How to Make a Triple Pinch Pleat Heading

Updated June 13, 2017

A curtain heading is the very top of the curtain. Some type of decoration is usually associated with the header, such as a ruffle or a pinch pleat row. Pinch pleated curtains can be used in formal or semi-formal rooms. The triple pinch pleat adds texture to the fabric while maintaining a professional and tailored style. The curtains may be created from almost any fabric but heavier weight fabrics hold the shape of the pinched pleat better than lightweight cottons. Creating curtains with pinch pleat headers is more economical than purchasing the curtains.

Measure the width of the curtain rod, including the returns, and multiply by 2-1/2. Add 2-1/4 inches for each side seam. The rod return is the angled part of the curtain rod that extends back to the wall.

Cut the fabric to this width. Cut the fabric to the length you want your curtains to be. The header is a continuation of the main part of the curtain. The length of the curtain must be cut before the header is pleated.

Stitch a 1/2-inch top hem on the fabric. Stitch a 3-inch double hem at the bottom. Stitch 1-1/4-inch hems on each side.

Begin at the inside edge of the curtain panel and measure over 2 inches. Place a pin.

Measure the rod return. Begin at the outside edge of the curtain panel and measure the rod return distance. Place a pin.

Mark a centre pleat by adding two pins between the first pins. Add pins until the header area is covered.

Hold a pair of pins up and allow them to touch. Mark a stitch line with chalk on the right side of the fabric, at the location of the touching pins. This is your stitch line.

Stitch straight down the chalk line a distance of 4 inches. Lock the stitch at the start and the end of the stitch line. This creates one large pleat.

Make the triple pleat by dividing the large pleat into three smaller pleats with your fingers. Hold the edge of the fold between your thumb and forefinger. Push the fabric back toward the stitched line. This creates three pleats centred on the stitch line. All should be of equal depths.

Stitch a horizontal line across the bottom edge of the pleat.


Keeping your folds and stitch lines straight will make better looking pleats.


If your fabric is heavy, use only heavy-duty rods and hooks.

Things You'll Need

  • Curtain rod
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric
  • Pins
  • Chalk
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
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About the Author

Jennifer Terry is program director for TriCounty Agency for Intellectual Disabilities. As a University of Alabama graduate, she holds a Masters in rehabilitation counseling and a Bachelor in psychology with an emphasis in child development. She also earned an Associate in business management and second Associate in computer information systems from Bevill State Community College. She holds a grant writing certificate from North Georgia College and State University.