Choosing the right window treatments

Part two: curtains

Curtain types

The tops of curtains, called curtain headings, are a way of customising and styling blinds and valances so that the fabric forms a range of pleats and/or folds. You can create a great custom feel by experimenting with these different types of curtains.

Box pleated curtain headings give a very tailored look and drape into deep folds down the full length of the curtains. The pleats butt onto each other with no interval between them.

The cased curtain heading is used mainly for nets and lightweight fabrics that are not to be opened and closed frequently. A casing or channel sewn across the top is left open at the ends. A slender curtain rod or plastic covered spring wire slots through the channel and fits onto hooks or into sockets at the side of the window.

The eyelet curtain heading is great for minimalist look. A narrow rod, pole, or wire is threaded through eyelets that are inserted close to the top edge, creating deep folds. This is suitable for light to medium weight fabrics.

Goblet pleated curtain heading pleats make a very elegant heading for longer lengths. Pleats fall from each goblet, which can be stuffed with tissue paper or cotton wool to retain its shape. This heading tape has two sets of cords and is good for medium to heavyweight fabrics.

The less formal tab top curtain heading is created with loops of matching or contrasting fabric that are stitched onto the top edge of the treatment, omitting the need for heading tape. These work on all weights of fabric. This heading is only suitable for poles.

When you are working curtains, be sure to measure your windows and consider how full you want your curtain to be. Double or even triple the width of your fabric to suit your individual taste.

Curtain headings

A curtain heading is the gathering or pleating at the top of the curtain. This is achieved by sewing a heading tape to the top of the fabric.

The tape has cords that are threaded along the tape and when pulled, they draw up the fabric to its specific style. It has pockets, which receive the hooks to attach it to the track.

Depending on the type of tape there are options for positioning the curtain top above, below, or equal to the track via the placement of hooks into the pockets.

The design of the heading tape will determine the style of the pleating/gathering and dictates the fullness of the curtain. Gathering tapes requires 1.5 to two times the track width, pencil or box pleats require 2.5 times the track width to create the correct effect.

Standard tape: This is a narrow heading tape about 2.5cm in width that forms simple gathers. It has one row of hook suspension pockets. It is used where there is a valance or pelmet and the curtain heading will not be visible and for small informal curtains and sheers.

Deep triple pleats: These use four pronged hooks and deep pleating tape. Fabric requirements are 2.25 to 2.5 times the width of the window opening.

Pencil pleat tape: These are the most common form of pleats and heading tape used. The tape forms crisp, even, upright parallel pleats (like a row of pencils ). It requires 2.25 to 2.5 times curtain fullness. It has two rows of suspension pockets and can be used with track or pole fixtures.

Smocked: This tape has two rows of pencil pleating which creates a smocked effect.

Double pleats: Two pleats of fabric tacked at the base of the pleat at regular intervals across the curtain.

French pleat, triple pleat, pinch pleat: Regular spaced triple pleats generally formed by a tape that pulls through the cords to create the pleats. The pleats are pinched close together at the bottom so that they fan out towards the top. They require a specific pleater curtain hook to hold the pleats in place and attach the curtain to the track. They are often sewn at the base of the pleat on the face if the fabric to hold the pleat in place. Fabric requirements are 2.25 to 2.5 times the width of the window opening.

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