How to Make Inverted Box Pleat Draperies

Updated July 20, 2017

Inverted box pleated draperies are elegant and fashionable window treatments. Bought in stores, they can be quite expensive, but if you can sew a straight line, you can make your own. The pleats are inverted by sewing them on the back, or lining side of the drape. Keep the project simple by using drapery clips to attach the panels to the rod.

Cut fabric to the desired length of panel plus 3 inches for hem and seam allowances. Cut lining to desired length of panel plus 1 inch for seam allowance. The lining will be shorter than front fabric. Repeat the procedure for the second panel.

Pin the lining to the drapery fabric, right sides together. Sew together with 1/2 inch seam allowance, leaving a small section on the top open for turning. Turn right side out. Lay lining side up on your work surface. The top and bottom of the panel will have a 1-inch border of front fabric. Press the side seams flat and top and bottom folds flat. Repeat the procedure for the second panel.

Place one panel right side up on your work surface. From the top left corner, measure and mark 6-inch increments across the top of the panel. Working from the left, match the first mark with the second mark, pinning the right sides of the fabric together. From the top of the panel, sew a 12-inch seam straight down from the mark on the lining side of the fabric. Back stitch to secure. Repeat with the next two marks to form a second pleat. Repeat procedure two more times to complete pleats in the panel. Repeat with the second drapery panel.

Move one panel to the ironing board. Open the pleats on the back side of the panel so that the centre of the pleat is even with the seam. Press flat. Repeat with all the pleats and with the second panel. Secure the pleats open on the lining side of the fabric by hand basting into place.

Hang the drapery panels on the curtain rod, using drapery clips evenly spaced on each panel.


Linen works well with the crisp box pleats.


Fabrics that are too sheer or too heavy do not work well with box pleats.

Things You'll Need

  • Drapery fabric, 54 inches wide
  • Lining fabric, 54 inches wide
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Straight pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Iron
  • Pencil
  • Drapery rod
  • Drapery clips
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About the Author

Based in Charlottesville, Va., Melody Henderson has been a contributor and editor of newsletters for various organizations since 1996. She holds degrees in interior design and marketing from Virginia Tech and she is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).