Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tab Curtain Tutorial

I'm going to start my blog off with a tutorial I made for a friend on tab curtains.  They are really quite simple to make but since you might not have the same size windows as me, there's some calculating to be done before you buy fabric.

Unfortunately, I didn't think to take pictures of each step :-( 

What you need:
sewing machine
scissors or rotary cutter
general sewing supplies

I recently made tab curtains for my daughters bedroom and tab curtains for my mom.  I will reference both in this tutorial.

Start by measuring the windows and deciding how much larger than the window you want the curtain to be, taking into the account the location of the rod you will be using.  For my daughter's room I made the curtains several inches longer than the window sill and each panel was several inches wider.  My mom, however, wanted her curtains to basically sit on the sill and be wide enough to just cover the window when the curtains are closed.

It's all personal preference. 

Once you've determined the size you want, go to the store and pick out fabric.  You can use cottons, sheers although I don't have any experience with sheers), indoor/outdoor fabric, home dec fabric, etc.

Once you've found the fabric you want to use, find out how Wide it is. 

You've already determined the overall size you want the curtains to be - now add in the seam allowance you plan to use.  Seam allowance is basically personal preference.  With my daughters curtains I used 1" on all four sides.  With my mom's curtains I was afraid she'd later come back to me and tell me she wishes they are wider and/or longer, so I did a 2" seam on the sides and on the bottom, with a 1" seam on the top.  Plenty of room to play with, if need be.  If you feel confident that your pre-determined size will be perfect you can use as little as 1/4" seam allowance if you want to - but I'd recommend doing at least 1/2" seam along the top seam.

Now that you know what size you want the curtains and have added seam allowance, subtract 4 inches from the overall height.  This is the size you will cut out of the fabric for each curtain panel you want. 

(as an example: my mom wanted her panels to be 24"Wx36"L. I cut her pieces 28"W [24"+2"seam+2"seam] by 35"L [36"+2"seam+1"seam-4"]

You will need enough fabric to also cut out approximately six 4"x8" pieces.  These are the tabs.  You may want more, depending on the width of the curtains.

Once you have your pieces cut, serge the edges.  If you don't have a serger you can zig-zag the edges or leave them raw. 

Next, iron down the seam allowances you decided on.

With wrong side facing up, sew close to the serged edge. I prefer to sew the left and right side first, then the top and bottom.

Repeat for all the panels.

To create the tabs, take a 4"x8" piece and fold it in half long-ways so that right sides are together.  Sew down using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Turn right side out and press so that the seam is in the center of the back.

Repeat for all the tabs.

Lay the curtain panel wrong side up.  Lay out the tabs so that you have 1 very close to, or flush with, each end. 

for my daughters curtains I offset the tabs a little bit.  You don't want to bring them in too much or the corners will droop. 

My moms tabs are flush with the edges

Evenly space the other tabs in between the 2 end tabs.  Now, fold each tab in half and pin them to the curtain so that the raw edges of the tabs line up with the raw edges of the sewed seam of the curtain panel. 

Once they are all pinned, sew a straight line across the top that will catch all the tabs.  I like to sew this line with the right side of the curtain facing up and I like to sew it 1/4" from the top. 

That's it.

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