How to Make Reversible Tabbed Drapes - dummies

By Mark Montano, Carly Sommerstein

Making reversible draperies takes a bit of extra effort, but it’s well worth it. Try a striped fabric backed with a solid or a vivid pattern (polka dots or small-print fabric) backed with a solid, or try two patterned fabrics that refer to each other, such as a medium or large rose print on one side backed with a small-patterned rose print on the reverse. Keep the color tones (warm vs. cool) of the two fabrics close when you choose this design option.

You want the fabrics to be of approximately the same weight, not only so the treatment will hang properly, but also so that they are equally opaque. Also, pick your fabric colors so that one dark color doesn’t shine through a light one.

To create this treatment, you have to measure the height of your window, then subtract 3 inches to get your finished treatment length. For example, if your window is 60 inches high, your finished panel will be 57 inches.

Normally, you double your window width to get your drapes’ width; for example, if your window width is 30 inches wide, plan on making two panels that are each 30 inches wide. You need approximately 3 yards per panel for a standard, 30-x-60-inch window. You actually need an extra inch to create a 1/2-inch seam allowance, for a total of 31 inches wide x 58 inches long.

In addition to the fabric needed to create the panels, use a piece of fabric that measures about 20 x 6 inches to create your tabs (they hold your drapes onto the curtain rods). To determine the number of tabs you’ll need, measure the width of your window and divide by 5; that way you’ll be adding one tab for every 5 inches of width.

To create your reversible draperies, follow these steps:

  1. Lay out your fabric on your cutting table or workspace.

  2. Cut your tab fabric, as many as you need for your window’s width.

    You need tabs that are 8 inches long x 1-1/2 inches wide when finished. Cut your fabric so they measure 9 x 2-1/2-inches to allow for a 1/2-inch seam allowance all around the tabs.

  3. Sew your curtain tabs by laying your two pieces of fabric face to face and stitching a 1/2-inch around your tab, leaving the bottom part open (so that you can turn it right side out when you’re finished).


    After you sew, cut off the top (non-open) corners of the tabs on a diagonal so that when you flip the piece, the fabric lays flat, and you have “perfect” corners.

  4. Turn the tabs right side out and press with an iron.

  5. Create buttonholes on the tabs 1/2 an inch from the finished edge.

    Size your buttonholes appropriately for the button you want.

  6. 6.Cut both panels of your drapery fabric to the appropriate measurements.

    For a 30-inch-wide window, each panel needs to be 8 feet, 1 inch x 31 inches.

  7. Before you lay the two fabrics face-to-face, right sides together, pin the tabs on the top seam at 5-inch intervals, leaving 1/2 inch at both sides of the drapery, so that the tabs are sandwiched between the two panels of fabric.


    When the drapery is turned right side out, the top seam holds the tabs in place.

    For reversible draperies, make sure that each piece of fabric you sew is exactly the same size. Otherwise, your fabric will peek through.

  8. Pin along the edge, all the way around the panels, using a pin every 5 inches or so.

  9. Prepare your sewing machine and sew all around the panels, leaving an 8-inch hole toward the top on the left-hand side (so you can later pull the draperies right side out).

    Remove your pins as you work.

  10. Cut off the excess fabric at the corner of the panel on a diagonal, just as you did with your tabs, so you’ll have “perfect” corners.

  11. Flip the drapery right side out and press with your iron.

  12. Sew the buttons onto each side of your panel, 2 inches down from the top seam.

    You can sew through the buttons on one side to the buttons on the other to save time and make them sturdier and more secure. Make sure the buttons are spaced properly to match the tab placement.

  13. Iron all around the edges of the draperies, making sure to push the fabric of the 8-inch-hole seam allowance inside the panel.


  14. Hand stitch the hole closed with a blind stitch.

  15. Flip your tabs over, button them, and hang your new draperies!