How to Make Hidden Tab Curtains

Make your own drapes for any window—with any fabric! We'll show you how to sew your own curtains in just a few steps.

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Skill Level: Beginner

It takes less than an afternoon to sew your own curtain panels. Get the look of expensive drapes for a fraction of the price with this step-by-step tutorial. Making them yourself allows you to customize your window treatments to fit any style and space. While we fully support taking store-bought curtains to the next level with DIY window treatment ideas, it's easy to make your own—even if you are new to sewing projects! To begin, simply choose your favorite fabric and measure the height of your windows.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Fabric marker
  • Ruler
  • Fabric scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine


  • Fabric
  • Thread


  1. hung blue and white graphic curtains with blue ottoman
    Jay Wilde

    Measure Window Space

    Before you purchase your cotton fabric ($21, Walmart), measure your space to determine how long you want the finished drapes to be. Measure from the mounted curtain rod to the floor, then add an extra 7 inches to that length. Use this number to help you purchase the fabric you'll use. Our ideal length was 85 inches, so we purchased fabric yardage that was 92 inches long. For this size, you'll need about 7 yards total to create two panels. To determine how much fabric you'll need, use our handy guide for calculating fabric yardage. Be sure to pay attention to how wide your space is. Buy fabric that will be wide enough to cover the width of the window when the drapes are closed, or plan to make additional curtain panels.

  2. Cut Drapery Pieces

    Lay out your fabric panels and trim the selvage edges. To create curtain tabs, cut eight 5-inch square pieces per panel. To make the facing piece that hides the tabs, cut fabric 5 inches by the width of your panel. For two panels, you should have sixteen 5x5-inch pieces and two 5-inch pieces that are the same width as the panels.

  3. Prepare Tabs and Facing Pieces

    Fold each 5x5-inch tab piece in half with right sides together. Stitch with a ½-inch seam, turn right sides out, and press with an iron ($10, Walmart). We recommend pressing with the seams in the middle, rather than on the edge, so that each tab has a smooth front side with the seam running down the middle of the back side. For each facing piece (the two long strips that match the width of the panels), fold the short edge in 2 inches; press and unfold. Then fold in half to the pressed line and stitch. Press one of the longer edges to create a ½-inch crease, and leave the other edge raw.

  4. Press and Pin Panels and Tabs

    placing and pinning fabric for hidden tabs
    Jay Wilde

    Lay out both drapery panels and press the long edge of each panel in 2 inches, then turn under 1 inch. Stitch close to the fold, about 1 inch from the outside edge.

    When you've stitched both long edges of each panel, evenly space your pressed tabs across the short edge. Our panel was about 50 inches wide, and our tabs were 5 inches apart. Pin the tabs into place on the front side of the fabric with straight pins, raw edges up and right sides together with the panel. Then, pin the facing piece in place on top of the tabs and the panel, raw edges up. Pin between the tabs, then stitch a half-inch seam all the way across.

  5. hidden tabs of curtains lying flat on table
    Jay Wilde

    Press and Stitch Across Panels

    Fold the tabs and the facing piece to the back of each panel and press into place. Stitch the entire width of the panel, using a half-inch seam and tucking under the ends of the tabs as needed.

  6. overhead view of iron and ruler on fabric
    Jay Wilde

    Finish Drapery Panels

    After attaching the tabs and facing pieces, all that's left to do is hem the bottom of each panel. Remeasure the fabric and place a pin at the original length you measured; our measurement was 85 inches. We recommend placing a pin at each side and in the middle to make sure you create a straight line across each panel. Press in the lower hem along the pins, and stitch near to the folded edge about 3 inches from the bottom. Once your curtain panels are hemmed, hang the curtains in your space.

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