Pinch Pleat Vs. Ripplefold Drapery

Pinch pleat and ripplefold draperies are two common types of draperies used in a variety of applications. Although both create flowing designs, they are constructed with different methods and work well in different situations. Pinch pleat drapes are more formal, and delicate care is required when washing them. Ripplefold draperies, however, are less formal, and care depends on the fabric selected.


Pinch pleat draperies are made by gathering two to six folds of fabric at the top of the curtain. The pleats are then sewn at the base and the rest of the curtain flows beneath. Pleats are uniform in size and spacing and create a tailored and formal look. Fabric tape is typically used inside the pleat to add stiffness and create a fan-like appearance at the top. The drapes are hemmed on all sides and may have weights at the bottom. Ripplefold drapes are sewn flat and hemmed on all sides. Snap tape, fabric that has snaps sewn onto it every few inches, is then sewn onto the heading. Ripple size is determined by spacing of the snaps and how open or closed the curtain is pulled on the traverse rod.


Both types of drapes are hung on traverse rods that are mounted to a wall. A traverse rod is a rod that has a mounting mechanism in it that allows the drapes to slide across the rod. The rod is typically round and made from wood or metal. Metal hooks are sewn into the back of the pleats on pinch pleat drapes. The hooks are then hung on the mounting mechanism on a traverse curtain rod. Ripplefold drapes are attached by snapping the curtain to carriers on the traverse rod.


Both types of drapes can use three methods to open and close. They can be opened by a cord, baton or rod, or by hand. The cord uses a pulley system to open and close drapes while a rod is mounted at one end, and the user pulls the drapes one way or the other. Opening mechanisms are not required, and the drapes can be opened by hand.


Pinch pleat drapes work well with heavier, formal fabrics because of the nature of the design and the need to help conceal the hooks used to hang them on. These fabrics ensure a stiff pleat where a lightweight fabric would not. Traditional floral or striped patterns work well with this style. A variety of fabrics work well with ripplefold drapes. Lightweight and heavyweight fabrics work equally as well. Ripplefold drapes complement many design styles because of the casualness of the drapes.


Pinch pleat drapes are dry clean-only because of the fabric and hook system. Care for ripplefold drapes depends on the fabric used. Check the label for manufacturer's instructions.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Sunshine Menefee began writing in 2008, drawing on her experience as an interior designer specializing in kitchens and baths. She contributes to various online publications, covering design and construction topics. Menefee has a Bachelor of Science in interior design from Pittsburg State University.