DIY Lined Back Tab Curtains

September 8, 2014
Recently, had a sale on Premier Prints fabric in advance of Premier Prints’ permanent retail price increase.  I couldn’t resist and bought 5 1/2 yards of Zippy (big zig zags) Slub (looks like linen) in Navy to make new living room curtains.  zippy slub navy
There wasn’t anything seriously wrong with my living room curtains, but I couldn’t resist the easy room refresh, so I decided to make new curtains and fix a few things that did irk me about my old curtains.  Here was my list of “complaints”:
  1. They didn’t have back tabs, so they didn’t drape exactly how I like (I didn’t know what back tabs were when I made them).
  2. You could see the lining from the sides because the fabric and lining were the same width.
  3. The rod was too close to the window.
  4. The rod was too narrow.
  5. The rods had no finials.

Useful measurements

  • Curtain fabric: 55″ wide, including selvedge) x 100″ (2.75 yards plus an extra inch)
  • Lining fabric: Cut to 53″ x 100″
  • Each finished curtain: 53″ x 93″.

Step 1: Sew sides

Line up the right sides of the fabric and sew a seam down one side.  Then line up the other side and do the same.  Since the lining fabric is 2″ narrower, you need to move the fabric over to line up the 2nd side.

Flip your “tube” right sideout and iron both sides so that the side borders are the same width.  (Sorry, I am having trouble embedding this photo, but it’s pretty straightfoward.)

Step 2: Sew top, including tabs

Since my fabric is patterned, I needed to make sure the pattern started at the same place on both curtains so they’d look exactly the same.  To do this, I folded the top over about 4″ and then matched where that same pattern fold was on the 2nd curtain (about 6″).  Iron seams.

Iron a seam on the unfinished edge.

Cut 11 pieces of ribbon (about every 5″ apart).  The length depends on how wide your panels are.  Sew the wrong side of the ribbon ribbon to the right side of the fabric along the unfinished edge – both right sides are facing you.

curtain tab bottom

Fold the other end of the ribbon under and sew just below the 4″ seam.  Make sure you don’t sew it too close to the ironed seam because you don’t want the ribbon to show at all from the front.

curtain tab top

Fold 4″ seam over and unfinished edge seam under.  Flip to front of curtain and stitch across bottom seam.  This is the only seam that shows from the front.
Do the same thing with your second curtain making sure everything is the same because when they’re side by side, you’ll be able to tell if your two panels don’t match!

Step 3:

Hang your curtains up and mark where they’ll just hit the ground.  you can measure 93″ from the top, but I found actually hanging the curtains on the rod more accurate because the curtain may hang differently depending on where you put the tabs.

Iron bottom seam and raw edge.  Fold raw edge over and hem bottom with a straight stitch or if you want to be fancy, use a blind hem stitch at the bottom and fold in each end to make a small triangle.  (If you don’t know how to do this, google it.  It’s really not that hard and a good stitch to learn.)

Ta da!


(I know, I know.  Now that the curtains look really nice, our couch looks even worse.  It’s like when I painted the front door and then we had to paint our entire house!)

Budget for Curtains

  • Premier Prints Zippy Slub Navy, 5.5 yards – $40
  • Ikea Bomull, 5.5 yards – $11
  • 1 1/2″ wide ribbon – $1.50
  • Needles, thread – had these – $0
  • I purchased a new sheer curtain because my kids ripped the old one and buying one was the same price as making my own.  Ikea Vivan – $9.99
  • Total: about $63

Budget for Hardware

  • Curtain Rod for curtain – Ikea Hugad $5.99
  • Curtain Rod for lining (I could have spraypainted my gray one, but since they’re so cheap at Ikea, I just bought a new one) – Ikea Racka – $4.99
  • Curtain Brackets (The Hugad was too big for my old bracket, so I had to get new ones) – Ikea Betydlig- $1.98 x 3 = $5.94
  • Total: about $17

So overall not the cheapest makeover, but one that I hope will last a long time and way cheaper than buying such long curtains retail or from Etsy.