How To: Easy Hidden Tab Curtains

August 21, 2013

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

My parents have been redecorating their kitchen, dining room and living room to go along with a complete kitchen re-do that they had completed earlier this year. My mom had requested that I help her with creating all new curtains for each of those rooms. So when I took a bit of a vacation in early July, I spent some quality time with her whipping up some curtains….I say whip, but this took me four days to hunt for the right material, design the curtain, and make the curtains for all three rooms. But it was a learning process. And fun!

We set out to add fabric that had a modern, yet timeless feel into each of the rooms. The curtains that we were replacing desperately needed updating. It is a shame there are no “before” pictures. But I think you can appreciate these after photos!

My mom wanted valence-type curtains, so that is what I set out to make. And we were using sort of make shift curtain rods (a PVC pipe in the dining room), so these curtains needed to have hidden tabs.

Want to make your own curtains with hidden tabs? Here’s how: (I’m showing this technique with short curtains, but the method could easily be applied to any length of curtain)

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

You will need these materials:

Curtain fabric (we used home decor fabric), Lining Fabric (not necessary, but will help keep the sun from fading the material over time), matching thread, bias tape, and basic sewing supplies.

1. Cut out your fabric piece and your lining pieces: We were making valence type curtains, and my mom wanted these to be 12 inches long. So I added 4 in. to that (2 in. hems for the top and bottom of the curtain) and cut out a curtain that is 16 X 44 in. (the length of my fabric). The lining will be 2.5 in. shorter, so I cut a lining piece that was 13.5 X 44 in. I then cut 3 in. off the length of my lining, so I was left with a 13.5 X 41 in. piece.

2. Create a 1 in. hem along the length of the curtain and the lining (if you are creating a longer curtain, say, floor length, you’ll want a much larger hem, probably 4 in. or so). Create the hem by folding fabric back one inch (wrong side to wrong side) and then folding it over again one inch. Pin as you go. Press and sew down seem.

3. Line up the edges of the curtain and lining piece, right sides together.

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

You will want the lining piece to be 1.5 inches from the bottom of the curtain.

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

Sew curtain and lining together with a 1/4 inch seem allowance.

4. Match up the edges of the curtain and lining on the other side. Remember! The lining piece is 3 inches shorter than curtain, so you will have to bunch the curtain up in the middle to get the edges to line up. Sew together with a 1/4 inch seem allowance.

5. Now flip the curtain/lining inside out so now the wrong sides are together. Fold the curtain so that there is an even amount showing on either side of the curtain. Kinda failing at saying this in words…I think it’s just best to see the pictures below on this step.

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

You should have about 1 1/4 inch curtain fabric showing on the backside of the curtain now, on either side.

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

Making the lining fabric 3 inches shorter should now make sense. I hope. Pin and press.

6. Make a 1 inch hem on the top of the curtain. Your hem should be overlaying the lining piece so that you will sew the lining in place as you sew the top hem. But don’t sew yet! Just pin the hem in place.

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

7. Time to make your tabs! To make my tabs, I used wide single fold bias tape. I made mine about 5 inches long, but I was dealing with an unusually wide curtain rod. For normal sized, round rods, you could probably cut your tabs to be more like 2.5 to 3 inches. I used 9 to 10 tabs per panel.

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

8. Stitch the hem closed. In doing so, you will also be securing the top of each tab to the curtain. Next, secure the bottom of each tab. This is where the importance of a well matched thread comes in. I back stitched at the start of each tab, stitched through the width of the tab and then back stitched again. For the next tab, I just lifted my needle and moved the curtain in place to start in on the next tab. No need to cut the thread each time. I found it to be easier this way, rather than having to stop and start and cut each thread after each tab is attached.

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

Almost done!

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

9. To finish the curtain off, you will want to tuck in the unfinished corner and tack it into place.

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

And that’s it! All that’s left is to hang your curtains!

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

I made four of these panels to complete the large picture widow in the kitchen.

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

Here’s what we did in the living room.

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

A beautiful gray-blue.

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

And the kitchen. We went with the most modern pattern here. You might notice the table runner I made for Mother’s day. I might help my mom replace the fabric covering the dining room chairs. I’ve been heavily hinting at that anyway.

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

Clearly a bit of a modern feel is trying to occur in this room. Check out this lighting!

DIY Hidden Tab Curtain

I made three more panels for the dining room and two for the two windows in the living room. This is clearly why it took me four days. Lot of sewing here folks. But I think the results are great! And I got really good at doing those hidden tabs 🙂


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