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Pleat calculation for narrow curtains

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  • Pleat calculation for narrow curtains

    Hi, I am making door curtains for a client, and she wants triple pleats, however, I just can’t seem get make the calculations work! Because it is a narrow French door, the pole is only 145cm. Each curtain is one width of fabric with a flat width of 128cm. So at the moment with overlap and return, I am only getting 3 pleats at about 15cm each, and 2 spaces each 34.5cm?

    Is this right, I can’t see how else to calculate?

  • #2
    Hi Finlayk
    I think the problem is that you don't have sufficient fabric in your curtains to do triple pleats. The usual allowance is 2.25 - 2.5 times width which would mean at least 3 widths of fabric for a 145cm pole. If your flat width in each curtain is only 128cms, you have less than 2 times the pole width.

    Is there any possibility of making just one curtain instead of 2? That would give you a little more flat width to play with because you would only have one leading edge and one return. It would still be insufficient for satisfactory triple pleats but you could make 10 single pleats at just under 10cms and 9 spaces at 16cms.
    if it is essential to have 2 curtains you could have 5 single pleats in each of just over 10cms with 4 spaces at 18.25cms.

    The other option is to settle for pencil pleat or a wave heading.

    Best of all would be to put in at least one more width of fabric, but I appreciate that it might be too late for that.

    I hope you manage to find a solution that suits your client without giving you too much grief!
    Best wishes


    • Finlayk
      Finlayk commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Liz,, I tried to persuade to one curtain, but she wanted two! We do our best to persuade to the best option! My mistake was probably not to add in another width, maybe need to roughly work out pleat calculations before quoting! Another lesson learnt! if you think I can get away with the 10cm as a pleat, I think I will go for that, client did say she would be happy with a double pleat rather than a triple!

  • #3
    Hi FinlayK

    Sorry about the delay in replying to your comment- I've only just found it!
    I think with only 10cms per pleat the best option is single or cartridge pleats- double pleats will be very small especially by the time you take into account the thickness of the fabric and lining and the buckram.
    You don't need to work out the exact pleating when doing your quoting calculations, just bear in mind the the formula for fullness, i.e 2 times for pencil pleat heading, 2.25- 2.5 for double or triple pleats. You can get away with 1.5-2 times for wave headings if you use the wave tape.
    The Merrick and Day Fabric Quantity Handbook for Soft Furnishings is a really useful guide for working out what you need for different types of curtains, valances etc. although I find that their quantities are sometimes a bit over- generous. However, as a starting point and to prevent problems like your current one it is very helpful!
    Good luck with completing your curtains.

    best wishes