How to make tabtop curtains

How to make tabtop curtains

You will need:

  • Curtain fabric
  • Lining fabric
  • Same or complementary fabric for the tabs
    Iron-on interfacing (medium-weight)
  • Scissors and sewing equipment
  • Matching thread
  • Curtain pole

Tabtop curtains have small tabs sewn to the top of the curtains that are threaded over a curtain pole and pulled by hand. They are easy to make for even beginner sewers and give a light, clean and modern look. Remember that the curtain will need to be placed on the curtain pole before it is fixed to the wall.

Time to complete job: Approx 3 hours.
Approximate budget: Under £40, depending on fabric costs.

First steps
This practical guide is a step-by-step to making tabtop curtains with binding. The binding can be made from contrasting or matching fabric, depending on the look you'd like to achieve.

  • Step 1: Measuring & cutting the fabric

    Step 1: Measuring & cutting the fabric

    Measure the desired length and width of the curtains. When measuring the length of the curtains, remember that there will be tabs hanging beneath the curtain pole - it's important to ensure that the top of the curtain doesn't drop below the top of the window, letting light in. It's difficult to adjust after the curtains are made.

    Cut out the fabric.

    Cut the lining to the same size as the fabric.

  • Step 2: Interfacing & lining

    Step 2: Interfacing & lining

    Iron on 5cm (2in) strips of interfacing to the wrong side of the curtain fabric along the top edge.

    Place the lining on the curtain fabric, wrong sides together and raw edges even. Pin and tack close to the edges.

  • Step 3: Binding

    Step 3: Binding

    You will need four 6cm (2.5in) wide pieces of binding cut out of the same material as the curtain or contrasting fabric. Cut two pieces the same length as the curtain and two pieces the same width, plus 3cm (1.25in) inch seam allowance.

    Wrong sides together, press the binding pieces in half lengthwise. Open and fold the raw edges into the centre line. Press.

    Pin the open long raw edges of the binding pieces to the raw edges of the curtain fabric (right side up) along the top, bottom and both sides.

    On each side, stitch 2cm (0.75in) in from the edge along the first fold in the binding. Fold the binding over the seam to the back of the fabric, tuck in and slipstitch in place.

    On the top and the bottom, let the binding extend 2cm (0.75in) on either side. Stitch in place, then fold in the small extensions so they form a neat corner before stitching closed.

  • Step 4: Making & adding the tabs

    Step 4: Making & adding the tabs

    Allowing for tabs about every 20cm (8in) across the curtain width, calculate the number of tabs needed. You will need fabric cut to twice the width of tabs desired, plus 2cm (0.75in) seam allowance. Cut out of the curtain or contrasting fabric.

    Iron on interfacing to the wrong-side of the tab fabric.

    Fold the long sides of the tab fabric together (right sides together) and stitch a 2cm (0.75in) seam. Press the seam open and trim off any surplus fabric.

    Turn right-side out and press. Repeat for each tab.

    Fold the tabs in half and hand stitch both ends to the top bound edge of the curtains at 20cm (8in) intervals.

    Thread the curtain pole through the two curtains and replace above the window.

    Put the last loop on each side on the other side of the wall bracket to anchor the curtain at the edge when closing the curtain.

    Tip: You can buy tabtop gliders that fix inside the tab tops using a hook and loop fastener and lets the curtain glide more easily along the curtain pole.