Curtain Header Styles

Written by debrataylor
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Curtain Header Styles
Tie-on header style (decoration image by DUDUCHE from

The header is the top portion of a curtain that attaches to a rod, knobs or mounting board. There are several basic styles commonly found in ready made curtains or in sewing patterns. Curtains can be as simple as a square or rectangular piece of cloth fastened to the window moulding or wall, or as intricate as the imagination allows. The curtain headers can be just as plain or fancy.

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Rod Pocket Casing

One of the simplest and most prolific of all curtain styles is the rod pocket header. Fabric is folded over at the top of the panel and sewn to form a pocket which the rod is threaded through. If the fabric panel is wider than the window, the material will form soft gathers as it is pushed onto the rod. For adequate fullness, figure at least twice the width of the window for the number of panels or width of fabric needed. A variation on the rod pocket is to sew two lines of stitching onto the foldover. One line of stitching fastens the foldover to the body of the curtain, and the second line encases the rod. The remainder of the fabric above the rod pocket forms a ruffle as it's threaded through.

Tab Tops

Tab curtains use fabric loops to attach the curtain to the rod. The loops are evenly spaced along the top of the fabric panel and sewn into the top hem. The rod is then threaded through the tabs. Tabs are often made of the same fabric as the body of the curtain. Curtains utilising two or more coordinating fabrics are an exception. Tab curtains are best used with a decorative rod.

Tie-on Header

Tie-on headers are similar to tab tops in that fabric strips support the curtain on the rod. Also called a lingerie header, tie ons are usually thin strips of fabric evenly spaced along the top of the panel---two to a space---and are tied in a bow or a knot over the rod. A variation is to use coordinating ribbon as the ties. This style works well with sheer fabrics.


Pinch pleats vary from the most common triple pleat style to goblet, pencil and double pleat styles. Each adds fullness to the fabric panel in a uniform way. The top of the curtain is then attached to a rod or rings with drapery hooks. Even valances over curtain and drapery panels can have pinch pleats.


Grommets present a newer look for curtain headers. They involve evenly spaced grommets or eyelets across the top hem of the fabric panel. A decorative rod is then threaded through the grommets to gather the curtain on the rod. Grommets are made of metal or plastic and come in a variety of colours making it easy to coordinate the rod hardware.This style has a modern appeal and looks right at home in a trendy, minimalist environment.

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