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How to Sew Box-Pleated Window Curtains

Updated June 13, 2017

Box-pleated curtains provide an elegant look to your living area's window treatments. They can be created from almost any drapery fabric. Box pleats are commonly used in rooms with a geometrical decor pattern chosen for the furniture arrangements and displays. Curtains with box pleats are easy to make in just a few hours, do not require pleater tape and add more drama than flat curtains.

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  1. Calculate the length of the curtain panel by determining the desired length and adding 6 1/2 inches to the measurement. Calculate the width of the curtain panel by measuring the rod. Add measurements of the return and add 1 1/4 inches for each side seam.

  2. Cut the fabric to size and sew the hems all the way round. Use a 3-inch double hem on the bottom, 1/2-inch hem on the top and 2 1/4-inch hems on the side.

  3. Measure 2 inches from the inside edge of the panel. Place a pin. Start measuring at the placed pin and measure the width of the pleat. Place another pin. This is the first pleat area.

  4. Go to the opposite edge of the curtain. Measure the depth of the return. This is the fabric that will cover the rod that goes from the wall out to the corner of the rod. Place a pin. Start measuring at this placed pin and measure the width of the pleat. Place a pin.

  5. Go to the middle of the panel. Center a pleat area on the panel by placing two pins the width of the pleat. Continue adding pleats.

  6. Lift the two pins that belong with each pleat. Touch them together with the wrong sides of the fabric touching. Mark the line with the chalk where the pins touch as your sewing line. Ensure the centre fold of the pleat is straight.

  7. On the right side of the fabric, sew down the chalk line for a distance of about 4 inches. Be sure to keep your sewing line straight. The centre fold of the pleat should now be flat and against the seam of the pleat. Folds should be an equal distance from the centre line.

  8. Press the pleat flat against the curtain. Tack the top and bottom edges with small stitches. Go through the edge of the pleat and through to the main curtain fabric.

  9. Tip

    There are no rules as to the spacing of box pleats, however, box pleats are usually approximately 4 inches wide and 4 inches apart. Use coordinating thread on your pleat line.


    Be certain to use sturdy rods to accommodate for the heavy weight of the extra material required for pleats.

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Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Rods
  • Pins
  • Chalk
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread

About the Author

Jennifer Terry is program director for TriCounty Agency for Intellectual Disabilities. As a University of Alabama graduate, she holds a Masters in rehabilitation counseling and a Bachelor in psychology with an emphasis in child development. She also earned an Associate in business management and second Associate in computer information systems from Bevill State Community College. She holds a grant writing certificate from North Georgia College and State University.

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