How to Make Pinch Pleat Drapes


If you are looking for a classic and timeless addition to your windows, then look no further than a set of pinch pleat drapes.  Their elegance and sophistication grace the windows of homes all over the world and they compliment just about all decorating styles, from traditional to modern.  Pinch pleated drapes can really add that “wow” factor to your interior décor.

You can buy pinch pleat drapes at just about any store that sells window treatments or you can have a set of custom pinch pleat drapes designed and made for you by a fabric store or interior designer.  But, if you are able to sew and can follow a few step-by-step directions you can learn how to sew pinch pleat drapes of your own.  By knowing how to do this, you are not limited in any way by the choices of fabric used for your drapes, and you can save a lot of money in the process.

A pinch pleat is actually a group of small pleats that are grouped together at equally spaced intervals to create a more dramatic effect.  While it is rather difficult to measure and figure out how to get all of those nice, evenly spaced pleats along the top of your drapes, you can use pinch pleat tape, or pleater tape as it is also called, to get the job done much more easily.  The tape has small pockets with hooks that are inserted into the pockets that draw the attached fabric (when the pleater tape is attached to the drapery fabric) into pinch pleats.

So, are you ready to learn how to make your own pinch pleated drapes?

Read on for some step-by-step pinch pleat drape instructions…

Materials you’ll need:

  • Drapery fabric
  • Lining fabric
  • Pinch pleat tape (there are different styles so choose the one you want)
  • Pleat hooks
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Iron
  • Drapery hooks and rod

Step-by-step instructions to make pinch pleat drapes:

  1. Start by measuring the windows you are looking to cover.  The width of the finished drape should be double the width of the window (from outside edge to outside edge) and the length can be as long as you want, from the drapery rod to the floor, windowsill, or to any point in between.  Once you have those measurements, add 6” around to compensate for hemming on all sides.  Keep in mind, however, that if you are using two pinch pleat drapes to cover one window, you only need half of the measurement width-wise for each panel.
  2. Once you have your measurements, measure and cut your drapery fabric and lining fabric to size (including the extra 6” around for hems).
  3. Put the fabric together back to back and create hems along the two sides and along the bottom (hem will be approx 3”on each side).  Stitch the hem using a sewing machine (do not stitch the top hem), then turn the panels right side facing out and iron the edges of the hem (as well as the drapery panels if needed).
  4. You may want to add a few drapery weights (or even pennies) inside the panel to help your drapes hang better, but this is optional.
  5. Lay the drapery panel with the back side of the drape facing up towards you and fold the top edge of the panel over about the width of the pleat tape.  Then lay a length of pinch pleat tape over the fold, lined up along the top edge of the drapery panel.  Add an inch to the width of the drape and cut the pinch pleat tape to size (leave ½” on each side).  Then fold ½” of tape in at each side to finish off the edges.  Be sure the tape is lined up to have the pleats where you want them.
  6. Iron the folded top edge along with the pinch pleat tape to set into place and then stitch the two together using a sewing machine on all four sides of the pleat tape.
  7. In order to create the pinch pleats on the drape, gather the top of the pinch pleated drape panel and insert the pinch pleat hooks into the pockets on the pleat tape.  You can play around with how far apart to put the hooks to get the pinch pleat size that you want.  Moving the hooks to different pockets will give you a different finished pleat.  Adjust the folds between the pleats if necessary.  Once this is completed, you will have a finished pinch pleat drape.
  8. Repeat the above steps for each pinch pleated drape you want to make.
  9. After all of the pinch pleat drapes are completed, it is time to hang the drapes.  Hanging pinch pleat drapes simply requires you to attach drapery hooks to the top of the pinch pleat drape panels and attach the hooks on a drapery rod.  Once you hang pinch pleat drapes, you should manipulate the pleats to get them just the way you want them to look.  It may take a little while for them to stay properly, so you may need to do this more than once.

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