Drop Cloth Curtains, with Tutorial

Alright, I am about to attempt my very first tutorial.  Writing this is harder than I thought, I hope this makes sense.  If not please feel free to email or comment.  I might be making it sound harder than it is. This EASY, and cheap way to make back tab curtains must be shared with the world.  This is NOT a professional way to make a drape. If you are looking for classy professional sewing instructions, please leave now.  I am not proud of the way the back of these curtains look.  The pride lies in the EASY, FAST and frugal aspects of this project.

I believe I have stated in other posts how I have been blessed to have very large windows in our home.  Sunlight is hard to come by in the Pacific Northwest during the winter, so I welcome any and all that wants to trickle in the windows.  Curtains to cover these windows cost a fortune!  Our bedroom has two enormous windows that almost fill two walls.  We want curtains that not only provide privacy but that are a little heavy and can block out some of the cold air that seeps through the old window above the headboard.  Because of this, I decided to do drop cloth curtains.   If your windows are small enough, or you don't need your curtains to close, you could use one drop cloth and make two panels out of it.  Our windows are large enough that I needed two drop cloths per window.  Good thing a 6x9 paint drop cloth from Lowes is only $10.  I've been asked by a few people how to determine the width of your curtains.  Measure the window and multiply by 2.  Thats ALOT of fabric, so I usually pretend.  If your curtains are going to remain closed though, you really want that extra fabric to provide some pleating, or "give" so it doesn't look like you hung a sheet over the window.  The stripped curtains in my living room are not functional, so there is not nearly enough fabric, but I don't care because I never close them, I use blinds.  I would rather not have all that fabric take up wall or window space out there.  Its really up to you, and what you want for the space...thats what I think anyway.

Ok enough rambling...
The first thing I did was take the drop cloth and wash it!  Use a little soap and a little bleach.  Drop cloths are stiff and this will soften it a little.  Once its dry, hang it over the rod till you get your desired length. I wanted my drapes to hit the floor.  Then I took into account seam allowance for the top (mine was 4.5 inches of what was hanging on the back of the rod.  Then I measured how much I needed to cut off.
Cutting. A lovely friend gave me a cutting board with a rotary cutter for Christmas one year.  If you sew and you do not have one of these, you have no idea how much easier your sewing can be!!!  GET ONE! It makes ALL the difference!  Ok, so I measured and used my rotary cutter to cut the tops off the drop cloths.  I did not touch the side or bottom hems on the drop cloths...ever!
 Get your iron as hot as it will go, these guys are tough to iron.  I love short cuts so I only ironed the first 9 inches or so since I was not doing anything with the rest for a while.
 I ironed down about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch. This is the part to turn under.  Then I folded over and under again but this time I did a 4 inch fold, this makes the rod pocket.  Now,  it is at this point you must make a decision.  You can stitch the top and bottom and slide the curtain rod through the pocket and be done, or you can add tabs and make a curtain with back tabs which is what I chose to do.

When I cut up my old curtains to make my stripped curtains.  I cut the old tab tops off and saved them.  I now want to add them to the back of these curtains so these will be back tab curtains.  This is not going to look pretty, I'm warning you ;0) ( No old tab top curtains? You could use ribbon or  the portion of the drop cloth that you cut off the top if need be).

Start pinning on your tabs. So  in the picture you hopefully can see that we have not stitched anything yet. The tab is pinned to the right side and it is even with that first fold that we did.

I did my tabs just over 4 1/2 inches apart, I thought I was going to do 3 inches apart when the photo was taken, but I wanted bigger space between them.  Once they are pinned in place.  Sew them.

I just sewed the whole width of the drape, because I didn't want to cut threads all night.  Then sew the top side of the tabs.

When you are done, fold down that 4 inch fold you ironed in and sew on the fold, this makes the top of the rod pocket.  Then attach the bottom of the rod pocket to the drape, by sewing along that 1/4 inch fold, but this time you are attaching it to the front of the drape as well.
 You should end up with tabs and four seams on the back and two seams on the front.

Finish up with the iron...we have to iron the whole thing this time, which actually takes more time then all the sewing.

 I know my room is getting more and more beige, but I have plans to change that real soon with a new fun color - not on the wall...stay tuned!


  1. Great tutorial. Love anything with dropcloth. I especially love how you did the tabs in the back. The end result looks so finished.

    1. Thank You Cheryl! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know what you think!

  2. i just made these last night, and they turned out awesome!
    Thanks so much for posting this tutorial!

    1. Oh I am so glad you found this a useful tutorial!!! Congrats on your new curtains!!!!

  3. What brand drop cloth did you use? I just unwrapped a 6x9 that I picked up at lowes... And it was complete with a crooked seam at the 3ft length mark!!! Is there a brand that doesn't piece it together like this?

  4. Maybe the silliest question ever posed, but can you tell a rough-looking back tab from a good-looking back tab? I'm thinking about buying a sewing machine (that's how unskilled I am) to do drop cloth curtains. I don't love the clips and you make these back tabs look so simple.

    Will it matter if it looks funky from the back? (The curtain rod will be high above the window.) Can a novice do this with a little practice?



    1. Totally not the silliest question!!! You can do a rough looking back tab!...In fact if you look close, the edges on mine are not finished on the bottom and top where I cut the fabric. I wouldn't give them as a gift or sell them this way, but in your home...no one will ever know! (I certainly won't tell on you!!!) They should wear just fine as curtains don't usually go through the wash too often. If you are new to sewing I highly recommend doing something simple like using ribbon (make sure it is wide) as the tabs if you don't have old tab top curtains to use. Just cut the ribbon pieces and sew along the top and bottoms. Please let me know if you have any more questions and good luck with your curtains!!!!