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Sewing Tabbed Drapes/Curtains with Lining – Part 2:Sewing

April 17, 2012

(Read the whole post to see my mistake. )

All put back together!

I chose a blue brocade for my drapes. Because of the pattern woven into brocade using looser weave and tighter weave, it is especially prone to ravel. I used a narrow zig-zag along each edge of my larger pieces to prevent raveling and give the fabric stability. Another note: Blue hues are especially prone to fading from sunlight – another good reason to add a lining to your draperies.

(For the fabric estimation and planning see yesterday’s post.)

Sewing a long strip to use for tabs

Let’s start with making the tabs. It is much easier and time efficient to make a long length of tab and then cut that long length into tab pieces. Cut the fabric strip two times the finished width plus 1 inch (for seam allowances.) Sew with right sides together (scant 1/2″ seam) and turn right side out.

A pile of finished tabs

Press the tube flat with the seam centered in the middle of the back. Add a finishing touch that will prevent the fabric from rolling by top stitching 1/4″ from each long edge. Now you may cut to correct lengths for each tab. Fold in half and zig-zag the short edges together to form tabs.

If needed, sew pieces of fabric together to get the correct width for each panel. I would suggest an enclosed seam like a French seam or flat-felled seam, for a nice finish.

For your lining, the type of seam depends on your material. If it is a woven fabric you will need to finish the seam, but if it is rubberized you may simply seam together. I decided on using the rubberized light-blocking material for my lining and so I will be giving directions for that type.

TIP: Cut your lining width larger than the finished size by 2-4″. This will give allowance in the event your fabric is not square or your edge finishes were not uniform. This is especially necessary if you are using a narrow hem allowance.

Next press to the wrong side 1″ of fabric to finish the top edge. It is easier to fold and press your side edges at this point too. For the sides press the full allowance and then turn under 1/2″ of that edge to make a nice finish. (Do not sew it now.)

Following the sketch you made from the planning stage, place a pin to mark the center of each tab. Unfold the finished edge of the side to place your first and last tabs. Use a long measuring tape to measure the entire length rather than moving a ruler for each measurement. This is a MUCH more accurate way to do it. Now place your tabs on the panel matching centers and baste. So easy!

Pinning the lining before sewing

Place your lining fabric (with the rubberized side to the inside) along the top edge of the curtain, concealing the tabs ends. You should be able to see just the very edge of the decorator fabric as shown in my picture. Make sure your side edges that you pressed are folded out so you don’t catch them in this seam. Stitch near the top of your drape and then again about 1/4″ lower than first stitching. (I use the edge of my presser foot to measure.) Start and stop sewing right at the first and last tab edges.

I really found myself wishing my machine had one of those fancy needle down position options. When wrestling large pieces of fabric, that comes in very handy. If you have one, use it now. 🙂

Trim the lining just a wee bit smaller than the finished size.

Now that your fabric and lining are attached, it time to trim the lining width to the finished size. A large table is especially helpful here. I placed my lining on bottom and my decorator fabric top. It was easier to smooth and make sure the fabric didn’t have any wrinkles in it. You may want to pin several rows of widely spaced pins just to make sure your fabric and lining are lying without any wrinkles.

This didn't want to focus up close - sorry

Use your pressed edge as a guide and trim your fabric to a smidge (a highly technical term meaning just a little bit) smaller than the edge. Tuck the lining inside the fold of your finished edge and stitch to about 4″ above where you think your hem will lie. This way you will have plenty of room to tuck the hem into place.

Just a hem and you will be done! To get the hem perfect, I hung my curtains wrong side out on my closet pole. I trimmed the lining material about a half inch above the hem length and then pinned my hem into place.

Press hem. Turn under the raw edge, then press again. You can sew this by hand or use the hem stitch on the machine. I used a machine straight stitch since my fabric was a solid color. Finish stitching the gap we left along the edge of your panels.


You should take the curtains off the pole before pressing and sewing – but I guessed that you already knew that. 🙂 Now hang them back up and enjoy dinner without being blinded by that beautiful sunshine.

Oh, do you want to see my mistake – I always make at least one. It helps keep me humble. 🙂

I cut my closet pole too short. It would fit but had just enough space to slip out of the socket. Since the curtains would be opened and closed, that would be a problem. I didn’t want go back to Home Depot, buy another pole, and then put two coats of paint on it, thereby delaying my gratification of finishing and hanging the curtains, so I made it work. Here is how:

This is slightly better than using duct tape. *smile*

I had to do it on both ends of the pole. And you would never know because the socket hides the screw – except I told you!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Cheryl permalink
    April 17, 2012 10:18 am

    Those look great! 😀

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