Having relocated back to New England after living in Washington, DC, I was faced with a reoccurring problem: tab curtains. They're very Vermont-ish and people here love them! Especially with all the new trends and design variations available in tabs.
But as designers, it is our nature to want everything to look picture perfect. But what about tabs? Sure they look great when the installer dresses them, but open and close tab curtains once and all those nicely dressed folds are clumped on the edges of the windows. Then comes the tedious chore of adjusting all the tabs so they will be evenly spaced on the rods.
The Solution: Evenly Spaced Tabs
Using the same design idea as in hobbled Roman shades, you can fabricate tab curtains that will have equally spaced tabs when the curtains are drawn closed.
Before you start, you first must know the amount of fullness in the curtains. For example, if you have a 40-inch pole and curtains that use one width of material for each side, your fullness is approximately 2 1/2-times.
Most curtains will average seven tabs per width, making them around seven inches apart center to center. When the tabs are evenly dressed, each tab would be about 2 3/4 inches apart, center to center. Remember this number! Materials:
In addition to normal fabric and lining requirements to make tabs, you will need twill tape, a T-gun and tiger-tags.
Fabricate tabs as you would normally. After completion, attach twill tape to the lining just below the tabs using tiger-tags and your T-gun. (Figure 1) The twill tape will be shorter than the overall width of the drapery panel based on your calculations obtained earlier. For example, if evenly spaced tabs need to be 2 3/4 inches apart, the length of the twill tape between each tab also should be 2 3/4 inches.
Now when the curtains are drawn open and closed, the twill tape will pull the tabs across the rod keeping them spaced evenly so there's no clumping or flat sections in the drapery.
If your drapery design is one of the new relaxed tab curtains, then the twill tape will show between the tabs. A way to create evenly spaced tabs in this case is to hand sew monofilament fishing line (20-pound test) between the tabs to keep them at the desired widths. (Figure 2)
Pam Damour is an award-winning designer and author known for her willingness to share her fabricating secrets with competitors and consumers. She travels extensively lecturing at both consumer and trade shows and has produced two step-by-step videotapes. Damour also offers consulting and
in-house training to the trade.