Materials
  • - Fabric
  • - Lining
  • - Thread
  • - Heading Tape
  • - Weights
  • - Curtain Hooks
  • Tools
  • - Sewing Machine
  • - Needles
  • - Pins
  • - Clamps
  • - Scissors
  • - Set Square
  • - Straight Edge
  • - Invisible Marker
  • - Tape Measure
  • 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 8: Attach the Heading Tape
    Printable Worksheet
    Printable Instructions

    PREPARE TOP OF CURTAIN - part 1

    • Clamp the bottom of the curtain to the table, curtain face fabric up.
    • Pull the fabric and lining totally flat from the top. (make sure you pinned the bottom to stop the lining slipping up in the previous step). Smooth out any creases and let the fabric relax back to its natural position.
    • Measure up from the bottom of the fabric hem "the finished curtain length" and mark with an invisible marker (or pin) in at least 4 places across the curtain panel. Draw (Pin) a line joining the marks together.
    • Turn the curtain over and lay the fabric right side down. Clamp or weigh it down and smooth it out.
    • Fold the top over along the marked line to the wrong side and pin in place, trim the raw edge if necessary.
    • Tuck the side edges under to form a mock mitre at each end of the fold.
    This video shows you
    • How to mark the length of the curtain
    • How to fold and pin the top of the curtain
    • How much fabric to trim away
    • How to fold and pin the mock mitres

    ATTACH HEADING - part 2

    • At the end of the tape pull the cords out from the tape loops and knot them together.
    • Tuck the excess tape under and place the heading tape approx 0.5cm from the edge of the curtain and 0.25cm to 0.5cm down from the top .
    • Do not tuck the knot under the heading tape
    • Machine along the top of the tape until approx 15cm from the end.
    • Pull the cords out of this end so they come out of the tape in line with the edge of the curtain.
    • Trim the heading tape so there is aproximately a 7cm overlap at the end of the curtain.
    • Tuck the excess tape under so the heading tape will sit approx 0.5cm from the edge of the curtain.
    • Finish machining along the top.
    • Remove all pins from the heading (some will be under the tape).
    • Machine along the end of the tape you started at (leave the knot out).
    • Then machine along the bottom of the tape in the same direction you machined along the top.
    • Machine down the end (leave the cords out and knot together).
    • Remove the pins from the bottom of the curtain.
    This video shows you
    • Which colour thread to use
    • How to knot the end off
    • Where to sew the tape on
    • How to avoid puckering and twisting the heading tape
    • How to get a neat sew line on the heading

    Extra Help & Comments

    Sew Helpful
    Post your questions and comments here, we will reply so everyone can see the answer. 
    Caroline
    Thanks a lot - a very useful website.

    I have two questions:
    - Should the length of the heading tape be the finished curtains width + 20 cms on each side?

    - With curtains made in linen, do you recommend to wash the curtains first and iron them while they are damp to ensure you are taking into account the shrinkage in the calculations?
    Sew Helpful
    - The length of the heading tape should be the WIDTH OF THE CURTAIN PANEL plus 10cm each end. Note the finished curtain width is the wrong measurement to be talking about as that is the width of the pulled (pleated) curtain panel which is much smaller.

    - Washing and ironing your fabric always has an element of risk, fabric can fade and sometimes shrink substantially. BEWARE!
    Always check the manufacturer instructions.
    Test a spare piece of fabric.

    If you intend to iron the fabric during the make up process, we would always iron it before measuring and cutting to avoid problems with later shrinkage. 

    If  you intend wash and iron the curtains after they have been made, we would wash and iron the fabric AND the lining before measuring and cutting to avoid later problems with shrinkage. Again the warning above is equally valid for lining as it is for fabric.

    Enid
    When using pencil pleat heading do you take the lining right to the top of the main fabric before turning the 5 cms over to stitch on the tape?
    Sew Helpful
    Yes we make the curtain with the lining trimmed to the same length at the top as the fabric and the two are folded over together.

    If your lining is coming up short though, it doesnt really matter that it is not folded over with the fabric as long as it is behind the heading tape stitch lines when the tape is stiched on as they will hold it in place.
    Wendy Bayliss
    Your instructions are so so helpful - thank you. But which is the top of the pencil pleat tape? as the measurements from the hook pockets to the edge of the tape are different. I am putting the curtains on a pole.
    I look forward to your reply and thank you for your help.
    Sew Helpful
    The top of the tape (with regard to the instructions) is the edge of the tape nearest the top of the curtain when the tape is pinned into position. If you have a tape that is not the same either way up the instructions assume you would have chosen which is top or bottom when you chose your hook position in step 2.
    Barbara
    Thank you for such a helpful tutorial
    Would you explain why it is necessary to fold under as much as 10 cms of pencil pleat tape each end of the curtain panel
    Sew Helpful
    You do not need exactly 10cm and could use less. The reason we chose 10cm as a figure was so people would have enough tape to work with when they pull the strings out and tie them off without pulling the tape on the curtain panel. In the video we do infact trim it down a bit after the cords are tied off.

    Attaching Pencil Pleat Heading Tape
    laura
    The instructions say to attach the heading tape to the top, covering the top of the fabric. I would think the tape needs to be just below the top of the fabric not protruding above it?
    Sew Helpful
    Yes the tape is just below the top of the curtain. The instructions say "Pin the tape to the folded over flap 0.5cm from the top." The fabric to be covered by the tape is the raw cut edge that has been folded over. You can see the position of the tape in the photo above from the video. I can see the ambiguity I'll edit it, thanks for the feedback.
    Julia
    Do you sew the heading tape on top of the joined curtain fabric and the lining? It looks like it from your picture. I have some curtains I bought and the heading tape is not visible at all and must be between the curtain and the lining?
    Sew Helpful
    With this type of curtain the heading tape has loops to attach the curtain hooks to.  So the tape has to be on the outside to attach the hooks.

    Curtains with hand pleated headings use buckram inserted inbetween the lining and fabric and pin hooks to hang the curtain
    Marjorie Mcgee
    Do you just sew the top and bottom of a 4" tape to the fabric?
    Sew Helpful
    No, you will see in the instructions you sew the ends as well. The video fully demonstrates how to sew the heading tape on without it puckering And how to finish the ends neatly.
    Barbara Davies
    Thank you, a useful tutorial to get steps in the correct order! A couple of comments:

    1 When dealing with the top edge, it's clearly important to get the curtain the exact same length across its whole width. I found that for any but the smallest curtain I don't have room to lay it flat, so one solution is to make a few vertical folds in the curtain and make sure top and bottom line up, if that makes sense.
    2 I think there is a small step missing - to finish the raw edge of the top of the curtain where it's not covered at the ends by tape - about 0.5 cm. I did this by sowing a small mitre as at the bottom of the curtain.
    Sew Helpful
    1. Nice Tip, thanks for sharing

    2. You are absolutely right Barbara we also mitre the end, it is in the videos but missing in the instructions I've updated that thank you.
    chris
    What do you class as the face of the curtain
    Sew Helpful
    The face of the fabric or lining is the side of the fabric or lining that faces outwards. We also refer to the side that faces outwards as the "right side".As for the face of the curtain I cant see where we call it that. If you are refering to step 1 "curtain face fabric up". That means lay the curtain lining on the table and fabric facing up (the face fabric up).
    doxy
    I am interlining my curtains with 220 gm sarille.Should this only come up to the heading tape + 2cms.It will surely be too bulky to fold over at the top with the lining, other wise?
    Sew Helpful
    With interining on this heading we would take it to the top of the curtain but not fold over. That tutorial is in the pipeline.
    doxy
    Thank you.Sorry I didn't explain too well. I'm using 6 inch pencil pleat tape. The 2cm I mentioned was the allowance to trap under bottom of the tape. Do I still do as you suggest?
    Sew Helpful
    We would still take the interlining to the top. If you just go 2cm into the tape you might get a line in the pleats. The strings may not pull evenly as well as the heading will be thicker at the bottom of the tape than the top.
    Sara
    I am about to stitch on Ruflette Regis tape (pencil pleat) and cannot remember which way the double stitched side goes (top or bottom)
    Sew Helpful
    The tape we use and how we stitch it is shown in the videos.
    Jane
    I am using both interlining and blackout lining. Should they both go under the pencil pleat tape? I am concerned that the resulting thickness will be too bulky to pull up properly. Thanks
    Sew Helpful
    The tutorial is for a lined curtain not interlined. We are working on the interlined one.

    It will be bulky. Only take the interlining to the top of the curtain, do not fold it over to help reduce the bulk.
    Caroline Soer
    Hi - I wanted thank you for your very clear instructions that have helped me make 2 interlined roman blinds and cushion so far! I'm now embarking on lined pencil pleat curtains and though I've already bought fabric based on the tutorial instructions, I tried out the new curtain calculator and was surprised to find hems are to be double 20 cms i.e. 40 cms. Is this an error? The hem allowance in the tutorial is 20 cms so according to the calculator I am short of fabric....
    Sew Helpful
    Yes it is an error

    Thank you so much for that feed back it is all corrected now. That got lost in translation with the guy who programmed the code. The fabric hems are as per the tutorial 20cm hem allowance (double 10cm hem) full length, 16cm hem allowance (double 8cm hem) sill length etc.

    Caroline please see your email. 
    Kathy
    I have used your tutorial on Roman blinds with great success. I am now making full length pencil pleat curtains - 240 cm drop X 2 widths in each. I am wondering whether I should use buckram as well as the pencil pleat tape to give a better look? Thanks
    Sew Helpful
    We've never done that and dont think that would work.
    Su
    I used some cheap header tape and after I had sewn it on I pressed it with the iron. the tape shrank under the heat of the iron and I had to replace it: I lost 2 inches over the width of the curtain. Not funny. Don't use cheap tape.
    Su.
    Rosy Collins
    Great tutorial, thank you. For older properties would it be better to hem the curtains after hanging, turning and pinning in situ to allow for uneven heights of windows, window sills and floors? If so would you have any suggestions on which steps to alter? Thanks
    Sew Helpful
    We wouldn't do that.

    You can make them to the shortest length, longest length or an average. The 4th option is to make them over long.
    Brona
    I have made many Roman blinds using your videos, thank you. I machined pencil pleat tape to line on my curtains like you do with blinds then turned it over and machined bottom of tape through to front. I realised my mistake. Will this effect the gather when pulling up tape? Or do I need to stitch top of tape again through to front?!
    Sew Helpful
    I'm not sure what you mean. You can always pull it see if it works, if not open it back out and redo following the method in the tutorial.
    Anne
    I am using 6 inch 4 cord header tape. Do I need an extra row of stitches in addition to top and bottom
    Sew Helpful
    We wouldn't.
    Jane
    I’ve just finished making interlined curtains very successfully using your instructions- thanks so much. I’m now starting on another set, but this time using bonded interlining as the windows are huge and I don’t want too much weight. I assume I will follow instructions for lined pencil pleat, but should I cut the lining at the top so that it will sit at the level of the bottom of the heading tape as per instructions for interlining? And are there any other differences?
    Thank you
    Sew Helpful
    It is not something we do in the workshop, but make  it the same way as you would a lined curtain.

    Your Question or Comment

    Type the word for the number 9.
    blank
    Enter answer:
    blank
    blank
    Powered by Commentics