If you’ve wanted to make your own back-tab curtains, but feel it may be beyond your skills as a novice sewer, you’ve come to the right place. Heck even if you’ve been sewing all of your life, this is a super trick, that is CHEAP too!
If there is one thing we did not skimp on when we planned our new house, it is windows. I am a lover of light! I hate to feel closed in or dark. So as you can imagine, we need a lot of curtains 🙂 We also have tall windows downstairs, and to get long enough curtains for all the windows, I would need to take out another mortgage.
I knew I could sew curtain panels. I mean, if there is anything easy to sew, it’s simple flat panels. For my first set, I used clips so that I wouldn’t have to sew anything special, but I didn’t want to use clips everywhere. I planned to make my back-tab curtains with cuts of ribbon, but I was a little worried about how tedious it would be, and how good they would look. But then I discovered the EASIEST way to make back tab curtains – header tape! I know, I know. All of you out there with more sewing experience than me, which is probably almost everyone, is thinking “Duh! We all know that!” But stay with me here…
For this newbie, it was a welcome discovery. Header tape can be sewn on at the same time you sew your top hem. Simply iron down your hem, pin the header tape over top, then sew along the top and bottom of the tape. I had no idea it could be this easy. Header tape is not only easy to add, but it also gives form/ stiffness to the curtain header so the tabs are both prettier and even.
But here’s the thing – not all header tape is created equally. I first tried a tape by a well known sewing brand. Unfortunately, it was relatively pricey. But worse than that, it was so stiff, the curtains would slide down the rod and close themselves. This was frustrating for someone who wants her curtains open!
And then I checked out my IKEA curtain panels. I liked how they worked (i.e. stayed open), and I thought I could duplicate it some way. That turned out to be much easier than I realized, because they actually sell the tape separately!
The tape gives form but is soft and not plastic-y, so it’s not only easier to sew and tuck in to adjust the length, but it also doesn’t make the curtains close on their own. As an added bonus, you can use this tape to create a pleated look in addition to back tabs. Oh, and did I mention it’s the cheapest option of any I can find?
With pleater hooks and clips, you can create a pleated curtain look. Or you can stick to the tabs. Either way, I’m a happy camper 🙂
- After you’ve sewn your side hems, iron down your top hem.
- Lay out the tape over the top hem you just ironed, positioning the first tab so that it sits close to the side of the panel.
- If it works out perfectly, once you roll the tape across, a tab will also fall at the opposite side of the panel.
- If it doesn’t work out perfectly, simply create a fold in the tape to shorten it accordingly. If there is a lot to shorten, you can make a couple folds so it is not obvious.
- Pin down the tape. I pinned the tape 1/4″ down from the top of the panel.
- Sew the tape at the top and bottom.
By the way – if you want an easy and fast way to HANG the curtains, you can’t miss this post.
The fabric I used here is Premier Prints in Winston Navy. I’ve used several Premier Prints fabrics from Fabric.com and love the designs and the price! (By the way, Fabric.com offers 3% cash back at Ebates. If you’ve never used it, you’re missing out!)
I hope this helps you create some beautiful curtains!
This post contains affiliate links, which cost you nothing, but give me a small commission to help support this fledgling blog… win – win!
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