How to drape curtains - the importance of fabric folds

If you want your drapery to look great, then learning how to drape curtains is the final  important step.

Professionals don't just push the hooks through the runners, pull the curtains back and say, "OK, job done!" How the fabric runs from the heading into the main body of the drapes is important. Adjustments need to be made as soon as the curtains are hung so they get used to hanging correctly.

Two important details

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

Adjust the fabric just below the pleats

untidy folds

When you've finished making your headings (whether pulled up with drapery tape cords or headed by hand), you'll often find that although the pleats are regular, the resulting fabric folds don't all fall vertically.

So even out the gathers formed just below the headings. The best way to do this is where two hooks come together and the heading comes forward, push from the back of the curtain so the fold follows naturally down the drape from where it begins in the tape. So push the fold forward where the heading comes forward, and push it back where the heading goes back.

If you do this all along the heading it will make sure the pleats form in line with the heading.

even folds

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.

Drapery pins (hooks)

Time and again when I've installed curtains, 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. So here's some tips on how to drape curtains by paying attention to the drapery hooks.

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.

curtains foldsWhether your curtains hang straight, are tied back or allowed to rest on the floor, you'll get the best effect by initially placing the folds.

Summary of how to drape curtains

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

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