How to Create Pencil Pleated Draperies
Pencil-pleated draperies add texture and elegance to any room. Here are directions you can follow to make your own beautiful pencil-pleated drapes.
Step 1 - Decide on the Depth of Your Drape Headings
For drapes where the heading will be visible rather than behind a valance, use pencil pleat tape with 6 inch (15 cm) headings. Allow an additional inch at the top for the top hem for the drapes.
Step 2 - Buy the Drapery Fabric and Pencil Pleat Header Tape
Purchase the drapery fabric according to a drapery fabric calculating guide. You will need at least 4 inches of fabric width for each pencil pleat. Include a 10 percent fabric shrinkage estimate.
- For the length, add an 8 inch hem at the top and a 4 inch hem at the bottom.
- Wash and dry the drapery fabric, then cut it to the measured size.
- Iron to ensure flatness for attaching the pencil pleat header tape.
- Press down a 1 inch fold then a 7 inch fold for the top hem.
- Sew down the top hem before attaching the header tape.
- Press in and pin the bottom hem.
You should have sufficient pencil pleat header tape to cover the unpleated width of your drapes, and add a 2 inch allowance on both ends to fold under the raw edges.
Step 3 - Attach the Header Tape to the Drape Top
- Attach the pencil pleat header tape with pins to the drapery top edge, 1/2 inch below it.
- Fold under the raw edge of the header tape and machine sew this edge to the drape.
- Sew down the entire piece of pencil pleat header tape to each drape, at top and bottom and between each string pocket.
- Sew all seams in the same direction, and do not sew over the string pockets.
- Release the header cords so they hang down for pulling.
- Stitch the vertical ends of the header tape to the vertical edges of each drape.
Step 4 - Gather the Pleats and Distribute Evenly
- Pull firmly and evenly on the header cords to gather the drapery material into the pencil pleats.
- Distribute the pleats so they are even in size across the top of each drape.
- Each drape, when finished, should fit across at least 1/2 the length of the drapery track. Adjust by spreading out the pleats if they are too tight.
Step 5 - Knot Off the Pencil Pleat Header Cords
- When your drapes are the correct width, securely tie off the ends of the cords.
- Stitch them into the top hem of the drape with a few hand stitches to conceal them.
Step 6 - Finish the Bottom Hems of Your Drapes
- Use blind stitching to hem the bottom edges of the drapes.
- Press the drapes one more time before hanging.
Step 7 - Attach Drapery Hooks and Hang Your Drapes
Insert drapery hooks into the pencil pleats at about 4-inch intervals, and hang up the drapes.