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How to make easy pinch-pleat curtains

Updated December 21, 2016

Pinch-pleat curtains add a touch of elegance to any room. While most curtains are easy to make, making pinch pleats used to be a task left to professionals. Today, pleat heading tape makes the process much simpler because you no longer have to measure and fold each pleat. If you can sew straight lines, you can create pinch-pleat curtains for your home in a very short time.

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  1. Determine how long and how wide you need to make your curtains. Allow at least twice the width needed to cover the window for the pleats, plus the amount needed for both side hems. Measure the length needed and add enough fabric for both the top and bottom hems. If you need to sew two pieces of fabric together to get the width, allow for that seam as well.

  2. Place the fabric on an ironing board. Measure the width of the side hems. Turn under the raw edge of the fabric. Press with an iron and pin the hems in place. Sew the side hems on the sewing machine.

  3. Repeat the process for the top and bottom hems. Sew the bottom hem but only press and pin the top hem.

  4. Cut a length of pleat heading tape the width of the curtain material plus ½ inch. Lay the tape across the top of the back side of the curtain. Pin it in place. Tuck the ends of the tape in ¼ inch on both ends to cover the raw edges. Sew across the top and bottom of the tape with the sewing machine. Sew both rows of stitching in the same direction to avoid puckering the tape.

  5. Leave two pockets free at the inside edge of the curtain. Insert the first finger of a curtain hook into the third pocket. Insert the second, third and fourth fingers into the following pockets, with one finger in each pocket. Leave the next two pockets free and repeat the process of inserting one finger of each hook in the following pockets. There should be a gap of two pockets between each curtain hook. If necessary, remove hooks and adjust the spacing to get the look you want.

  6. Turn the curtain over with the wrong side down. For the first triple pleat, hold the curtain hook firmly in place with your hand behind the material so that the hook sits as deeply as possible in the pocket. Grasp the base of one pleat and pinch the fabric together. Stitch the three small pleats together with a single firm stitch back and forth through the same place in the fabric. Repeat for all of the pleats. Do not sew the tops of the pleats.

  7. Hang the curtains in the window. Fluff the pleats if necessary.

  8. Tip

    The above directions are for one panel. Repeat the process for the second panel of the set. If you see you are going to have excess fabric as you place the curtain hooks, allow for the excess fabric on the outer edge of the curtain. This enables the curtain to hang flush against the wall.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Curtain fabric
  • Ironing board
  • Iron
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Pleat heading tape
  • Four-prong drapery hooks
  • Needle

About the Author

Denise Brown is an education professional who wanted to try something different. Two years and more than 500 articles later, she's enjoying her freelance writing experience for online resources such as Work.com and other online information sites. Brown holds a master's degree in history education from Truman State University.

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