How to make -
Hand Pleated Interlined Curtains
  • - Fabric
  • - Lining
  • - Interlining
  • - Thread
  • - Buckram
  • - Weights
  • - Curtain Hooks
  • Tools
  • - Sewing Machine
  • - Needles
  • - Pins
  • - Clamps
  • - Scissors
  • - Set Square
  • - Straight Edge
  • - Invisible Marker
  • Watch the videos for full step by step tution of the instructions and expert tips from the workshop

    Video User Comments

    I love your videos they have given me the confidence to make my own curtains and blinds....Julie

    Your videos are so good, thank you…..Alex

    Once again, I should say that I think the video tutorials are extremely well done. Although I've been sewing for years I've learnt lots of techniques that are new to me and that give a much more professional finish........Heather

    Thank you for such brilliant tutorials and videos....... ....Barbara

    I have absolutely loved your videos for curtain making, I have learnt so much from you….Charlotte

    Step 9: Form the Pleats
    Printable Worksheet
    Printable Worksheet


    Measure the width of your unpleated curtain panel.(PAN)

    To do this we already know:

    • The finished width of the curtain (FW)

    Now Choose:

    • The width of your RETURN* - we recommend 8cm. (R)
    • The width of your LEADING EDGE - we recommend 8cm.(LE)

    *Note if you are returning to the wall make this the distance from the pole to the wall plus 1cm.



    To calculate the width of fabric available to form pleats simply subtract the Finished Curtain Width (STEP 2) from the width of the panel to be pleated.

    • WFP = PAN - FW


    You now know how much fabric you have to form pleats (WFP). Next you need to decide how many pleats you want your curtain to have (NP).


    As a guide if you have been working with our recommended fullness ratios, we would usually look to use the following number of pleats per width.

    • Double Pleat 5-6 pleats
    • Triple Pleat 4 pleats
    • Cartridge Pleat 6 pleats
    • Goblet Pleat 4-5 pleats

    For example if you are using 6 pleats for every fabric width used to make the curtain panel and you have used 2 widths of fabric to make your panel we would recommend 12 pleats, if you have used 1.5 widths we would recommend 9 pleats etc.



    To calculate your pleat size divide the fabric available for pleats by the number of pleats.

    • PS = WFP ÷ NP


    You will always have one space less than the number of pleats. For example 12 pleats - 11 spaces, 10 pleats-9 spaces. To find the size of the space between pleats

    • Subtract the size of the RETURN and LEADING EDGE from the finished curtain width
    • Divide the result by (the number of pleats minus 1)
    • SS = (FW - LE - R) ÷ (NP-1)

    You should now know

    • The width of the fabric panel to be pleated
    • The number of pleats per curtain.
    • The size of each pleat
    • The space between each pleat
    • The size of the RETURN
    • The size of the LEADING EDGE


    If you are new to curtain making, fold a sample pleat with some buckramc the size of the pleat you have calculated (see STEP 9b - How to fold the Pleat). If you are not happy with size of pleat and the space sizes start the calculation again using a smaller number of pleats for a larger pleat, or a higher number of pleats to make your pleats smaller.


    • Lay the curtain down, right side facing up.
    • Mark along the top of the curtain where each pleat will start and stop with a pin
    • Check the size of your RETURN, LEADING EDGE and the spaces between the pleats add up to the finished width of the curtain.
    • With a vanishing marker draw a vertical line down from each pin to the bottom of the buckram to mark the edge of each pleat.
    • Remove the pins
    • Pinch the back of each pleat together so the lines match up.
    • Machine stitch down the line to the bottom of the buckram (to hold the back of each pleat together).
    • Once you have sewn in all the pleats check the width of the heading is now the finished width of the curtain.
    This video shows you
    • How to mark out your pleats
    • How to deal with small errors
    • How to sew in your pleats
    • Where to start your stitching (important)
    • How we sew the pleat in without marking vertical lines

    Your Questions & Comments


    Hi, loving your incredibly helpful tutorial.

    I'm making quite heavy interlined curtains for a draughty bay window. Because of the sheer weight of the total fabric, the price and the work involved, i've gone for quite a low fullness ratio - it'll be 1.6 or 1.7 ish. I'm wondering what kind of pleat would be best under these circumstances. Or would it be best to use heading tape? Have you got any advice? Thanks!


    With a Tab top or eyelet heading you can get away with a less fullness, but this wont work in a bay.

    Pencil pleat (heading tape) does not look good if the fullness ratio is less than 2.2.

    Hand pleated -the pleats will be small and the gaps large with that fullness ratio. Interlined curtains due to their bulk do not make up well with small dainty pleats.

    We would not make up with those fullness ratios. We think  you need more fabric. When cost is an issue we always recommend going for a cheaper fabric but making up well. We never skimp on the fullness of fabric. 


    Thank you so much for your great tutorials. Are you using a walking foot when you sew the pleats?


    Yes I am in the videos, you don't have to use one, but it does help with slippage between the layers.


    Should the return and the leading edge always be the same amount?

    My pole length is 360cm do you still recommend 8 cm for this length of pole?

    Thank you


    That’s how we do it , you can vary it but the longer you make them the flappier they get.

    (obviously if you are returning your curtain to the wall the return may be different)


    Please can you clarify..does my first pleat start at 8cm (LE) in from the edge of the curtain panel or at my calculated space size (14.4cm)? Thank you


    Yes the there will be the LE then a pleat, gap, pleat, gap, pleat etc to the last pleat, then the RETURN.

    When you are making a pair make sure you get your LE and RETURN  on the correct side of each curtain if the are not the same figure.

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