Instructions for how to sew pinch pleat draperies

Written by margaret montet
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Instructions for how to sew pinch pleat draperies
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This traditional drapery treatment is suitable for long draperies when a formal look is desired. The pleats are easy to make but they must be measured carefully. The pinch-pleat draperies can be hung alone or with a valance or swag.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Decorator fabric
  • Lining fabric
  • 4-inch wide fusible buckram
  • Thread
  • Iron
  • Pins
  • Ruler or yardstick

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the width of the drapery rod and multiply by 2 1/2 (for fullness) to see how wide the draperies have to be. (This is the measurement to use for determining the length of buckram to buy.) Add 8 inches (for side hems) to determine the width needed for decorator and lining fabric.

  2. 2

    Measure the length of the draperies from the drapery rod to the desired length. Usually draperies go to the floor or just past the bottom window trim. Add 15 1/2 inches to this measurement.

  3. 3

    If your window is very wide and the width you need is wider than your fabric, you may need to join two pieces. Determine the amount of widths needed by dividing the measurement from Step One by the width of the fabric.

  4. 4

    Multiply the cut length from Step Two by the amount of widths in Step Three. Divide this number by 36 to determine the yardage of decorator fabric and lining fabric needed. Round this number up to the nearest quarter yard.

  1. 1

    Cut the decorator and lining fabric according to measurements in Steps One and Two. Trim 6 inches from one side of lining and 3 inches from the bottom.

  2. 2

    Join widths of fabric if any measurements in Step One are larger than the fabric width.

  3. 3

    Hem the decorator fabric by folding up 4 inches twice. (This is called a double 4-inch hem.) Stitch and press. Hem the lining with a double 3-inch hem.

  4. 4

    Hold the lining and decorator fabric with right sides together and sew side seams. Press seam allowances towards the lining.

  5. 5

    Turn the drapery panel right sides out and press flat with the decorator fabric wrapping around to the lining side on left and right edges. Press.

  1. 1

    Fold down 7 inches from top of drapery panel to the lining side and press. Open out the fold and place a piece of fusible buckram, the same width as the drapery panel, so that its bottom edge meets the fold line. Fuse in place.

  2. 2

    Fold the top 3 inches of fabric down over the buckram, and then fold down on the original fold line. Press. This part is called the header.

  3. 3

    Mark where the pleats will be with pins. The distance between the pleats should be the same as the distance from the edge to the first pleat, about 4 to 6 inches. Measure 7 inches for each pleat. Pins will alternate between the first measurement (4 to 6 inches) and the 7-inch pleat allowance.

  4. 4

    With the lining sides together, meet the first two pins together and put another pin there. Sew from top edge to the bottom of the header. Continue this method with the remaining pleat pins.

  5. 5

    On the right side, form each big pleat into three smaller, equal-sized pleats, and stab-stitch them together at the top and bottom of the header. (A stab stitch is done with a large, strong needle through all thicknesses to tack them together. It can look like a simple dash or an X on either side.)

Tips and warnings

  • In place of the fusible buckram, you can use a pre-made stiff tape with pleats already measured, but you may have to alter the measurements to fit your drapery size.

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