How to Make Tab Top Curtains

Different styles of curtains create different dramatic effects in your overall interior design. From pocket rod curtains to back tab and now tab top curtains. Using a few common materials, you can revamp your curtain’s look by learning how to make tab top curtains. 


how to make tab top curtains

Adding a bit of fabric is an excellent way to change your drapery’s aesthetic appeal. Give your living room, bedroom, or kitchen a new style in a few simple steps. Brush up on those cutting and measuring skills and add your own tabs to your regular curtains. 

Step 1: Gather your materials

Transform your regular curtains into a casual and stylish tab top curtain using just a few common materials. All you need is your fabric, sewing pins, thread, ruler, scissors, needle, and sewing machine. If you don’t have a sewing machine, a simple hand needle and thread will do the trick. 

Tip: Choose your fabric wisely. 

Since we’re doing a tab top curtain, it’s important to note that the tabs are visible since you are attaching them at the top part of your curtain. Try to choose a fabric that matches or at least complements the curtain.


You can use an old regular curtain and some fabric to turn your old drapery into a modern window treatment. Or you can create your own customized curtain using some fabric and sewing materials and learn how to make tab top curtains from scratch. 

Step 2: Make the necessary window measurements

If you’re going to customize your own curtain, you need to know the exact measurements that will enable you to cover the entire window. Get your measuring tape and take note of the window’s width, length, and height from the ground. 


Decide on your curtain’s preferred length. You can let it fall just a few inches below the window’s edge or let it hover an inch or two above the ground. Use your tape measure to determine the exact length of the entire curtain.

Step 3: Note the curtain dimensions

If you want your curtains that appear loosely gathered while it is closed, add extra inches to the fabric you will use. Using the exact width of your window for your curtains will result in a stiff cover.


Determine first the required dimensions of your curtain, including the tab top. For instance, if you’re going to need a 108-inch curtain for it to hover precisely an inch above the floor, that 108-inch height should include tab tops, not only the curtain itself. 

Step 4: Determine the tab’s dimensions

Your tab’s length and width should be consistent all throughout. You can choose longer or shorter tabs to attach to your curtain. If you prefer a tab that adds 3 inches to the curtain, deduct those 3 inches from the original measurement. 


For example, if you need a 108-inch long curtain panel and a 3-inch extended tab, your curtain panel’s height will be 105 inches. 

Step 5: Cut the fabric

A curtain requires three primary pieces: the main panels, curtain facing, and tabs. The main panels refer to the curtain’s dimension without the tab’s length. This should be determined after following the procedures in step four. 


Add six extra inches in the length and width for the hemming. You can make as many panels for your windows as you wish. But two panels should be able to cover one window. Use the curtain’s width that you took note of in step three.


Cut out your tabs using the dimensions determined in step four. Remember to multiply it by two since you will be folding it to hang your curtain correctly. For example, a 3-inch long tab should be made from a 6-inch strip. Cut as many tabs as you need for each panel. 


Create the two pieces of curtain facing by cutting out a strip from the fabric with the same width as your curtain panel. Make it three inches tall. 

Step 6: Sewing

Start by sewing the tabs. Fold each tab in half in a crosswise direction. You can iron it so that it holds its shape. Pin the sides in place and use a sewing machine or needle to stitch along the edges of the fabric. Use a half-inch seam allowance. Repeat this for all your tabs.


Hem the side seams of your curtain panel. You can also iron them to make the stitching process easier. Sew the hem at a three-quarter-inch seam allowance. Do this for all sides except the top seam. Determine the placement of your tabs in each panel, and sew them in place.


Sew the facing of your curtain at the top seam and lay right side down over the curtain top. Sew the top edge with a half-inch seam allowance. Iron the fabric to define the folds and creases. Make the finishing touches by securing the tabs in place.


Hem the lower part of your curtain and press the iron to give it a crisp finish. 


It may be a lengthy process, but learning how to make tab top curtains from scratch is a fantastic way to brush up on those creative and sewing skills. Choose medium-weight materials for better handling, and try to consider the color of your curtain. 


It’s crucial to establish precise measurements and dimensions before cutting the fabric. Otherwise, you might have to repeat the entire process again. Secure your tabs in place, and don’t forget to do a topstitch.