DIY Back Tab Curtains

When you last saw my bedroom makeover progress, I gave you a peek of the first set of back tab curtains my Mom and I sewed.Although I loved the bold, teal print, after I switched around my artwork, it didn’t really work anymore.  Luckily, I found the perfect green tweed shot with aqua that not only suits my mid-century modern aesthetic but complements the artwork as well.

It’s difficult to photograph the tweed, but here’s a closer look. I love the sheen and weight of this fabric.


Making back tab curtains is surprisingly simple!  Your measurements will vary depending on your window and fabric width.  Essentially, you just need to sew basic panels, with one minor alternation: the tabs!

  1. To make the tabs, we cut out 4.5″ x 6″ rectangles from our fabric.
  2. We folded them in half, lengthwise – with right sides facing each other – and sewed the edge with a sewing machine to form a long tube.
  3. We repeated the process until we had 14 tubes (7 for each panel) and then we ironed them flat, with the seam in the middle of the back.  More tabs will create a fuller look with more gathers.
  4. We set the tubes aside and hemmed the edges of the curtain panels.  For this loopy tweed, just doing a basic running stitch ended up a little bit wonky.
  5. So we used a blind hem instead.
  6. The blind hem looked like this when we were finished.
  7. With the side edges sewn, we turned our attention back to the tab top.  We folded over the top, approximately 4.5″.  This is where the tabs are affixed.
  8. Then we measured the final length of the tabs.  We folded the tabs under 1.5″ on each end, ironing them to help keep the folds in place.
  9. Then we hooked the folded edge of the tab under the folded top of the curtain and pinned in place.  For our panels, we went with a spacing of 7″ between the tabs.
  10. Once all of the tabs were spaced out and pinned (measure twice!), we sewed them in place.
  11. Then we measured and folded under the top of the tabs (which were positioned 1/5″ from the top of the curtain panel).
  12. Once they were pinned in place, we sewed them down, completing the tabs at the back of the curtain panels.
  13. For the bottom hem, if your fabric is more forgiving you can just hem with a running stitch, but because ours was so uncooperative we hand sewed the bottom

And that’s it!  Adding the back tabs is really just an extra step after sewing a basic curtain panel but the result is that it gathers nicely and drapes softly.  I really like a casual curtain so pinch pleats and the like aren’t my style, but I didn’t want rings either.  This back tab curtain is the best of both worlds.