How to Pinch Pleat Curtains

Written by adam raphael
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How to Pinch Pleat Curtains
Pinch pleating is a drapery treatment which can be incorporated in any type of room decor. (pleats image by Adrian Hillman from

Pinch pleat curtains always look stylish and organised. Making pleats by hand is complicated ad time consuming, so an easy way to get the sleek, pinched look is to use a sewing item call pleating tape. This is a material band that has two lengths of cord running along it. The tape is sewn to the material and cords are pulled causing the material to which it is attached to pleat effortlessly. You will need to know how use a sewing machine however the actual construction of these curtains is very simple.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Pleating tape
  • Material
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Straight pins
  • Curtain rod

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  1. 1

    Write down on a paper with a pencil the height and width of how big you want the curtains to be.

  2. 2

    Add 14 inches to the length measurement. This is to accommodate the seam allowance for the top and bottom of the curtains.

  3. 3

    Multiply the width by the fullness indicated on the pleating tape. For example, with 36-inch curtains and pleating tape with a fullness of 2 ½ to 1 you would end up with a width of 90 inches.

  4. 4

    Add 4 inches to the multiplied width for the side seam allowance. If the curtains will open in the centre add 8 inches after multiplying the width.

  5. 5

    Cut out a sheet of material according to your calculations with scissors. If you are making the curtains into 2 panels, cut down the centre of the material.

  6. 6

    Iron down the edges of the material to form hems as you fold them.

  7. 7

    Fold over each vertical side of the material by 1 inch. Make one more fold of 1 inch. These are called double hems.

  8. 8

    Make the bottom hem a double hem of 6 inches by folding the material over by 3 inches and again by 3 inches.

  9. 9

    Form the top hem in the same double hem manner but with two folds of 4 inches this time.

  10. 10

    Sew a straight stitch along each of the side of the material to fix the hems in place.

  11. 11

    Pin the pleat tape along the top edge of the curtains with straight pins, with the hanging hooks facing upward.

  12. 12

    Sew the tape in place, carefully avoiding stitching over the cords of the tape.

  13. 13

    Gently pull the cords of the tape until the entire curtain is pleated.

  14. 14

    Knot the cords, hide the hanging ends and hang the curtains from a curtain rod.

Tips and warnings

  • You can either cut the cords or just wrap them up so the curtains can be unpleated for washing purposes.
  • Sew carefully along the pleat tape or you may damage the cords and prevent them from pleating properly.

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