How to Sew Hidden Tab Drapes

Hidden tabs offer a way to hang drapes on a curtain rod that gives a crisp, straight edged look. The hidden tabs look like belt loops on the upper edge of the back of the curtain, but won’t show from the front. To hang the drapes, you’ll need a simple curtain rod without any hooks, which you can find at a home, fabric or discount store. You’ll also need some sturdy ribbon to make the hidden tabs. The ribbon doesn’t have to match the drapery fabric, but it shouldn’t be too dark or it might show through.

Step 1

Install the curtain rod above the window.  Measure the width of the curtain rod, minus any decorative brackets on the ends.

Multiply this number by two to determine the drapery width.  Add 2 inches for side hems if you’re making a single drape, or add 4 inches for side hems if you want to cover the window with two drapes, each opening to one side.

Step 2

Measure from the top of the curtain rod to the place where you want the drapes to end to determine the drapery length.  This may be several inches below the window frame, or all the way to the floor.

Add 10 inches to this measurement for hems. 

Step 3

Figure out how much fabric you’ll need to make the drapes, using the calculations from Step 1 and Step 2.  Unless the drapery fabric is wide or the window is narrow, you may need to sew several panels of fabric together to make them wide enough.

Include seam allowance in your calculations for sewing together panels. 

Step 4

Sew the drapery fabric panels together, if needed.  Hem the sides of the drapes with a 1-inch double-fold hem.

To do this, fold each edge over 1 inch toward the wrong side of the fabric, press it and fold it over another 1 inch.  Press the hems, then pin them in place and sew along the edge of the hem using matching thread.

Step 5

Fold the upper edge of the drapes over 1 inch toward the wrong side of the fabric and press it in place. 

Step 6

Cut pieces of grosgrain ribbon, each about 4 inches long, to make the hidden tabs.  Space the tabs about 4 to 6 inches apart, so the width of the drapes will determine the number of tabs you need.

Step 7

Fold the ends of each ribbon under about 1/2 inch and press them in place.  Add a small amount of an anti-fraying product, such as Fray Check, to the ends of each piece of ribbon to prevent them from raveling.

Step 8

Position the ribbon tabs along the upper edge of the drapes on the right side of the fabric, spacing them about 4 to 6 inches apart.  The wider the window is, the further apart the tabs can be.

The end of each tab should line up with the pressed upper edge of the drape. 

Step 9

Pin the tabs to the drape and sew them in place along the top and bottom edges.  The tabs should look like belt loops.

Step 10

Fold the upper edge of the drapes over about 3 1/2 inches toward the wrong side of the fabric, so that the tabs are on the back of the drapes.  Sew along the upper and lower edges of the fold using matching thread.

Step 11

Remove the curtain rod and slide it through the hidden tabs on the back of the drapes.  Hang the drapes on the curtain rod and check the length.

Remove the drapes and shorten them if needed, then hem the lower edge using a double-fold hem. 

Things You Will Need

  • Curtain rod
  • Measuring tape
  • Drapery fabric
  • Matching thread
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Spool of 1-inch wide grosgrain ribbon
  • Anti-fraying liquid, such as Fray Check


  • You may want to add tiebacks to the drapes to hold them open.


  • Use caution when working with scissors, pins, irons and sewing machines.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images