How to make curtain folds

Written by tanya lee
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How to make curtain folds
Pleats are used to make curtains fuller and to give them a decorative header. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Curtain folds are called pleats. They are regular folds in the curtain panel that add fullness and a decorative header to the curtain. One way to make curtain folds is to use pleater tape. Pleater tape comes in different forms, depending on what kind of pleat you want to make. Options include French or pinch pleats, box and inverted box pleats, pencil pleats and goblet pleats.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Fabric or ready-made curtain panels
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Pleater tape
  • Drapery hooks

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    Calculating Sizes for Curtain Panels

  1. 1

    Determine what kind of pleats you want and measure the width of the window. Consult the box of pleater tape for the specific pleat you will make to find out how wide the curtain panels need to be in order to end up with a pleated curtain of the width you need. Remember each window will have two curtain panels, one on each side of the window that will draw together to cover the entire window.

  2. 2

    Measure the distance from the top of the curtain rod to the floor to find the length of the curtain panel you need.

  3. 3

    Make pleated curtains using ready-made curtain panels. If necessary, sew two curtain panels together to get panels wide enough to make the pleated curtains. To sew two ready-made curtain panels together, place two curtain panels together with the right sides -- the sides you will see when the curtain is finished -- facing each other. Pin along one long side using straight pins. The straight pins should be placed perpendicular to the edge of the fabric, 3 inches apart. Use a sewing machine to sew the two panels together. Flatten out the seam and press.

  4. 4

    Trim the double-size curtain panel if it is too wide for the size you need. Trim one side with scissors. Fold the cut edge over twice to the back to make a 1-inch double hem. Press and pin. Sew the hem by hand with a needle and thread or with the sewing machine.

    Sewing the Pleater Tape to the Curtain Panels

  1. 1

    Lay out one curtain panel on your work surface. Pin a strip of pleater tape across the top of the curtain panel on the wrong side -- the side that will not show when the curtains are done -- about 1/4-inch down from the top edge of the curtain panel. Make sure the open ends of the pockets in the pleater tape are facing toward the bottom of the panel. Use straight pins placed 2 inches apart perpendicular to the top edge of the panel.

  2. 2

    Sew the top edge of the pleater tape to the top edge of the curtain panel using a sewing machine.

  3. 3

    Pin and sew the bottom edge of the pleater tape to the top of the curtain panel in the same way. Do not sew over the open ends of the pockets or over the strings you will use to gather the pleats.

    Making the Pleats

  1. 1

    Create the pleats by starting 2 inches in from the edge of the curtain panel. Gather the pleater tape together using the gathering strings to form a group of insertion pockets or for the type of pleat you are making -- for example, two pockets for a single pleat or four for a triple pleat. Tack the pleat together on the wrong side of the curtain panel.

  2. 2

    Count the number of pockets that corresponds to the amount of space you will leave between the pleats. Create the second pleat the same way you did the first. Continue to the end of the curtain panel.

  3. 3

    Insert one prong of the drapery hook for each pleat into the pockets for the pleat. Pleat the second panel for the curtain panel the same way.

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