Window coverings are often one of the first DIY home décor projects people attempt. And rightly so; they’re usually simple panels with just a few hems – fast, easy and so much more affordable than off-the-shelf options. However, figuring out how best to hang those pretty panels can be more of a challenge. Dritz® Home products to the rescue! They offer three drapery tape options that solve the most common hanging alternatives: Rod Loop Tape, Clip Ring Tape, and Iron-On Shirring Tape. We made a mini sample to test each product and were very happy with how quickly everything went together. Read on to find out more. And you know that blank window you’ve been staring at for months? It could have its very own curtain in no time at all.
This article is all about the finishing steps for hanging your curtains. If you are brand new to making a curtain panel, check out one or more of the links below (for even more curtain and panel tutorials, check out our Project Index). We explain the formulas for determining cut width and length, how to handle linings, and the standard options for hemming as well as stabilizing the top of a panel.
Each of the Dritz® Drapery Tape options are the final step in your curtain project, which means you’ve already hemmed the sides, bottom, and top of your panel(s).
The Shirring Tape is just over 1” wide and so can be used with both wider and narrow hem.
All three products come in 6 yard lengths, so you’ll be able to do most projects with a single package.
Dritz® does a great job providing tutorials as well as both printable and video tutorials on many of their products. We’ve linked below to the specific tutorials for these drapery tapes, but for even more, we invite you to visit the Dritz® website or blog, and to follow them on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
In particular, check out the Video Library on YouTube, which has dozens of short videos on exactly how to best use some of the most popular Dritz® notions; new videos are being added all the time.
Rod Loop Tape
This is probably the most versatile option of the three since many people have either flat or round curtain rods begging for a curtain panel.
If you make your own curtain panel, you can easily leave both ends of the top hem open and simply slide the panel onto the rod. So, why would you even need this type of drapery tape? We’re so glad you asked.
With the Dritz® Rod Loop Tape acting as the “channel” for the rod, the top hem can be fully sewn closed giving the top of the curtain panel maximum stability. In fact, with many décor weight fabrics, this traditional deep, double hem will probably be all that’s needed to keep the top of the curtain panel straight and stable. Even with lighter weight fabrics, a single layer of Header Tape would be enough to properly stiffen the top edge when using the Rod Loop Tape.
In addition, the loops of the Rod Loop Tape are evenly spaced, which means when your panels are pushed open, the resulting gathers will be even. When you have just an open channel in the fabric, it is much harder to get a pretty flow along the top of a panel, and if there’s more than one panel, the gathers are never even from one panel to the next. Dritz® Rod Loop Tape solves this problem. And, as shown below, it’s easy to pleat the tape to get an exact fit.
- Cut the tape 7½” longer than the finished width of your curtain panel. Pin the resulting length of tape to the top edge of the curtain. Center the tape within the hem, and adjust side to side so the first loop is about 1” in from the left edge.
- When you reach the opposite side edge, the last loop should be within 2½” of the side hem. If it’s not, simply unpin and fold the tape into small pleats between the loops, removing ease until the tape fits correctly and lays flat.
- When the tape is properly adjusted left to right, trim the tape 1” beyond each side hem.
- Fold under these 1” ends.
- Stitch the tape in place along all edges: top, bottom, and sides.
- Gather up the panel and remove the pins.
- Slide the panel onto the rod and hang.
Dritz® has a free downloadable PDF tutorial with additional steps and measuring notes for how to use the Rod Loop Tape.
You can find Dritz® Home Rod Loop Tape at fine in-store and online retailers everywhere, including Amazon.
Clip Ring Tape
The Clip Ring Tape is applied in a very similar manner to the Rod Loop Tape.
There are two rows of little “pocket/loops” on the Clip Ring Tape. Either row can be used. The difference is how close you want the top of your panel to the rod, in other words, how much of the clips you want to show. The pocket/loops themselves are spaced about 1½” apart.
- Cut the tape 4” longer than the finished width of your curtain panel. Pin the resulting length of tape to the top edge of the curtain. Center the tape within the hem, and adjust so the first pocket/loop is about 1” in from the left edge.
- When you reach the opposite side edge, the last pocket/loop should be within 1½” of the side hem. If it is not, just as above with Rod Loop Tape, simply unpin and fold the tape into small pleats between pocket/loops, removing ease until tape fits correctly and lays flat.
- Trim the Clip Ring Tape 1” beyond each side edge. Fold under the ends.
- Stitch in place along all edges: top, bottom, and sides.
- Attach the clip rings into either the top or bottom row of pockets. If you use the top row, it allows space between the top of the curtain panel and the rod.
- If you use the bottom row, the top of the curtain is likely to just touch the rod and hide the hook completely.
- As mentioned, the spacing between the pocket/loops is set at 1½”, so we found it was best to clip the outermost rings into position first and then the center ring. Once those rings are placed, use your tape measure to evenly position the other rings. The spacing may not be able to be exact, but with a pocket/loop every 1½”, you can come very close.
- Slide the the rings onto the rod and hang.
Dritz® has a free downloadable PDF tutorial with additional steps and measuring notes for how to use the Clip Ring Tape.
You can find Dritz® Clip Ring Tape at fine in-store and online retailers anywhere, including Amazon.
Iron-On Shirring Tape
This is a new Dritz® product that can be used for curtains as well as other situations, such making a fabric hiding panel for the front of a cabinet or along the base of a counter.
As mentioned above in the section on the Rod Loop Tape, you may wonder why you would need this product if you can simply make a channel with the top hem of your panel. When slipped onto a rod, especially with a narrow channel for a tight fit, the channel itself will “gather” when pushed open. You are right, and that is certainly a viable option. But the cool thing about the Shirring Tape is that your gathers stay in position.
Once you pull the cords to your desired width, the cord is knotted at both ends, the width is secured. This is very handy if the window or other opening is an unusual size and/or if you rarely want to open or close the covering. You can use a single panel, gather it to the exact width, hang the panel, and it will stay as-is.
You could also use Dritz® Iron-On Shirring Tape for other projects that require a lot of gathering, such as bed or crib skirts.
- The panel should be prepared and hemmed in a similar manner to the samples above. As mentioned in the introduction, the Shirring Tape is much narrower so you don’t need to have a deep hem the way you do with the Rod Loop Tape or Clip Ring Tape. We used a deep hem for our test to keep all the samples consistent, but could have gotten away with just a narrow 2” hem.
- Center the tape, adhesive side down, on the wrong side of the top hem.
- Lightly pin in place across the entire width.
- Pull the cords out of tape at the side edges. Cut away the excess tape to just inside the side hems of the panel, but do not cut the cords.
- With a dry iron on the “Wool” setting, press the tape in position for just about 10 to 15 seconds in each area. Continue along length of tape until it is completely fused.
- At one end, knot the cord ends together.
- Pull the cords from the opposite ends to gather (shirr) the tape.
- When the panel is gathered to the desired width, knot the cords you used to pull with.
- Adjust gathers evenly across the panel.
- We left the sides of our top hem open in order to allow the shirred panel to slide onto a rod.
- It worked just as well to attach clip rings because the gathers don’t shift. We could have also used pin-on hooks.
Dritz® has a free downloadable tutorial with additional steps and measuring notes for how to use the Iron-On Shirring Tape.
You can find Dritz® Iron-On Shirring Tape at fine in-store and online retailers anywhere, including Amazon.