Convert a rod pocket curtain to back tabs using only scissors

2012-09-20 12.27.02

Quick Back Tabs from a Rod Pocket

I was looking for a cheap curtain solution for a bunch of windows recently and discovered a simple trick to convert a rod pocket curtain to back tabs.

My quest started with $10 clearance panels — a super bargain! Although not my top choice fabric, at that price (for 6 windows), it was worth it to make it work. Unfortunately the curtains were rod pockets, I hate rod pockets. They don’t slide easily, they don’t bunch out of the way, they look ruffled. I don’t like them. It’s personal preference. But they are only $10 a panel…

I broke out my scissors to experiment with converting the rod pocket to back tabs. I prefer back tab curtains. They fold better out of the way when open and are easier to move (although for this room moving them regularly wasn’t a requirement). Looking at some other panels it seems the tabs should be ~2″ wide and 8″ apart. So I carefully cut tabs into the back side of the rod pocket. On the ends only one cut is needed so the edge of the curtain will hang from the rod. For middle tabs, two vertical snips a couple inches apart centered at 8″ intervals. Note these snips go through the back side of the rod pocket only, so the front of the panel is untouched.

2012-09-20 12.11.08  2012-09-20 12.12.44

Here is the after result with just a few minutes of snips. The before shot shows how the rod pocket looks, the fabric is so stiff that the curtain can’t be pushed all the way to the right (it springs back open). The back tab solution suited my purpose better, with no extra $$ and minimal additional time.

2012-09-20 12.21.37

Before: Rod Pocket — Messy, won’t open fully

2012-09-20 12.25.11

After: Back Tabs — Crisper, open out of the way


10 thoughts on “Convert a rod pocket curtain to back tabs using only scissors

  1. C. Clark

    Thanks for this post; especially the pictures. I duplicated this on some inexpensive panels tonight & they look is so much better than the old rod pocket.

  2. j Russell

    Tried this today and I love it. It was so easy and quick and it looks so much better than the rod pockets. I have grommet curtains in several rooms and I wanted something different. I was going to settle for rod pockets until I stumbled upon this post. Thanks a lot!

    1. Zia Post author

      Wonderful, thanks for sharing! For what it’s worth, I do like how grommet curtains slide easily. I have a set of 96″ back tab curtains that I do move regularly and I safety pinned some metal rings into the tabs to get that easy (but noisy) slide without the grommet look. Your comment just reminded me of that trick. Enjoy!

  3. Kirsten

    You saved the DAY! And maybe even the month!!! I bought gorgeous lined linen curtains and was so sad when I hung them. The rod pocked looked terrible. A quick google search led me here and 10 minutes later I have the perfect curtains. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

  4. Sandra Purcell

    You read my mind! I was wondering if this would work – I hate sewing tiny details like the back tabs….so I am gonna DO IT. Thanks so much!

  5. Mary

    What a terrific idea! I love back tab curtains and have been searching for some type of header tape with the tabs already on so I wouldn’t have to sew individual tabs myself. Do you have any problem with the cut fabric fraying much after opening and closing the drapes repeatedly?


Leave a Reply to Kirsten Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>