How to Make Back Tab Drapery Panels


Making back tab drapery panels from a chosen material that will blend in with a room's decor is a rewarding project. The panels are not hard to make or hang. In just a few hours a room will be completed. The panels have tabs in the back, making them appear like regular drapes. This kind of drape can be used in a formal or casually decorated room; the difference will depend on the material you choose. For comfort use a thermal backed material that will block the sun. This will be more like a high-end custom drape.

Things You'll Need

  • Drapery or curtain rod
  • Material
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Tape measure
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Pick a rod that you want to use for the drapery panels. The rod should will look good with the drapes hanging to the floor. Measure the window, adding side, top and bottom hems to get the right size. This will make hanging the drapery panels uniform on all windows.

  • Shop for your fabric. The drapery panels can be sewn from most fabrics, including those with thermal backing. Remember to purchase matching thread to use when sewing. If you are using a pattern material, buy extra so that you can match the two panels. Mismatched draperies look sloppy when hung in an otherwise elegant room.

  • Start cutting the panels and pinning the hems. Keep the hems straight; otherwise the panels will not hang correctly from the rods. This will make them appear homemade instead of custom made.

  • Cut the tabs before starting to sew the panels. This way the tabs can be placed exactly where they need to be for the pleats to hang correctly. The tabs are approximately 5 inches long and 3 inches wide once hemmed. Sew the tabs as you would make a tube, sewing them inside out and turning them right side out before sewing the ends.

    The ends will be inside the hem of the panel so they won't show.

  • Sew the panels first down each side and then along the top and bottom hems. This must be straight. This is also where matching a pattern comes in again. Have plenty of room to lay the panels out so you can judge where the tabs should go as well. Start at the sides and work your way toward the middle. If you have to readjust distance, do it before you sew the tabs on. Tabs should be about 6 inches apart. The tabs will be first placed at the spot where the top hem is going to be sewn. Fold the tab in half and place the other end at the same place as the first side. The hem will hide the unfinished edges of the tab. Then sew the hem as you would normally. Make sure each tab is measured the same for a uniform drapery panel. Remember the tabs are on the window side of the panel, not the side facing the room.

  • Press the finished panels with the iron. Make sure the pleats are straight. Once done, place the panels carefully onto the rod. This is where a second pair of hands might come in handy.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always measure twice and cut once --- this saves time and material. Use sharp scissors to keep material from fraying as you cut.
  • Choose materials and threads that match. Keep seams straight and pleats ironed in place to avoid messy drapes.

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  • Photo Credit Zoran Milich/Photodisc/Getty Images
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