The importance of fabric folds

If you want your drapery to look great, then how the fabric folds from the heading into the main body of the drapes is important.

This is also affected by the positioning of your drapery pins or hooks.

Two important details

These are rarely mentioned in books or websites, but will make a huge difference to how your drapes hang!

(1) Work the fabric pleats

uneven fabric folds

When you pull up the drapery tape cords and secure them, turn the drape over so the right side is uppermost. What you'll often find is that although the pleats are regular, the resulting fabric folds don't all fall vertically.

So even out the gathers formed by the drawn up tape. The best way to do this is where a pleat is formed, push it from the back so the fold follows naturally down the drape from where it begins in the tape. If you do this all along the heading it will make sure the pleats form correctly as soon as the drape is hung.

folds hang vertically

When a drape has been up for even a few days, it begins to become set in its ways. So take a few minutes to make sure the pleats and folds are forming correctly.

(2) Drapery pins (hooks)

Time and again when I've installed drapes, I've been asked to look at other drapes in the house which "don't work properly". And nine times out of ten the reason is that there are too many hooks in the tape.

For normal drapes which use an average drapery fabric with lining, you shouldn't need more than about 4 hooks per foot. In other words, your hooks should be a minimum of 3" (8cms) apart. For the majority of drapes 4" (10cms) is fine. If you have more, there's more friction when the drapes are moved, and also they won't draw back very well because of the increased number of hooks (you'll increase the stackback space).

When you buy your styling tape (also known as drapery tape or heading tape) read the instructions. Manufacturers usually recommend the fullness you should use and the number of hooks to have.


Pay attention to details when making drapery. This is something which makes all the difference between amateur drapes and professional ones.