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Sewing Tab Top Curtains

Tab top curtains are stylish, inexpensive and easy to sew.


Tab top curtains give a modern and informal look to your window treatment, however, having said that they also look stylish with a formal and classical interior (see picture).


Tab top curtains don’t only look stylish, but even better they are easy and rather inexpensive to make in comparison to other curtains – less fabric and no header. In addition, they can be made from a great variety of curtain fabrics such as sheer fabric, cotton, brocade, velvet, etc. 



Measuring the fabric Sewing tab top curtains


  • At least 1.5 times the width of the window – depending on the fabric. 
  • For the length of the fabric: measure from the top of the curtain rod to the required length. Deduct the length of the tabs. To block out the light make sure the tabs are approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the window itself, thus only covering the window frame and not the window.
  • Add 10 inch (25 cm) for hem allowances and facings. If pattern fabric is used and more than one width of fabric is required extra fabric will be needed for matching the pattern.  
  • For the tabs, add 10 inch (25 cm) for every two widths of fabric.

Making the tab top curtains


  • Cut fabric to required size as indicated above including the hem and facing allowance.  
  • Cut 2.5 inch (6 cm) of the length of the fabric for the facing. If more widths are required repeat this from each panel. Make sure you cut the facings all from the same side.
  • If more than one width, join widths together with a French seam matching the pattern on the fabric. Half widths are added to the outside edge of each curtain.

French Seam

o        Place pieces to be joined wrong sides together, matching any pattern, and tack together. 

o        Machine stitch 1/4 inch (6 mm) from raw edges. 

o        Turn the fabric so that right sides are facing. 

o        Press and stitch  3/8 inch (1 cm) away from folded edge, so that the raw edges are concealed inside the seam, making a neat finish. 

o        Open the fabric out and press the seam flat on the wrong side. Remove tacking stitches. 


  • With right side down, turn in a double 3/4 inch (2 cm) hem down both sides of the curtain. Pin both the side hems in place and machine stitch. 

Making the tabsMaking tab top curtains


  • Cut the required number of rectangles of fabric 3 3/4 inch (9 cm) wide by 8 inch (20 cm) long for each tab. The length of the tabs may vary depending on the thickness of the curtain rod.   
  • Fold the pieces of fabric lengthwise, right sides together and machine stitch a ¼ inch (6 mm) from raw edge.
  • Turn right side out and press with the seam in the centre on one side.

Finishing the tab top curtain


  • Pin the facing to the upper hem of the curtain, right sides together.  
  • Mark the placement for the tabs, evenly spaced along the upper hem, with the first and last tabs even with the outer edges. Fold the tabs in half and slide them under the facing with the raw edges in the fold. Pin the tabs – make sure that the length of the tabs is correct and even. Stitch across the curtain top ½ inch (1 cm) from the fold.
  • Turn the facing to the curtain back; press.
  • Turn in the raw edges of the facing sides and bottom, pin and stitch along the lower fold of the facing.
  • Fold the base hem to the required length and machine stitch. 

This was another great window treatment idea with easy to follow instructions to make your own tap top curtains.


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