colors if you choose to make your own. You don’t need to be an expert seamstress to obtain super results by following these steps.


Step 1

Cut the fabric into lengths

The first thing you must do is make the curtains themselves. Cut the fabric into the desired length and width of the curtain panels and sew any panels together that you need to obtain the width you want. Press open the seams.

Cut the fabric you are using for the lining to the same length as the curtain. The width of the lining should be cut 10 cm. less than the width of the curtain.

Sew the panels together by placing the right sides of both the curtain and lining fabrics together and stitching down the left-hand edges within 2 inches of the bottom edge. Rearrange the fabrics to make sure they are even and repeat this on the right hand side. Turn the curtains to the right side and press the seams.

Turn up 1 inch of the fabric for the hem and press in place. Turn the material up a further 1 inch and sew the hem in place. This is called a double hem.

Step 2

Make the tabs

Generally there are 6 inch gaps between the tabs of the curtain. Measure the width of the curtain and divide this number by 6 to determine how many tabs you need to make. You may have to adjust the space between the tabs to make sure you have a tab at each end of the curtain.

For each tab, cut a piece of fabric 14 X 5.5 inches. Fold this piece in half lengthwise with the right sides facing each other. Stitch the long edges together so that you have a tube.

Press the seam open and turn the tab right side out and press the seam flat so that it is running down the middle of the tab.

Step 3

Stitch the tab to the curtain

Fold the tabs into loops so that the seam is on the inside of the loop. Place them in the right position along the top edge of the curtain. Let them hang down over the front of the curtain.

Pin the tabs in place 3/4 inch from the top edge of the curtain and stitch in place.

Step 4

Make a facing for the curtain

The facing will create a hem at the top of the curtain that will also protect the sewing of the tabs. Cut a strip of fabric measuring 6 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches longer than the total length of the top of the curtain. Press in 3/8 inch along one edge and stitch in place.

Place the right sides together and pin the raw edge of the facing to each tab and the top of the curtain. In this way the tab is sandwiched in place. Now sew through all three layers 3/4 inches from the top.

Turn the facing to the back of the curtain and press. Turn in the side turnings and stitch them in place.

Press the curtains and hang them on the curtain rod.

Things Needed
• basic sewing kit
• fabric for the curtains and the lining
• fabric for the tabs
• matching thread
• measuring tape
• scissors
• sewing machine

Tips & Warnings
• Press the seams open so that the fabric will lie flat and not appear bunched.
• If you have to adjust the space between the tabs, it is better to reduce the space so that you will have the appropriate fullness in the curtain.


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