5 Types of Pleated Draperies Explained

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  • 1-50 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-800

Pleated draperies come in an abundance of styles. Each one lends its own unique flair to a room. If you plan on making your own draperies remember to account for the pleats that will be put into them. Some pleats take up much more fabric than others while some fabrics will not hold a pleat the way it was meant to be designed.

Pleated draperies have been around for centuries and will continue to be a staple in the drapery world. New pleat designs will come and go while some of the classics such as the pinch pleat and pencil pleat will continue to be popular.

1. Pinch Pleats

A pinch pleat can be described as a pleat that is placed along fabric in intervals to give the fabric a nice design. There are five different types of pinch pleats all referring to how many pleats make up the style. A pinch pleat, two finger pleat, three finger pleat, four finger pleat and five finger pleat refer to how many pleats are needed to make the style, as the number of pleats gets larger then so does the depth and thickness of the pleat. These pleats are pinched together in the bottom third of the pleat and tacked together to form their style.

2. French Pleats

A French pleat is very similar to a pinch pleat, in fact the only difference in the two pleats is where it is pinched to form its design. A French pleat is pinched and tacked together at the top of the pleat. This pleat causes the fabric to flow from the top and creates ripples in the fabric below.

3. Pencil Pleats

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A pencil pleat is done by using a special pleating tape. The tape is sewn to the top of the fabric and then three to four cords are pulled tight to form a pinch pleating pattern. The pleats are continuous along the top portion of the drapery and look best when the cords are pulled as tight as you can get them. You can of course purchase drapes that are already pencil pleated.

4. Butterfly Pleats

Butterfly pleats are designed by starting with a two-finger pinch pleat. They have two pleats that are spread wide with a small pleat in the center giving the look of a butterfly opening its wings.

5. Box Pleats

Box, or double box pleats, are two styles that differ greatly from a pinch pleat or a pencil pleat. You will find that it can help to add more dimensions to the fabric and allow for use with different design elements in your room.

Regardless the style of pleat you decide is best for your drapery design it will enhance the effect it has on the drapery fabric. It makes it fuller and gives it depth it would not have without them. If you choose to purchase your drapes or make them yourself use your imagination to decide which pleat design works best for you.