Tab top curtains are a quick and easy project for beginners who are learning to sew or want to sew. The wide loops of the tabs make the curtain panels easier to hang and to draw. Tabs made from the same fabric as the panels finish the curtains nicely. Here you will learn the techniques of measuring for your curtains, the preliminary of sewing, supplies needed for the project, and the step-by-step guide to executing the tab top curtains.
Measuring for Curtains:
These guidelines will determine how much fabric you will need to make the curtains and tabs.
- Measure from top of curtain rod to desired finished length. Use this as a base measurement.
- Before having the fabric cut, add ½” in. for top hem allowance and 2in for hem allowance at bottom; add 3 in for width of tab strip and 2 in. for heading strip. For example, for a 40” wide curtain with a finished length of 50”, you will need 57 ½” of 45in wide fabric: 50” plus ½” plus 2” plus 3” plus 2” equals 57 ½”.
- Bows for the tabs will require an additional ½ yd of fabric.
Before you Start Sewing:
Cut strips of the fabric for the curtain tabs and complete hems for curtain panels.
- Using a ruler and tailor’s chalk carefully draw a line across full width of fabric 2” up from bottom and another line 3” above first line. Cut fabric along these lines to make two separate strips. On long edge of 2” wide strip, press under ½” to wrong side: set strip aside.
- On the bottom edge of the curtain piece, turn under 1” to the wrong side and press. Turn under 1” again and press. Open out turned-under edges.
Note: All seams for the curtain are sewn with ½” seam allowance unless otherwise noted.
Fabric for curtain (Cotton or light to medium weight upholstery fabric)
Matching sewing thread
Tailors Chalk or Fabric Pen
Sew It Up:
- Begin making tabs by folding 3” wide strip in half lengthwise, right sides together. Sew long edge of strip together. Trim seam to ¼”.
- Attach a safety pin through both layers of fabric at one end of seam allowance. Push pin through opening of fabric tube and work it through to other end, pull pin and fabric to turn tube right side out.
- Press fabric tube flat, centering seam along back of tube. Cut tube into eleven tabs, each 4” long. Adjust total number of tabs for curtains cut in any other width. Fold each tab in half crosswise with seam inside. Pin raw edges together.
- Fold under and press. 1” along each side edge of curtain panel, then fold under and press 1” again. Topstitch each side hem in place, then refold bottom hem and sew it in place.
- Pin a tab at each upper corner of curtain panel, raw edges even and right sides together. Pin remaining tabs along top edge of panel, spacing them evenly between both end tabs.
- With right sides together, pin unfolded edge of 2” wide fabric strip to top of curtain panel, sandwiching tabs between panel and 2” strip. The strip extends ½” beyond panel at each end.
- Sew heading strip to top of curtain panel, catching ends of the tabs in seam. Press seam toward curtain, and press under ½” extensions at each end of strip.
- Fold heading strip to wrong side of curtain; press, then topstitch folded bottom edge in place
Making Bows for Tabs:
- Cut eleven 3” x 20” strips of fabric. Fold each strip in half lengthwise, right sides together. Sew long edges together, leaving an opening in center. Press seam open. Refold strip so seam runs along center, sew across short ends.
- Trim seams, clip corners, and turn right side out through opening in seam. Press bow piece flat. Install curtain onto rod and tie bows around base of each tab top.
Tab top curtains call for decorative curtain rods. These curtain rods can be expensive. Consider adding purchased curtain rod tips, such as cast-iron arrowhead or buy simple wooden knobs or finals and attach them
How to Make a Rod Casing:
- Fold top edge of the panel to wrong side by ½”.
- Measure around the rod, then halve the measurement and add 1 ¼” for the heading and ease.
- Fold fabric over again by the new measurement.
- Press. Sew along bottom fold and ¾” below top fold.