How to make - (Double Pleat)
Pinch Pleat Lined Curtains
  •   Sewing Machine
  • - Tape Measure
  • - Needles
  • - Pins
  • - Scissors
  • - Set Square
  • - Straight Edge
  •   Pencil
  • - Vanishing Marker
  • - Clamps
  • Step 2: Calculate the Curtain Dimensions


    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

    *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


    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.


    The Pleat Depth
    of the double pleats you wish to make will determine the size of the buckram needed and have a small affect on the amount of fabric and lining you require (as calculated in step 3 and step 4). 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.



    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 (with 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.


    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.

    We recommend a Fullness Ratio of 1.9 to 2.2 for a double pleated curtain. In our opinion 2.5 may be too much for a double pleat. The curtains will work with a fullness ratio of 1.9 which will save you fabric, however this will not give you an overly full look but can be really effective if you are looking for a light, delicate window treatment. Consequently double pleat is a great one to go for if you do not want to go into the next width of fabric and it can also look really good with very small pleats such as 6 – 8cm.

    The curtains made in the videos of this tutorial have a 1.9 fullness ratio.

    Questions & Comments


    Hi, thanks for your reply to my previous comments. I think I'm actually finding this harder to work out because I am using extra-wide fabric with the width as my drop. This means I don't need to work out how many widths, but instead can use an exact measurement.


    You are quite right, you need to work out an exact figure for the cut width. You need to decide on pleat/space measurements now. For a 360cm pole with a pair of curtains, you need to divide by 2, add ease (I use 10%) and then add on returns to wall to get your pleated width.

    For example 180cm + 18cm (ease) = 198cm, then add on the return to wall. This will be the overall width that you need to calculate your pleats and spaces for, remembering the "return" figure is your "return to wall figure plus 1cm"  not the recommended 8cm .  We are in the middle of rewriting the tutorial with much of this information but it will not be ready for about a month.  Cindy


    My pole length is 360cm and I'm working on a 2.0 fullness ratio. Do I add the ease and return to wall allowance on for each curtain before or after multiplying the finished width by the fullness ratio - e.g. should it be: 180cm x 2 + ease or should it be: 180cm + ease x 2?


    If you are returning to wall you need to add that to pole length. We will add that info to the instructions.  You need to multiply (360 + returns) x fullness ratio. If you round up the number of widths the fullness ratio will be higher than 2 and ease and overlap should not be a problem (we usually round up). If you round down your fullness ratio will be less than 2 and you then may start to become tight on fabric. 

    This is a basic method for making to the nearest half width, we will shortly be adding more information to the instructions a more advanced method where you make to an exact fullness ratio cutting the fabric panel to a calculated width taking into account, ease/overlap, pleat sizes, spaces and returns.


    I have a curtain rail 280cms wide and fabric 146cms with 142.5cms of usable width. Should I go for 2 widths in each curtain or 2.5? I am doing triple pleats and I do not require a return at each end.


    You are between 2 and 2.5 widths per curtain for triple pleat. 2 widths would work well for double pleat but if you want triple pleat you are going to have to go into the next width. However, 2.5 widths is too much so you are going to have to work out your pleat/ space ratio first (add in ease, overlap and your 5 cm side turns) then join the 2.5 widths and cut down to your required width. 

    If you are interlining, pleats should be approx 17 - 18cm. If simply lined, 15 cm pleats would be sufficient. Spaces of 10 - 15 cm. You should have 4 pleats per width. I tend to join my widths, lay it out and then mark across the top with pins my pleats and spaces (again, don’t forget the 5 cm side turns) and see how they fall and adjust as necessary.Hope that helps. Cindy 

    Sue Simpson

    If you are making a single curtain what would you add for ease (obviously there is no overlap required)?


    I normally add 10% of full pole length.


    Elizabeth Jubb

    Hi. I am making pinch pleat sill length curtains and you describe the finished curtain length as hook to top and hook to drop. My finished curtain length will be 54" so can I just use that measurement?


    The "finished curtain length" is the length of the fabric curtain panel you are making. When measuring from the pole you measure from the eyelet you attach the hook to. You need to measure down to where the curtain finishes (hook drop) and up to where the top of the curtain will be (hook to top). The pin hook to attach the curtain to the pole will not be right at the top of the curtain, it slightly down from the top of the curtain. Hence the "finished curtain length" is the distance from the hook to the bottom of the curtain (hook drop) and the distance from the hook to the top of the curtain (hook to top). You don't say what you measured to get 54".

    Melanie Austin

    Hi. Im very nervous about getting the fullness ratio wrong. My pole is 360cm and im making a 2 pleat header. Would 6 widths in total be adequate or should i go for 7. Thank you.



    That is a very good question as your pole length is right on the cusp of 3/3.5 widths per curtain. Looking at the length of you pole and the correct fullness ratio of 2.2 (including ease) you should go into your next width. Having said that, you would need to cut this half panel down as you wouldn’t need all of it. This is a more advanced method of making curtains as it requires you to work out pleat and space ratio in advance (add in ease, overlap, returns and side folds) and cut the panel down to the correct size before hemming and laying on the lining. The wastage from this can always be used for cuhions etc and a good idea not to cut the extra width in half first as you may render the wastage useless. Best to cut down all you need from each selvedge edge and leave a chunk free from the middle. However, if you feel this is a bit much or that the fabric is very expensive and you don’t want the extra cost, then you could make up with 3 widths. This would give you pleats of approx 10cm and spaces of approx 12.5 cm. If the fabric is cotton or linen (not a bulky weave) you could get away with this. In my professional opinion, I always say “don’t skimp on fabric amounts" - the curtains will be there for a long time. If it was me, I’d go for next width. If in doubt, you could always make up a mini trial header in lining to see if the 3 widths fullness will be suitable.


    Hi I want to make double pleat full drops with a heavy linen fabric with embroidery. The windows are small and my preference is to not line to keep the fabric sheer. Will this still make the linen fabric “hang” beautifully? I have always been told to line curtains!


    There is no reason they shouldn't hang well, we would use weighted lead tape in the hem.


    Hello, Each of the curtains is 193 cms across the hem hem

    Thr pole size is 260 cms ie 130 in each side of the middle

    How do I calculate the type of heading I need? I have never done this before.



    The type heading is a personal design decision. If you are new to curtain making we would recommend starting with pencil pleat curtains, but you will need 2.5 fullness  ratio for the best finished look. 



    The calculator has rounded down the fullness ration to 1.8.

    This will save me 1.5 metres of fabric. These curtains are for a guest bedroom. Do you think I’d get away with it? If push came to shove I guess I could increase the ratio slightly by not having 2x 7.5cm returns.


    I presume you are making double pleats, 1.8 would be too skimpy for us.


    Hi - Can you tell me where side hems and seams are covered in these measurements? Thank you


    This STEP is calculating the curtain dimensions. The next STEPs, STEP3 and 4 is where we calculate the fabric and lining quantities. It is there that we look at the hem and seam allowances.


    My curtain return to the wall has to be 10cm and the curtain will then make a right-angle turn to follow the curtain pole. Should I put the first triple pleat to coincide with this turn or have the first pleat within the return. I imagine it should be at the corner but I'm asking in case you feel it would result in the curtain splaying out too much. Thanks


    As you will see in the image above we do not put a pleat on the return to the wall.


    Hello - thank you for the tutorial, it is very helpful. Is there a rule to calculate how wide a double pleat curtain would be when pushed back? I'd like to use that to work out how wide my curtain pole should be. Thank you


    A double width, lined double pleat curtain will have a  stack back of appox 25 to 30cm. There will be variation due to fabric weight etc.


    Hi - I want to make a triple pleat curtain, but I need it to hang 4cm above the pole as the glass on my window goes to the ceiling and heading tape would be seen. It is a dress curtain so wouldn't be opened and closed. Would a triple pleat curtain work.


    Yes it would work, you will need to get the gap sizes the right proportion as they will stick out forwards between the pleats as they will hit the pole behind.


    When you add on a return to the curtain for it to meet the wall how does it stay in place and not flap out to the side. Or how does it stay at a 90 degree angle?


    With a return back to the wall, to hold it 90 degrees to the wall we usually

       1.   Hold it in place with a small wooden block attached to the wall with a hook velcro edge and sew soft loop velcro to the back of the heading near the edge. Then press the 2 together.

       2.   Fix a screw eye to the wall an put a pin hook near the end of the return and hook the return to the wall.


    I am making curtains for two windows in the same room. One is sill length and one is floor length. What pleat depth would you recommend? Would you use the same depth for both? Thank you


    We would use the same size for both, 5 inch buckram in this case.

    Also for a single pair we position a pattern at the bottom of the curtain, but with 2 pairs of different length curtains in a room we would match the vertical pattern position on the headings (Top) of each pair.


    How many pleats are recommended per metre for triple pleated curtains?


    Generally we look to use 5 to 6 double pleats per width depending on what size pleat we want. For triple pleats we usually use 4 per width as a starting point when deciding.


    What thread do you use when hand sewing and when machine sewing the pleats. I have found the video very useful but didn't see this information.

    Secondly if doing a return to the wall do you miss out the last hook on the return which you place one cm from the end?


    We use varous threads, Gutermann, Coats Duet, 100% cotton, 100% Polyester. For us the important factor is the colour match.

    With regards to returns, quite often we fix a wooden block to the wall and attach the return to the wall to hold it in place at the right position, either with velcro (loop sewn on inside of curtain, hook on block) or hook through an eyelet.


    I have a centre bracket in my pole. Should I increase the overlap provision?


    No, you should ok unless it is a really chunky bracket and you might want an extra cm on the leading edge in that case.


    I am about to calculate my double pinch pleats. I allowed for a return to the wall, which is 5cm. I am using track with finials. Am I right in presuming that the end pleat is hung on the last fixed hook at the end of the track, just before the finial, and the return free from there on? Does it need any special treatment to fold back to the wall.?


    You need something to hold it on the wall. We would usually cover a piece of wooden batten with lining, attach that vertically to the wall, attach velcro hook down the side of the batten that the curtain will touch onto, Then sew loop velcro on the inside of the curtain so we can hold the curtain in place to the wall.


    I'm confused about the ease + overlap.

    Is this the amount by which the two curtains overlap when they are drawn? So is this the amount I should leave on each center of the curtain.

    Should I use 12cm return to the wall for all widths of the rod?


    The curtains will not pull out exactly to their flat width so a figure is required for some ease. They will also need to overlap in the middle slightly to seal out the light. If you don't put in this allowance they will not even meet in the middle because they will spring back slightly.

    You add in  this ease and overlap figure to calculate your finished curtain width. 

    The return to the wall is the distance from the pole to the wall (nothing to do with ease and overlap and the width of the pole)

    Sharron Boog-Scott

    My curtain track is 446 cm. Making a pair of double pleat curtains. How much ease and overlap should I allow? Your guidance only relates to tracks up to 320 cm long


    10%  22cm per curtain.

    Christine Hengen

    I have purchased shears for my living room window and will be mounting them on a simple pole rod. The width of the window is 20" or 51cm. For a soft flowing pleat, how wide should the width of my shear fabric be to accomplish this look?


    We would look to use a fullness ratio of  2.2- 2.5

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