Do you remember tab-top curtains?

Quaint curtains made of calico or muslin for historic homes or country decor?

Well, tab-top curtains do not have to be quaint…. or boring!

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I created a more updated version of tab-tops using faux leather and then combined with a gorgeous floral print linen and burlap.  Decorating is all about textures and patterns.  By combining different materials you can create a window treatment that is truly custom and unique.  You can learn how to sew this drapery from start-to-finish on the HomeDecGal blog.

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The tabs and tieback on this drapery look like leather belt straps but are made using a soft faux leather that is stitched and then backed with Phoomph™ for fabric, a no-sew adhesive stiffener from Coats.  I love how this drapery turned out and I hope you enjoy learning about how they were made.

For the tabs you will want to purchase a soft faux leather material.  Look for a fabric that will be easy to sew with a soft hand and  a fabric-like backing.  Often leather or vinyl is difficult to sew and will not feed properly under the presser foot.  By using one with a fabric backing,  you can sew with the fabric side next to the feed dogs on your sewing machine, and it will feed evenly.

Cut the faux leather 10 x 12 inches and, on the reverse side, draw a line with a marker inset a half inch line along each long side.  This will be the seam allowance.  Draw lines for each tab across the back at 1-1/2 inches each, dividing the material into eight sections.  You will get eight tabs from each piece.  Using a different color marker (orange used here), draw lines for the decorative stitching 1/4 inch inset on each end, and on each side of the black lines.

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Select a decorative stitch on your sewing machine and sew along the orange lines with Coats all-purpose thread in a contrasting color.  You can choose any style stitch that you like – I used a simple scallop design.  Another option would be to use a straight stitch, sewing two rows close together on each side, or sewing a decorative straight stitch pattern on the tab.  Be creative!

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This is how the faux leather looks with the stitching completed.

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Peel the paper off one side of the Phoomph adhesive sheet.  I used black to create the leather belt look, but it comes in other colors.  The sticky side is adhered to the reverse side of the faux leather.  Smooth it evenly with your hands from the front.  Be certain to center the Phoomph™ sheet between the lines, so that the 1/2 inch seam allowances are free of Phoomph.  This is important because the tabs will be sewn into the top of the drapery and Phoomph can’t be sewn because of the adhesive.

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Peel the paper off the reverse side, exposing the sticky surface.  Add a backing which is cut to fit  the front at 10 x 12 inches.  I used a soft polyester suede which I had in my fabric stash.  Felt would also work great for this.  Smooth it over the back, lining up the edges with the front fabric.

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Cut the tabs between the stitch lines using scissors or a rotary cutter and mat.

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Fold over each tab and sew into the top of the drapery.

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The tabs slide over a decorative curtain rod.  The spaces between the tabs are dressed to create a small swag which creates a beautiful and less traditional look.

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I created a handsome tieback using the same technique with a metal jeans button embellishment.   If you have any left over tabs you could add grommets,  rivets or buttons and make key fobs or a leather-look bracelet.

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Here is the finished drapery with faux leather tabs.  I just love how it turned out.  The same style can be made from a variety of fabric combinations.  Replace the floral linen with denim for a Western themed boys room, or create a sassy statement with a black and white zebra print, hot pink burlap and black leather tabs. Imagine how dramatic this would be in a dining room made with velvet, iridescent sheer and matching color faux leather.  If you enjoyed this project, and would like to learn more I invite you will visit my blog where you will find the full step-by-step tutorial for this and other sewing projects.

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About the Author


Susan Woodcock owns HomeDecGal.com, a how-to sewing and decorating resource. She previously owned a wholesale custom drapery workroom, serving interior design professionals for over twenty years. She is the editor-in-chief for the trade magazine Drapery & Design Professional, and has also worked in marketing and brand management. Susan is an experienced and popular teacher and speaker for sewing and decorating groups nationwide, and has been published in many sewing and decorating publications. She credits her mother for teaching her to sew, leading to a career of creativity.

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