How to make -
Hand Pleated Interlined Curtains
Materials
 Guide
Tools
  •   Sewing Machine
  • - Tape Measure
  • - Needles
  • - Pins
  • - Scissors
  • - Set Square
  • - Straight Edge
  •   Pencil
  • - Vanishing Marker
  • - Clamps
  • Step 2: Calculate the Curtain Dimensions

    FINISHED CURTAIN WIDTH

    For a pair of curtains the Finished Curtain Width for each curtain is half the pole length plus a figure for ease and overlap*.

    We use the following for ease and overlap per curtain on a pair of curtains.

    Pole Length Ease + Overlap per curtain
    120cm7cm
    160cm8cm
    180cm8.5cm
    200cm9cm
    220cm9.5cm
    240cm10cm
    260cm10.5cm
    280cm11cm
    300cm11.5cm
    320cm12cm

    *Note if you are returning your curtain to the wall (continuing the outside flap of the curtain from the pole to the wall) you will also need to add the distance of the curtain pole to the wall to the finished curtain width.

    Curtain NOT returning to the wall
    *Curtain returning to the wall

    FINISHED CURTAIN LENGTH

    To calculate the Finished Curtain Length add the Hook to Top and Hook Drop measurements together: The calculation for the finished curtain length is then.

    CHOOSE YOUR PLEAT DEPTH

    The Pleat Depth
    of the pleats you wish to make will determine the size of the buckram needed. The depth of your pleat is the depth of your buckram.

    This is a design decision limited only by the sizes of buckram you have available to you. Note you can cut buckram down if needed.

    For guidance generally we would make sill length curtains with a 10cm (4") buckram and floor length curtains with a 12.5cm (5") or sometimes 15cm (6") buckram.

    PLEAT SIZES & SPACING

    THE NORMAL PROCESS

    When making a pair of hand pleated curtains we NORMALLY calculate the pleat and gap sizes in STEP 9. This is the process we follow.

    • Decide now how full you want your curtains to be. (see below)
    • Calculate to the nearest half width how many widths/half widths of fabric each curtain needs to be made with in STEP 3.
    • Make up the flat curtain panel (the approriate number of widths/half widths wide) ready to be pleated in STEP 9.
    • At STEP 9 measure the exact width of the made up curtain panel and THEN calculate the pleat sizes and spacing.

    HOW TO CHOOSE THE FULLNESS OF YOUR CURTAINS

    When deciding how full we want our curtains to be we talk in terms of Fullness Ratio. Fullness Ratio is the ratio of the width of the curtain before pleating to its finished width when pleated or gathered. The higher the fullness ratio the more gathered and heavier the curtains will be.

    Recommended Fullness Ratios

    • Double Pleat: 2.2
    • Triple Pleat: 2.5
    • Goblet Pleat: 2.2
    • Cartridge Pleat: 2.0 - 2.2

    In this tutorial demonstration we are making a douple pleated curtain. We recommend a Fullness Ratio of 2.2, in our opinion 2.5 is too much for a double pleat. There is some wriggle room in the fullness ratios if you don't want to go into the next width.

    Questions & Comments

    Nicola Mathews

    Hi

    I have made a pair of interlined triple pleat curtains. My track/pole is 407cms. How much ease and overlap should I allow per curtain?

    Each curtain is 3 widths wide and measuring flat 411cms.

    Thank you

    Nicola Mathews

    SewHelpful:  

    Hi Nicola


    I add on 10% for ease and overlap. With pole being 407, add on 40cm = 447cm. Divide this by 2 = 223.5 cm which is the pleated width per curtain.


    With a pole of 407 cm, 3 widths per curtain is not enough for triple pleat. I suggest you rethink and go for double pleat. For triple pleat you would need (with fabric width of 138cm) 4 widths per curtain. You are still tight on fabric for a double pleat. Always best to estimate fabric amounts before buying and starting to make up.


    Good luck with your project.


    Regards


    Cindy 

    Nicola Mathews

    Hello Cindy

    Thank you for your reply. That's great. These curtains are for a client that I already altered a pair of curtains that I made, because they changed the pole at the last minute without mentioning it until the curtains were made. So, I had to remake, using what I had left, 3 widths per curtain now.

    If I made the heading using triple pleat 12 pleats at 15.5/15.6cms per pleat and 11 spaces at 18.8/18.9cms do you think this would still work?

    Thank you

    Nicola Mathews

    SewHelpful:  

    Hi Nicola


    This is a conversation that you need to have with your customer. If they changed the pole, they may have to compromise on heading style. I would not make any hand pleated curtains with that size pleat - they would look awful.


    Regards


    Cindy

    Heather

    I am planning to make double-pleated curtains for a set of 88cm windows, but am unsure how to proceed. Two windows sit together 38 cm from the corner with an 18 cm gap between them. At right angles to them, the third window sits about 38 cm from the corner. I was planning to treat the 2 side-by-side windows as one, but am having trouble determining a fullness ratio that would look good for both the set of 2 (190 cm total) and the single window (88cm). Since they are a set, what is the best way to arrive at a curtain width that would work for both?

    Tracy

    Does you calculator include ease/overlap and return? Or should I calculate that in my pole length before entering into the calculator?

    Eg my pole length is 478cm (it's a bay window), should I enter that or 478 + 10% + 14cm return = 540

    SewHelpful:  

    Your figures above are good if that is for a 7cm return to the wall at each end.

    The calculator doesn't currently include ease and ovelap. All the curtain instructions on the site are currently being re-written and then a standard 10% ease and overlap figure will be included in the calculator.

    Mia

    Sorry - here are my calculations.

    The fabric width is 137 the pole is 220 length is 220

    If I use 2.2 fullness ratio total width is 3.5

    If I use 2 fullness ratio total width is 3

    2 widths will make them bulky I think but 1.5 widths once the side hems are taken out may make them look too mean, so not sure which option to go for should you always round up or down a half width?

    Thank you, the videos are so professional and helpful.

    SewHelpful:  

    Hi Mia

    my workings 


    220cm plus 10percent ease and overlap = 242cm

    divide by 2 = 121cm flat width each curtain

    121cm x 2.2 = 266.2cm

    divide by 137cm = 1.9


    I would go for 2 widths per curtain, especially as interlined. 1.5 widths definitely not enough. If you are worried about the curtains taking up too much room at the sides you will have to either extend the pole or change your heading.


    Cindy

    Mia

    Can I check I have this right for double pleat curtains sill length or full length using the ratio you say you use is 2.2. My total width = 3.5 so each curtain will have a with of 1 and three quarter widths of fabric?

    SewHelpful:  

    We cant answer that without more detail, eg pole length, fabric width.

    nicola

    Hi, I have a track of length 880cm. How much ease and overlap should I allow per curtain?

    Many thanks.

    Nicola

    SewHelpful:  

    Hi Nicola


    I add on 10% of pole length. That is a long track! You will need to add 88cm - 44 cm to each curtain (if making a pair). It seems like a lot but it’s not really and you do not want to make them too narrow - that’s a lot of unpicking to do!


    Good luck with all that fabric and please send us a photo!


    Cindy 

    Honor Young

    Hi I have a curtain pole width of 250cm I have calculated I need 2 widths per curtain. Just trying to work out the pleat and gap spacing for this? I usually have an overlap of 7cm on each curtain can you help? Thankyou Honor

    Mimi

    Thank you. One further question please. My fabric is 147cm wide but as far as I can see the useable width is only just over 1 metre! Have I got this right?!

    SewHelpful:  

    It looks like your fabric should be a half drop pattern repeat, but the selvedge is missing from the right edge (or the fabric wasn't wide enough for the print). Looking at the image we think you are right and you can only join as a standard pattern repeat, (parrot to parrot) and are going to lose a lot of fabric. In our experience over 99% of fabrics are not like this and are printed to join selvedge to selvedge (we've seen it once before on a cheap, very wide fabric)

    Upload
    Mimi

    Thank you!

    Mimi

    I'm just starting out and wondering if the finished curtain width with ease and overlap is provided for in the fabric calculator? My pole is 250cm, should i put 250 in the calculator as the pole length OR 250 + 10 + 10 as the length so that ease and overlap are allowed for?

    SewHelpful:  

    It's not but will be very shortly as we are rewriting the first steps of the tutorial and the calculator will reflect that. At the moment you will need to add 250+10+10.

    Naomi

    Hello and thanks so much for these video tutorials!

    You say that 2.5 fullness ratio is too much for double pinch pleats. I have measured mine to come out at 2.6 + and that's using 3 widths for the pair because otherwise on a 150cm pole two widths of fabric will be just too skimpy. Can I use the same techniques you showed in your video for cutting down the 3rd width into a half width but cutting as a quarter width instead or is there a better way of doing it?

    SewHelpful:  

    Hi Naomi.

    We are updating the instructions shortly to include information on this.

    When my calculations bring me out mid width, I work out my pleats and spaces in advance and make the panel to my required length. This full method is not on the website but we are adding these in soon. So this is what you will need to do. 



    SewHelpful

    - Take your pole length and add on 10% for ease 220 cm pole add 10%  22 = 242

    - Multiply by chosen fullness ratio 2 x  and divide by fabric width  242 x 2  = 484 unpleated width 

    divide by 137 = 3.5

    - This means that you need under 2 widths per curtain but more than 1.5

    - The total unpleated width is  484cm. With a pair, divide this by 2 to get the single curtain flat panel width. 484 divide by 2 = 242cm

    - Minus half the pole length including ease from this figure 242 - 121 = 121 cm to form pleats 

    - Thus  on each curtain the width to form pleats is 121cm and the finished width of the curtain is 121cm


     - Firstly, calculate spaces. I chose my spaces to be near to 12 cm each 121 cm - 14 cm  (2 returns of 7cm) = 107cm 

    107/12 = 8.9, round up to 9 spaces. 

    107/9 = 11.9cm for each space

     - Calculate pleats , always one more pleat to space. 121 divided by 10  = 12.1 cm

    - Calculate flat width  

    10 x 12.1 cm pleats = 121cm

    9 x 11.9 cm spaces= 107cm

    2 x 7 cm returns = 14cm

    2 x 5 cm side turns = 10cm

    Total flat panel width of 252cm

    Lynn Huntingford

    When doing a return to the wall do the curtains naturally turn back or do you attach a fixing to the wall and add some velcro to the curtain to hold it in place?

    SewHelpful:  

    We tend to add a block of wood covered in lining with hook velcro on the outside edge to the wall towards the top of the curtain. Then sew loop velcro on the inside of the curtain to attach the return to the wall.

    Another method is to use a screw eye or vine eye into the wall or a wooden pole and hook into place.

    Kay

    I notice there is no mention of pencil pleated interlined curtains here - why is this?

    SewHelpful:  

    Because we haven't made the tutorial yet.

    Becca

    Hi, my pole length is 460cm - do I keep going up in 0.5cm increments to every 20cm of pole length to calculate my ease and overlap per curtain?

    SewHelpful:  

    Yes we would do that.

    Jeorgia Ludlow

    Hello

    I am making a interlined and lined curtain using plain linen fabric.

    Unfortunately it will go on a track and I was thinking of using buckram and do a double pleat.

    Someone said to me that if I use a 2.2 fullness ratio my spaces will look bigger once the curtain is stacked back because it’s a track.

    What would you advise?

    The width is 362 and the drop is 135.5 to the window sill and it’s a recessed window.

    I have purchased a few of your videos before and really enjoyed them.

    Many thanks,

    Jeorgia

    SewHelpful:  

    We cover this in the first step measuring the window (there is a video to watch). If you want the track covered when you close the curtains, the spaces will push forward when the curtains are open and stacked back. If the spaces are too large they will stick forward too much.

    We tend to hang our curtains under poles and tracks for this reason. If you  decide to reduce the spaces between the pleats you will need more pleats. This means smaller pleats for a given fullness ratio, or you will need extra fabric (increased fullness ratio) for the extra pleats needed to reduce the space sizes. 

    Im afraid we dont make calculations for people. If you make up a mock header you can vary the pleat and space sizes to see what will look best and work backwards from that.

    Annie

    So if my actual pole is a total of 260cm. Do I then halve it, to 130, and use your guide per curtain i.e approx 7.5 per curtain for ease and overlap.

    SewHelpful:  

    No, if you look at the example calculation. The figure given is the ease and overlap per curtain for a pole length. 

    So each curtain would be 130cm + 10.5cm 

    Don't worry if you have done it the other way it will still work it is just a guide. 

    Fiona

    I am making a small floor length pair of velvet, blackout, double pinch pleat curtains. Is 2:03 fullness ratio enough for a nice pleat depth? This saves me going into an extra width but worried it might not look full enough?

    SewHelpful:  

    We would make them fuller and go into the next width, they would come up too skimpy for us and velvet being thick is difficult to make small pleats with.

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