How to make - (Double Pleat)
Pinch Pleat Lined Curtains
Step 9b: Form Pinch (Double) Pleats

FORM THE PINCH PLEATS

  • Lay the curtain down, right side facing up.
  • Hold the pleat flap up.
  • Push the centre of the pleat flap down so it touches the sewn in line at the back, causing the sides of the pleat to spread outwards.
  • Bring the two sides up together to meet.
  • Pinch the bottom of the pleat (at the bottom of the buckram)
  • Sew the pinch in place, under the buckram.
  • At the top of the pleat sew the pushed down centre to the back of the pleat.
  • Repeat for each pleat.
This video shows you
  • How to fold a pinch (double) pleat
  • How to pinch and stitch the bottom of the pleat
  • How to stitch the top of the pleat
  • How to start and finish your stitches

Questions & Comments

Kate

Hi, When working out the width of fabric available for the pleats, if I am wanting the curtains to return to the wall, do I add together the return , an additional measurement for the return to wall and the width of the leading edge (3 measurements)

Thank you

SewHelpful:  


RETURNING TO THE WALL

You calculated the finished curtain width in STEP 2 (for a pair each curtain if returning to the wall this is half pole length plus distance from pole to wall plus figure for ease and overlap - approx 10% extra) that is your FW.

The width of fabric available for pleats is the width of the flat panel you have made (PAN) - FW.

When calculating the pleat spacing the RETURN (R) size will be Distance from centre of pole to wall plus 1cm , not the recommended 8cm because you are returning it to the wall so it will probably be longer.

Kate

Thank you , I think I've made a mistake somewhere...

I have done the pleats and spaces and sewn down the buckram and I am just double checking my measurements - my width of curtains (with the pleats sewn in) is 93 cm but the FW is 100.5 (84 + 8.5 + 8 cm)

The width of the made up curtain is 193 cm so the WFP is 193 - 100.5 = 92.5

I have done 9 pleats of 10.3 cm and 8 spaces of 10.5 cm

Is there something I have missed?

Thank you

SewHelpful:  

I cant see the error in those figures. On the curtain panel when you measure do you have one end 8.5cm (RETURN), then 8 spaces of 10.5cm then 8cm (LEADING EDGE). Then if you measure the panel width with the pleats sewn in it should be the 100.5cm width you are looking for not 93cm. (have you got 9 sewn in pleats?)

If you put your figures in the pleat calculator PLEAT CALCULATOR they come up the same as well.

Rachel

Thanks Cindy- great videos as ever...can I just double check my measurements:

FW 159.5

PAN 326

so I've calculated 15 pleats - pleat size works out at 11.1 and SS 10.25

does that sounds correct? Thanks as ever

SewHelpful:  

That looks perfect. Good luck and don’t forget to send us a pic of your finished curtains.

Cindy

Linda

I am using double pleat header tape and I need 8 pleats but the spaces inbetween are too wide how can I reduce this width using the pre set double pleat tape. I am thinking of putting in a fold and restringing over the fold do you have any simpler ideas?

SewHelpful:  

I am sorry to say that I can’t help you on this one as I have never used double pleat header tape before. All double pleats are hand stitched with buckram in the workroom. I think you might just have to make do. Cindy

Victoria

Loving the videos. Can you please advise re needle type and stitch size etc that you use for machine sewing the double pleats. I have never made double pleats or used buckram before. So all advice welcome and appreciated.

SewHelpful:  

We just use a standard straight stitch and 90/14 needle, 100/16 if we are having problems. 

Nicky

Hi, I'm making curtains with a single pleat (New York) 1.8 fullness, the fabric is a light weight woven sun filter, the lining is quite a heavy blackout thermal drape. I have 2 queries

1. Regarding working out the pleat size, can I use the same calculation as double pleats?

2. Would it be better to cut my lining at the finished blind length, & only fold the fabric over the buckram - rather than folding and tucking lining over which would create double thickness, I'm a bit worried that my pleats may not sit & stack nicely??

I hope that all makes sense and very much look forward to your amazing curtain making wisdom! Many thanks for your time :)

SewHelpful:  

1. Make a mock pleat to see what your ideal pleat and space  size is, then calculate to get as near to that as possible.

2. Yes that would reduce the bulk 1n the heading. 

Angela

Good morning.

I have two calculations for pinch pleating

Each curtain panel is 132cms

For double pinch pleating

6 pleats at 10.75cms

5 spaces at 10.3cms

For triple pleats

5 pleats at 12.9cms

4 spaces at 12.8cms

This is allowing 8cms for return and 8cms for leading edge making 16cms

Do you think it best to do double pleats or triple pleats based on my calculations

Thank you for you assistance

SewHelpful:  

That wont be enough for a triple pleat. We would go for double pleats.

Angela

I have got myself in a muddle. I am trying to make double pleats as each curtain is only 131 cms wide. 262 cms for the pair.

Should I make triple pinch pleats instead or will I not have enough material to do this

SewHelpful:  

We can't answer that with the info you have supplied. If your fullness ratio is more than 2.2 then we would consider triple pleat.

Angela

Thank you for reply.

I have decided on double pleats as the material is narrow and I think will look much better than a few triple pleats to each curtain.

Jane

Hi,

Is the FW (in point 1 on this page (step 9) the same as FCW found at step 2?

SewHelpful:  

Yes the FW is the finished curtain width in step 2.

Pam

I am doing curtains with double pinch pleat but trying to match a pattern. Have worked it out with pleats 18cm and spaces 15cm. Is this too big for pleats and spaces? Only have 6 pleats per curtain 197cm (PAN)width to go on pole 150cm long. Have 2 curtains. Will this look O.K.

SewHelpful:  

That pleat size, space ratio sounds perfect for a triple pleat but too big for a double pleat in our experience

Wendy

I have used two widths in my curtain panel. One of my pleats sits where they join. Should I have worked out my NP, PS and SS so that the seam sat in a space when marking out my pleats? The seam sits on a fold pointing into the room and I am not overly happy with it. I'd like to unpick the pleats but I'm guessing the buckram will be too bent. Any advise

SewHelpful:  

We try and avoid the join down the centre of a pleat when marking out and calculating, (its not always possible). If you unpick and remake you may find small pinprick holes in the fabric heading being the problem rather than the buckram being bent.

Rachel

HI, I've just your site so much...thanks.

quick question though...I'm making 1 curtain (for a door). I've ended up with 10 pleats (5 in each of 2 widths). PS =10cm....whereas SS= 17.4.

My previous understanding is that these 2 figures were in the end very similar...mine seem too far apart. HELP!

SewHelpful:  

Not enough pleats and big gaps, implies you haven't used a high enough fullness ratio (ie your panel  to pleat up isnt wide enough) Looking at your figures we are guessing you have a pole approx 170cm wide. With your 2 widths of 137cm. That gives you a fullness ratio of approx 1.6 (not enough).

If you had used 2.5 widths your fullness ratio would be just over 2  which would be about right and have given you 15 pleats approx 11cm with approx 11cm spaces.

Carolyn

I put in the measurements for a curtain using double pleats with a ratio of 2. Bearing in mind that you recommend a ratio of 1.9 - 2.2 I find it strange that you came back with the fabric calculated using a ratio of 2.6 - far too much!!! How can that really be correct?

SewHelpful:  

Hi Carolyn I assume you are talking about the curtain fabric calculator. It rounds up the number of widths by default. With the number of widths you have a choice of rounding up or down to the nearest whole number when making the calculation, thus increasing or decreasing the fullness ratio.  I am currently working on the calculator adding interlined curtains, I will add the choice to round up or down.

A more advanced method is to actually make your curtain panel to be pleated to an exact width (rather than a number of fabric widths) to give you the exact fullness ratio you want which we sometimes do when pleating to pattern repeat, that is beyond the scope of this tutorial though. We did put that information in initially but it made the instructions very complicated and confusing trying to have 2 different options running at the same time.

Jeorgia

I have made a lined and interlined curtain and I'm in the process of doing double pleats. Someone told me that where the panels/widths are joined you should try keep it to the side of the pleat and never in the middle of the space as it looks better like that. Does it is apply to you as well? I currentlyI have a curtain made of plain linen fabric and the joints are in the middle of the space and I don't have a problem with that. The new curtain are in a patterned fabric. Is it down to personal preferences as well?

SewHelpful:  

You have to work with the panel you have and the pleats and spacing you have calculated that will work best. We generally try and have a join in a space, as it sits at the back of the wave of the curtain and can be bulky in a pleat. But sometimes it doesn't work out that way.

If you are really particular about where you want to place a join, you would have to work out your pleats and spacing before hand and make the pre-pleated curtain panel to a specific width with the join in your calculated position. Generally we only  do that kind of extra work when we are looking to pleat a curtain to pattern repeat (get each pleat to fall in the same position on the horizontal pattern).

Alexandra

I'm making curtains across a door and window and the pole is very offset (total pole width 269, but split in 96.5:172.5), would you calculate the pleats over the total, or each separately, possibly giving different pleat/space measurements?

SewHelpful:  

Over the total, keep the pleat and space sizes the same, You may have to trim one panel down to get this right.

Sarah

In your experience, does it work best to have fewer, bigger pleats with larger gaps or a larger number of smaller pleats/gaps? I know my fullness is only just OK (around 1.9), using beautiful vintage William Morris fabric and I can't get any more. It's annoyingly narrower than modern fabrics, which I didn't realise. I am determined to make this work!

SewHelpful:  

Really our advice on this is above in the tutorial at 6 pleats per width. Big gaps (a low number of pleats) can look odd. At that relatively low  fullness ratio it will probably be about 11cm pleats  12cm gaps (make sure the gaps stack back not forward for a better look).

Emma

I've got an entire house to make curtains for. In the past I've made curtains and had them dry cleaned later only for them to shrink.

Is shrinkage a one-off phenomenon? If so, could I get the fabric and lining dry cleaned before I make up the curtains, and then if they need cleaning again in years to come shrinkage wouldn't be an issue? Or will they shrink every time they're cleaned?

Also, what would happen to the tops? I've heard buckram tape might not dry clean well. Is rufflette tape any better, and again do the tapes need pre-cleaning? Thanks, Emma

SewHelpful:  

I‘m afraid we do not get involved with dry cleaning curtains due to all the problems with shrinkage you list above as well as potential fading, change in lustre of the fabric etc. The linings, buckram and fabric can shrink at different rates causing puckering.

We have never sent fabrics and linings to be dry cleaned before make up, then dry cleaned the curtains after making so can’t advise on how effective that is.

Christina Bowen

I am so confused! Going by your way of calculating the pleat/space sizes, my pleats would only be 7” with a 10” space. That honestly looks ridiculous.

SewHelpful:  

   1.   It looks like you are not using enough pleats as your pleat size is too big, the instructions say vary the number of pleats until you get the right pleat size. try using more pleats and the pleat size and space size will reduce.

   2.   Also what fullness ratio are you using? it should be about 2, it looks from those figures your fullness ratio is quite a bit less than that so you may not have enough fabric.

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