How to Make Tab Top Curtains


Tab Top Curtains are a beautiful alternative to traditional rod pocket curtains and are quite fashionable today.  Tab top curtains can be used with a decorative wood rod to give a traditional country look, or tab top curtains can be used on a decorative café rod with a gold or brass finish for a more contemporary look.  It is wise to choose your curtain pole before calculating the length of your curtain.

  When making Tab Top Curtains or draperies you can be creative and decide how wide or narrow you want you tabs and spaces between the tabs to be.
To begin follow the basic instructions for calculating yardage for rod pocket curtains if you desire drapery panels that will cover the all of the window__and steps 1 and 5 of “How To Sew Rod Pocket Curtains”.

For the width:   You will want to use 1 ½” -2 times fullness for the tab top curtains.  However, you should decide how much space you want between each tab.  For example, wider tabs spaced 10” a part on the rod will give a relaxed look and this will result in more fullness which will require more fabric. Smaller tabs  placed closer together will give you a more tailored look.  When determining the fullness allow for a 3” hem on each side of the curtain. 
 A_ Determine the desired width of  the tab and space between the tab ( add the tap width and space together).

B_. Divide the panel width by the sum of the tab and space width. This will give you the number of tabs that you will need.
Example  40” panel  divided by 7 ( 3 inch tab & 4 inch space)=5 5/7 round up to 6.  You will need 6 tabs.

For the length:  Measure from underneath the rod to where you want the curtain to hang.  Record this measurement and subtract the distance of the space you want between the rod and the top of the curtain. This is done because the length of the tab will add inches to the length of the curtain. The total you get will be the finished length for the curtain.
For the cut length add a 4 double hem and a ½” seam allowance at the top.
Example: 100in. finish length
                 8 in bottom (4" double hem)
                  ½ in. top seam      
            108 ½ in. is the cut length
Cut a lining the same width but 4 ½” shorter than your face fabric.

Step 1__ Sew widths of fabric together as explained in “How to Sew Rod Pocket Curtains”.  Follow steps 1 through 5. Also sew the lining widths of fabric together using step 1 through5  of “How to Sew Rod Pocket Curtains. Press the seams and press a 3” crease on each side of the of each panel.  Set  the  face fabric and lining  aside. 

Step 2__Cutting the tabs for the curtain
Cut the fabric for your tab top twice the finished width  and add 1” for the seam allowance. Remember you determine how wide you want your tabs to be.  To determine the length wrap a strip of fabric around the pole, and measure for the desired distance between the pole and the top of your curtain, pin or mark this point.  Also add ½”  for the seam.  This will be the cut length for the tabs.  You can use this as a pattern to make all of your tabs.

Step 3__Sewing the tabs for the curtain
Fold each tab in half lengthwise and stitch a ½” seam allowance and then trim the seam..
Press the seam open in the center of the tap.  Do not crease the side edges.  Turn the tap right side out and press it flat.  Now fold it over and base the raw edges together.

Step 4 __Sewing the  tab top curtain
Sew the bottom hems of  the face fabric and lining as shown in  “ How to Sew Rod Pocket Curtains”.
A_ Place the face fabric on your work table right side up.  Check measurement for the finished length plus the top ½” seam allowance. Mark along the top of the curtain and trim to desired length.
Place the tabs (starting at the side hem crease) evenly spaced across the to of the curtain,  see diagram.  Baste the tabs in place across the top ½” seam.

B_Place the right side of the lining against the right side of the curtain.  The tabs are sandwiched between the curtain and the lining.  The lining top should be even with the face fabric.  Trim if necessary.  The lining hem should be 1 12” shorter than the face fabric. Baste or pin across the top of  lining and face fabric to hold in place. Now stitch across top of your of lining.  Keep  in mind you will be stitching through lining, tabs, and face fabric.

C_Now turn the face fabric right side out.  Let the face fabric side hem fold over double 1 1/2”.  This will take up the 3” side hem allowances.  Keep the lining tucked under the 1 ½” double side him.  Hand sew or blind stitch the side hem.
You now have beautiful lined tab top curtain panels.