Decor, Projects, Sewing, Tutorials

Baby Got Back — Tab Curtains

Bill and I spent the weekend in Philly for a wedding before trying to outrun hurricane Sandy for the last 72 hours.  (First we left South Jersey/Philly for Pittsburgh, then I drove through the hurricane snow in western PA down to DC last night…)   Everyone we know is thankfully safe and sound with remarkably little damage… though the same cannot be said for the years of memories made at both the Jersey Shore (mostly Atlantic and Ocean Cities for my family) and the Outer Banks that have been washed away.  We expect a bit of heartbreak every hurricane season with OBX, but never this in New Jersey.  So overwhelming to see.  Be safe, and be thankful.  I know I am.  

Back Tab Curtains Tutorial @

As I have mentioned before, I do enjoy sewing. I just don’t like seams. Well, you usually cannot avoid them, but you can simplify things when making back tab curtains by using materials like ribbon, and decorator fabric that has a clean, usable selvage edge. Let me show you.

measuring for curtains @

As any of our Pinterest followers should know, I am a tad obsessed with chevron patterns and knew I wanted to make drapes using the pattern.  After some searching on the web I decided to adapt Meredith @ Heardmont’s take on back-tab curtains.  I measured from the curtain rod to the floor, then added in what I thought would be enough for a hefty 4 inch hem at the top and bottom.  The fabric was a standard 54 inch decorators and the selvage was clean, so I planned to only hem the top and bottom.

measuring for the hems @

Here’s where I messed up (but thankfully it ended up perfect anyway!).  I measured down the 4 inches.  Then I pressed about 1/2 inch of the fabric down, and quickly ran a baste stitch along the fold to hold it in place.

pressing the roll hem @   measuring for the hems @

Then I folded the clean hem down and lined it up with the 4 inch mark I made, and repeated the pressing and sewing steps, this time taking better care to make the seam clean as it would be visible.

pressing the wide hem @   pressing the wide hem @

This process was going so smoothly (and I was enjoying flattening and making perfectly pressed lines – am I the only one who enjoys ironing, solongasitisntadressshirt?) that I had all 4 sides (top and bottom of 2 panels) done before I realized that the resulting hems were actually about 2 inches wide instead of 4.  Do’oh!  At that point I was more afraid of having drapes that were too short, so I decided to proceed.  Worst case, they’d be too long and I could just hem them up again.

During all of this (as I tend to start and pause projects causing them to take MONTHS instead of hours) we decided to take the hardware down and instead of replace it, hit it with a can of Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronzed.  We ORBed every drapery hardware piece in the entire apartment and then re-hung them.  Only, they were re-hung a few inches higher than previously.  A detail I did not take into account.  Uh oh!

So now I have these two panels of fabric with neatly hemmed sides.  So I picked up a spool of 3-inch wide ribbon (on clearance at JoAnns for $.67!) that was close in color  to the background and used a spool of thread as a guide to determine the length my back tabs would need to be.

measuring for tabs @

With the spool of thread being roughly the diameter of the drapery rod, I decided that 5 inches would be long enough for each tab.  According to EHow, back tabs are typically about 8 inches apart, so using their calculations (and eyeballing things) I decided that each tab should be a tad more than 7 inches apart.

measuring back tabs distance @

Then with a quick (but careful as these lines will be visible through the drape) seam, the tabs were on.

sewing back tabs distance @

With a little fray check on the edges of  the ribbon and some steam pressing with the iron, they were ready to hang.  And here’s where the miss-hemming from before that was technically all wrong, was actually PERFECT.

back tab drapes tutorial @

It might be a little hard to tell from this picture, but the length of the curtain, subtracting the shorter hems, then adding the now higher hardware, managed to meet and actually be the prefect length!  They are just above the carpet and a mere 1/4 inch from the ceiling, helping to make the drapes look as tall as possible, and ultimately making the room look taller instead of squat like the window.

back tab drapes tutorial @

So now we actually have some fabric up on the walls.  And shortly we’ll have some matching throw pillows too.

back tab drapes tutorial @
Have you made anything lately that you totally thought would be a disaster but ended up being fantastic instead?

~ Beth

P.S.  A lot of communities in the northeast  have post-poned trick-or-treating.  Which is a shame because I was considering cutting eye holes in the leftover fabric and going as a chevron printed ghost.  Just kidding!  But check with your town to be sure you’re area is safe and officially observing Halloween today before you get your kiddies all dressed up.  Or be prepared to treat for ice cream.  Just sayin’.  😉

Linking to: Frugalicious Friday, Happy Hour, Tatertots and Jello Weekend Wrap Up, Positively Splendid Saturday 7, Six Sister’s Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday,

13 thoughts on “Baby Got Back — Tab Curtains”

  1. SO cute! i too have covered everything in chevrons and if i had seen this post earlier i may have gone as a chevron ghost! lol!!!
    We just got our link party up and running and would love if you came and joined in on the fun. Each week we are giving away free ad space for one week to one random party goer. Our main site gets thousands of hits per day and The Better Half gets thousands per week. Hope to see you there!

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