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How would you have pleated up these curtains?

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  • How would you have pleated up these curtains?

    I have recently completed a pair of 4 width curtains to be fitted on a 458.5cm track that sits against a wall on both sides. No return, no overlap bar.

    I made up the curtains in a such a way that i thought was correct, but on hanging the curtains they had far too much fullness, and whilst the customer seems to be happy enough, i would not be surprised if the come back to me.

    I believe my first error was to allow 3cm ease per width. I have since been told than on tracks there is no need to allow for ease, is that correct?
    Secondly i allowed 5cm for a return, but allowed 10cm for overlap, as i felt aesthetically they would look more balanced with a space similar to the space i had allowed between pleats. Even though i stiffened the overlaps, the customer enquired as to whether they needed securing by a pinhook. I explained why i had done it and he was like 'ok', but again i am thinking i did that wrong, and if so, what overlap would you have given seeing that there is no overlap arm?

    These were the calculations i ended up with;

    track width 458.5 divided by 2 = 229.25 + 5cm return +10cm overlap + 12cm ease (3cm per width) = 256.25

    548 (flat width) - 256.25 = 291.75 to pleat
    291.75 divided by 20 (we allowed 5 pleats per width on this occasion) = 14.58cm per pleat

    256.25 - 15cm (overlap + return) = 241.25 divided by 19 = 12.6 per space

    I know it's a bit late to be asking these kind of questions, as they are up now, but if they do come back for correction it would be good to know what the new calculations should be, and if they don't, i would like to ensure i don't make the error again.


    V x

  • #2
    Re: How would you have pleated up these curtains?

    Hi V,

    Everyone works in slightly different ways, however, I think I would have put 16 pleats per curtains giving approx 18.2 per pleat. This will have increased the space between each pleat to 16.08. Slightly more than I would normally like especially on a track, so maybe somewhere in the middle, say 18 pleats?

    10cm is also slightly more than I would allow if there was no overlap arm, I usually put about half a space i.e. 6-7cm. It is possible that the leading edge might sag a bit over time.

    I think the amount of ease is about right. I did a bay recently with 6 widths in total and added 10cm even though it was on a corded track.

    It is hard to not worry if something has not turned out quite as you had hoped. I'm sure that everything will be OK, but you could give them a 'standard courtesy call' in the next few weeks to check if all is OK. Then you have an opportunity to put anything right if necessary. Otherwise try not to worry!



    • #3
      Re: How would you have pleated up these curtains?

      Thanks Sue, i appreciate you replying. We are going back soon regarding a draw rod anyway, so i am hoping i can sort any problems at that stage.

      I allowed 20 pleats as i wanted smaller spaces and i was doing double pleats. The actual 'look' of the curtain was fine, but i am wondering whether i should be allowing just 2x fullness for tracks, or is it a case that there are no hard and fast rules, it really is take each window treatment on an individual basis?

      Although i have been making curtains in a workroom for 2 years, i am very new to measuring and fitting, so i am learning as i go - and frightening myself to death in the process!

      If i had allowed 6cm for an overlap, would i have changed the calculation regarding the return, as it is lying flat on the track and is part of the fullness?

      I think if i could see where the calculation fell down, it would help me put the whole thing to bed.

      Thanks x


      • #4
        Re: How would you have pleated up these curtains?

        Hi V,
        I also would only allow around 6-7cm for an overlap without an overlap arm, otherwise it will sag.

        I also like to do my calculations first, then make the flat curtain to the size required.

        The track length, divided by 2, and add about 5-10cm for ease. Divide by 10 for the spaces, and round up/down to get to near as 10cm per space as possible, add 15cm per pleat (that's the number of spaces plus one) (12cm per pleat for double pleats), then add the return and overlap.

        On a corded track, I would only allow 2-5cm ease, as the cords keep the curtains under tension.

        How does that sound?

        Sue, I do wonder whether 16cm for spaces would be too much??
        Kind regards
        Pen Harrison
        Colly Brook Fine Furnishings


        • #5
          Re: How would you have pleated up these curtains?

          To add more said no overlap and no return, but added ease,

          track = 458.5 + 12cms for ease = 470.5 / 2 = 235
          flat width = 548 548 - 235 = 313 to lose in pleats.
          usually 4 pleats per width but on wide curtains I find that one gathers extra pleats across. Tracks and double pleats I would aim for about 16cms. So 313 / 16 = 19 + 19 pleats @ 16.5 cms
          1/2 track is 235 235 - ( 5cms , which you gave it as return + 5cms for leading edge) 235-10 = 225
          225 / 18 spaces = 12.5

          19 x 16.5 = 313.5 lose 0.5cm on last pleat.
          18 x 12.5 = 225
          small return 5cms
          leading edge 5cms giving 548

          As has been said lots and lots of times, most people seem to calculate their pleats and spaces along the same lines in theory, but different in practise.I also think that the window, track / pole and fabric comes into play as well as the required finished effect. I don't see that you have done anything wrong, it was your job and you made them your way, somebody else could well have done them completely differently and the customer would have been equally pleased with the end result. We are, often, our own worst critics.
          In the end, if the customer is happy and the curtains are hanging correctly, opening and closing properly and are the correct length ....then you have done your job, the more that you do the more confident you will become BUT the more you worry about the pleats calculations, the more confused you will be !
          I hope that this will have helped .


          • #6
            Re: How would you have pleated up these curtains?

            Hi V,

            Yes, I take every job based on the sort of track, thickness of fabric, design of fabric etc. I don't think there is a 'one size fits all' solution.

            Like Enid says you didn't do anything wrong. Sometimes I worry myself silly over jobs, it is usually the measuring/fitting that worries me, not the making - and I have been doing this for 10 years.

            At least you have someone to bounce your concerns off on this forum.

            When you go back, do not draw your customers attention to what you think are shortfalls on this job, otherwise they will start to pick fault with everything. P.S. If you are adding a drawrod to the leading edge, there is more of a chance that the leading edge will sag, as it will add more weight. Sorry.



            • #7
              Re: How would you have pleated up these curtains?

              Sound advice, Sue and Enid. Good luck V.


              • #8
                Re: How would you have pleated up these curtains?

                Thanks guys, i am a lot calmer now since i have come up with a 'plan of action', should the curtains come back for correction that won't compromise the curtain fabric and involve undoing 40 pleats!!!

                I feel like where i went wrong was somehow thinking all that extra fullness i had allowed would somehow suddenly disappear when placed on the track. I also had failed to recognise the return was important and the overlap that whilst acceptable for overlap arm, was far to big to stand free.

                So next time i will allow between 1 and 2cm ease for tracks, and take returns and overlaps into account! I will also ask on here if i'm not sure BEFORE i start pleating.

                On the plus side i do already work out my pleats and spaces before i make up the curtains, especially if im making curtains for different windows in one room and need the pleats to be the same size. I am learning, i just have to be a little kinder to myself when things aren't perfect.

                Thanks guys for all your help xx