If you want a traditional look for your curtains, pinch pleats, also known as french pleats, are a great option. They may look intimidating, but using pleater tape and hooks, makes this project simple for sewers of any level. So let’s get started. The materials you’ll need are
- drapery fabric
- pleater hooks
- a ruler or measuring tape
- a fabric marker or pencil
- a hand sewing needle (which is optional)
- an iron.
When determining the width to cut the fabric for your curtain panel, you have to take into account the amount of fabric the pleats will take up and the amount of space between the pleats. I would suggest figuring this out with just the tape and hooks before cutting your fabric.
You can get pleater tapes with varying amounts of space between the pockets that you put the hooks into. The pockets on the multi pleat pleater tape are about 3/4 of an inch apart. This gives you more options for customizing the look of the pleats. I’m using the best pleat pleater tape which has pockets about 2 inches apart.
Sew down the length of the panel with a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Backstitch at the beginning and end to secure the stitches. Repeat this for the other side of the panel. If you’re adding a lining, slip it under each side and pin before sewing. For this curtain, the bottom hem is going to be the same as the sides, so repeat the same thing.
If you want a larger hem, just account for it in your height measurements when cutting the fabric. When sewing the bottom hem, tuck the corners under. You can sew the bottom hem last if you want to hang the panel first to better judge how much to hem.
For the top of the panel, fold the fabric 4 inches and press. Then fold another 4 inches and iron again. Sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance along the sides and across. Backstitch at the beginning and end. Lay the pleater tape on the back of the top, fold under the ends, and pin. Make sure the pockets are on the bottom edge of the tape and are facing out. Take note of the different colour threads and sew around the tape on those lines.
Take a hook and insert the ends of the prongs into the pockets. Push the hook all the way in and secure it with the bottom piece. Repeat for the rest of the pleats. French pleats are often pinched at the base to give them a cleaner look. To do this, hand sew the pleats together. Start from the inside of one of the pleats so the knot is hidden. Go in and out of the sides of the pleats a couple of times to tack them together.
Knot the end, pull the thread to the inside of one of the pleats and cut. Finally, hang the hooks on hardware or a traverse rod and the curtain panel is done. Making custom pleated drapes couldn’t be easier with pleater tape and hooks.
As found on Youtube