Saturday, November 6, 2010

I've been called out!

Thanks to Lady With a Knife, who writes:
I need you to go faster and get those pictures of how you installed the clips,;D My have disintegrated as well and I don't like pleats either. I am visual as well and am thrilled you are posting "as you go" pics. Thank you! 
I'm finally catching up on some project blogging, specifically putting the curtain tabs on my pleatless curtains.  When Ladies with Knives ask, I deliver!

Here is the beginning of the curtain saga, omigosh, a year ago!  The curtains have been up all this time, really.

So here's the rest of the story,

Once the curtain itself is complete you have a large rectangle of fabric which is easy to work with.  Remember there will be a lot of stress placed on the fabric where the tabs go so the top header and the bottom...well, it's not really a hem, I guess it's a bottom header, need to have some weight.  My fabric is very lightweight so I lined the curtains and also used buckram, which you can find at most fabric stores.  You can see that process in the post I mentioned above.  The buckram also keeps the top of the curtain crisp looking.

 Just an example of measuring placement-yes, this shows T tabs and G tabs
I used a mixture of new and old plastic tabs, and those we purchased came without elastic.  I used some 1/2 inch elastic I had and cut it to approximately the same length as the original tabs and then threaded it through the tabs.  I did this while watching a movie on TV.  I then lined up an old curtain header with the new curtain header and  marked placement with a pencil.  Also make sure to measure your new curtains top to bottom with the old.  If your tab placement is off lengthwise it will make the new curtains either too "blousy" or too tight and very difficult to open.

When I had the placement figured out, I pinned the tabs to the wrong side of the curtain header. I then set up my machine for a narrow, close zig-zag like that used for buttonholes.  Make sure your thread blends with the outer fabric as the stitching will be quite noticeable.

I then started sewing, going forward and then reverse and then moving on to the next tab without breaking the thread.  This goes quickly.

On the right side the stitching is barely noticeable.  See the 2 tabs close together?  That's the end that meets the other curtain in the middle of the window.  It's a good idea to do this.  The tab on the end allows the curtains to look neat when closed and the other tab gives uniformity to the soft pleats that form when the curtains are open.  And as this is where the curtains are pulled on to open and close, the 2 tabs give a bit of strength which defrays that repeated stress.

These snaps come from that big box store that starts with W and ends with a T.  When I first made the curtains I hadn't decided I wanted to use these, but after a few trips it seemed that these would make the curtains look more finished.  They are easy to do but require some thinking.  Practice with one on some scrap fabric if you've never used them before.  The instructions are on the back of the box but I think it helps to mark the  pieces that go together before you start.  This size fits the receiver snaps on our Airstream.

I marked placement of the snaps with the curtains in place at the windows.  If you plan to use snaps, give yourself a little extra fabric at the sides.  If your fabric is lightweight, a small square of a heavyweight fabric should be used to beef-up the area where the snap goes.

And, there you have it.  Not a difficult job, just takes some planning and thinking.  Next time it will be a snap!

I have another Airstream story to tell about our aborted visit to Gilbert Ray Campground but that will have to wait until later.


  1. I have no old curtains, how many inches should be between tabs? How do you hold the elastic of the tabs in place? Yours look so nice and even. When I tried a sample the pins bunch the material and the elastic doesn't seen to stay in place or even. Your curtains look great, didn't think I wanted pleatless until I saw yours!

  2. I'm in the same boat - no old curtains to work with. Would love to know the measurement between your tab placement. Thanks!

  3. how far apart did you have the tabs? Please respond.