Drapery pleat styles you can use

How important are drapery pleat styles?

When the whole curtain is visible then the heading has two important functions.

  1. The style you use has a great effect on the overall look of your drapes.
  2. The physical characteristics of the heading can determine how well - or not! - the fabric hangs from the heading.

Then there are different styles, and which style you select can make a big difference to how you dress your windows.

Remember: Headings not only have to look good, they also play an important role in how your drapes hang.

Common drapery pleat styles

heading stylesSome of the heading styles you can use

How you head up your drapes or curtains will have an immediate effect on your style. But only on one condition:

Your curtain headings have to be visible - if you're using some form of top treatment it won't matter what heading you use!

So here's your first decision made. If you use a top treatment which hides the headings of your curtains, you might as well make your headings as simple as possible. A standard heading, using either a draw-up heading tape or sewing a standard heading by hand is all you need.

But if the top of the curtains will be seen because they are hung from a track or rod, then you have a number of options.

Many professional workrooms have their own preferred heading style. They will also be able to work with the main alternatives which are shown in the illustration.

You can buy styling tapes for all these headings, which you machine onto the tops of your curtains. You then pull up the cords and voila! These work very well. But for some of these styles you can get an improved effect by hand-sewing them.

And hand making some of these styles gives a much better finish than trying to use some of the manufactured - and expensive - tapes. I'll be covering this in a future page.

There are also various form of slotted heading which fit over a rod or pole.

Buy or make your drapery pleat styles?

Three types of manufactured heading tape

You can buy many different heading tapes.

  • The top one on the right is a pencil pleat tape.
  • The centre one is a narrower tape used for heading which are hidden by top treatments.
  • The bottom tape is used for grommet or eyelet headings.

But when you come to making styles such as bottle or shirred headings, you can get a better finish by making these yourself using a stiffening such as buckram.


If you're starting out you may find it easier to but ready-made heading tape for your drapery pleat styles. Then when you get more confident try making your own. I'll show you how in the Making section of the website.

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