• - Fabric
  • - Lining
  • - Thread
  • - Buckram
  • - Wadding
  • - Weights
  • - Curtain Hooks
  • Tools
  • - Sewing Machine
  • - Needles
  • - Pins
  • - Clamps
  • - Scissors
  • - Set Square
  • - Straight Edge
  • - Invisible Marker
  • Step 9b: Form the Goblet Pleats
    Printable Worksheet
    Printable Worksheet


    • Lay the curtain down, right side facing up.
    • Put a stitch 0.5cm either side of the centre of the pleat at the top of the curtain to help hold the shape of the pleat.
    • At the base of the buckram 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.
    • Pinch and pull up the middle slightly just below the buckram.
    • Pull the 2 sides up along side, so all 3 folds are the same height
    • Stitch all 3 folds together at the base of the buckram.
    • Roll a length of buckram and insert into the pleat fold to hold it in a cylindrical shape.
    • Stuff the pleat with wadding
    • Make a top cap by ironing a piece of fabric onto some fusible buckram and cutting a disc to insert into the top of the pleat.
    • Repeat for each pleat.
    This video shows you
    • How to fold a goblet pleat
    • How to pinch and stitch the bottom of the pleat
    • How to stitch the top of the pleat
    • How to stuff and shape the goblet pleat
    • How to make a top cap
    • Where to stitch the top
    • How to start and finish your stitches so you cant see them

    Extra Help & Comments

    Sew Helpful
    Post your questions and comments here, we will reply so everyone can see the answer.
    Is the FW (in point 1 on this page (step 9) the same as FCW found at step 2?
    Sew Helpful
    Yes the FW is the finished curtain width in step 2.
    I am making curtains to fit into a bay window and have made up four panels so that one hangs at each end of the window and the other two hang between the central window and it's relevant side window. Each fcw is 113.5 after I have added the 8cn for ease and overlap and each panel (before pleating is 200. I subtracted 2x8cm for leading edge and return when calculating the spaces etc. I checked the arithmetic once I'd pinned markers for pleats and spaces and came to 113.5 as expected, but by the time the pleats were made up, my fcw is 103.5. So it appears I should have added more for ease and overlap - is there a formula for working out the ease based on the fcw etc, rather than just adding 8cm? Or did I misunderstand something? The material is not particularly heavy (cotton blendworth fabled crane fabric.)
    Sew Helpful
    The ease and overlap is not for the making process, it is for the curtain when it hangs so they overlap easily when pulled together and dont' come up short. you are purposely making the curtain 8cm longer as it will try and spring back a bit when pulled.

    When making the pleats you need to be very careful and accurate that your are not making the spaces too small, 2 or 3mm lost when you make each pleat adds up to cms of width lost in the curtain. You need to make sure that after sewing the pleats in, the width of your panel is the finished curtain width (113.5cm in this case).
    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.
    Sew Helpful
    That pleat size, space ratio sounds perfect for a triple pleat but too big for a double pleat in our experience
    HI - so far so good.....just a question. IN this calculation, you use the FW which we already know in step 2. However in step to calculate the FW, you already ask us to include return & overlap. If we included it again at this stage...aren't we double counting that amount when we calculate the space size in this step?

    My LE is 8 and my return is hence it's a lot if I need to double it up.

    Can you confirm please? Thanks
    Sew Helpful
    In STEP 2 you were calculating how wide your curtain will be when it is pleated (That is the FINISHED WIDTH). In the calculation we included some extra width for ease and ovelap and extra width if you are returning your curtain to the wall. 

    Now in STEP 9 here you have a curtain panel and need to pleat it up, so when pleated it is the same width as your FINISHED WIDTH you calculated in STEP 2. 

    Your pleated up curtain will have a LEADING EDGE flap on one side and a RETURN flap on the other. (Note you would still have a RETURN flap even if you were not retruning to the wall, you would not finish the end of the curtain with a pleat). You need to decide what LE and RETURN size you are using and then work out your pleat size and spacing so the curtain ends up the FINISHED WIDTH.

    Hope that makes sense, I'm not sure why you think we are double counting, can you explain further why you think that is the case and where the instructions may be misleading/wrong as we are keen to make them as good as possible.
    so just to clarify (!)...should the FW we start with in step 9, purely be half the pole length?

    Sew Helpful
    No, The finished width should be the finished width calcualted in STEP 2, for each curtain it is

    FINISHED WIDTH* = half the pole length + 8cm for ease and overlap

    *PLUS  (pole centre to wall: if you are returning your curtain to the wall)

    This is what I thought too.

    In step 2 you say to calculate the finished curtain width we should add half pole length + 8cm for ease/overlap, but then have a note to say that if we are returning the panel to the wall that should also add the measurement plus 1cm to get the correct FCW. So for me this is: 135cm (half pole) + 8cm (ease) = 143cm + 11 (return to wall) = 154cm

    When it comes to step 9, the first part says to use the FCW and then to add the return to the wall measurement plus 1cm, but the FCW I have from step 2 already includes this so this is where it is a bit confusing.
    Sew Helpful
    In STEP 9 you are working our how you are going to set out your pleats, spaces and the length of the flaps at the ends of the cutain LEADING EDGE and RETURN. The curtain when pleated up needs to be the FCW you calculated in STEP 2.

    As you say you have included the distance to the wall in your calculation in STEP 2 to work out your FCW. Therefore you must also make sure the RETURN is long enough to return to the wall so need to make it distance to wall + 1cm rather than the recommended 8cm if you were not returning to the wall.

    I hope that makes sense. 
    Although, am I right in thinking that the LE refers to the 8cm for ease and overlap?
    Sew Helpful
    The 8cm in the FCW calculation lets the curtains sit comfortably on the pole when the curtains are closed. If you did not included this they would probably not overlap or touch when closed as they would likely relax back from each other.

    The LE does allow the curtains to ovelap where they join. 
    I have made up curtains using this tutorial which I found really helpful.I put the 8cm ease in and the curtains only just met. Should the leading edges overlap each other or only just meet. It was a very wide window so the pole had a central fixing bracket. Should I have allowed extra width to cover this ?
    Sew Helpful
    Did you put 8cm ease in for each curtain?

    What width do they meaure when laid out? I assume each curtain is half pole width rather than half pole width plus 8cm wide.

    It could be shrinkage when pressing.

    Did you watch the video where it marks out the pleats? It warns about reducuing pleat sizes not spaces if you need to make any adjustments on your marking out to avoid losing curtain width.
    Thank you for your guidance - this is a great site! I am making a single curtain and am unsure how much to allow for ease? Would it be your suggested 8cm or less or more? Please advise.
    Sew Helpful
    As per the instructions we use 8cm (see STEP 2). Of course if you are making a really wide curtain you may need more. Its always better to go for more rather than less
    Thank you. And the 8cm... Is that per curtain In a pair?
    Sew Helpful
    For each curtain.
    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 buckrum will be too bent. Any advise
    Sew Helpful
    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.
    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!
    Sew Helpful
    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.

    *gulp* lesson learnt!
    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?
    Sew Helpful
    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.
    Hi - a friend was talking about wave headings recently - would you use the ratio 2 1/2 for this style of curtain - similar to pencil pleats? Thank you
    Sew Helpful
    You need to use whatever the ratio is recommended for the heading system you use.

    Eg on the silent gliss wave track they suggest 2.1 to 2.3. Here is a link to the silent gliss guide

    If in doubt do a mock up.
    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/widhts 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?
    Sew Helpful
    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).
    We are having pinch pleat curtains made but don't want full on curtains we don't need to close them, My curtain pole width is 320cm what size would you recommend we need, We was looking around 260cm or will this be still to much or what do you think of 175cm for each curtain.?
    Sew Helpful
    Probably best to ask your curtain maker with a design decision like that.
    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?
    Sew Helpful
    Over the total, keep the pleat and space sizes the same, You may have to trim one panel down to get this right.
    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!
    Sew Helpful
    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).
    I have got the pleating stage, at last.
    I am making double pinch pleat, and hanging them onto a track. The track is on the wall 11cm above the window frame, and extends about 17cm either side of the window frame. The window frame is 1cm proud of the wall. The distance from the track hook to the wall is 5.5 cm.
    My curtains are 1.5 drop, track is 180cm long.
    I have allowed for a return to the wall, though I’m now not sure if that is necessary to do considering the size of the gap.

    Do you think I should do a curtain to wall return at all, or not bother?


    When I calculate my pleats and spaces, how concerned should I be about the space size?
    If I calculate 9 pleats, my space size is 11.125 cm.
    If I calculate 10 pleats, my space size is 9.88 cm.
    Will they fold back neatly? Or should I recalculate again?
    What size of gap should I be aiming for so that the curtains sit nicely when folded back?

    Really looking forward to your reply. I would hate to get the last stage wrong!!

    If I decide to now not do a wall return, then these figures will change I know,
    Sew Helpful
    Generally we don't return to the wall.  It is a personal choice. 

    Points to note (see the video on STEP 1).  

    1. With a track you will need to be hanging the curtain below the track or the gaps will not stack back they will push forward between the pleats(because they will hit the track)
    2. With only 5.5 cm from the wall to the track, An 11.125cm gap will hit the wall when stacking back, so 9.88 cm gap will probably be better. 
    Thanks so much. I look forward to finish8ng them.
    I'm making a single door curtain hung on a pole fitted in a recess. Should I use a reduced return so that it fits flush to the wall? Thanks, Wendy
    Sew Helpful
    Not sure what you mean by a reduced return, Ultimately we would bring the curtain flush up to each side of the recess..
    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
    Sew Helpful
    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.

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