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  • help please

    Help needed to determine if I have calculated for triple pleats/spaces correctly as I have never made any curtain this wide.

    I'll try to describe the room.

    2 long windows with one pole spanning above both with a timber bracket in the centre. The customer doesn't want to hide the area between the windows as it's a nice feature. I'll attach a pic of something she likes - she wants very long pleats (she is to ask friend to measure the ones in photo). First question can buckram be bought longer than 6"?

    Length of pole each side of the bracket is 79". She wants the outside space/return completely back flat as she wants as much light as possible. I have calculated as below but as I've never made anything this wide I wonder if the spaces are too big?

    Here goes: 2 windows = she wants 1 curtain only each window. 3 widths x 55" wide fabric = 165"

    2 Outside returns 5" each side = 10"
    Length of pole 79" + 5" extra for stack back = 84
    Finished curtain each side = 94"

    2 x 5" returns = 10"
    12 spaces x 7" = 84" is this too wide?
    Finished curtain = 94"
    13 pleats x 5 1/2 = = 71 1/2

    Total = 165 1/2

    Window in adjoining room pole measures 86" she wants 2 curtains on this.

    2 widths of fabric is 110"

    Half pole = 43"
    plus 2 x 5" side returns = 10"
    plus 6" slack = 6"
    Total = 59"

    2 x 5" = 10"
    7 spaces x 7" 49"
    8 pleats x 6" 48"

    Total =107"

    3" over for side hems

    I've just done above and realised I haven't allowed for turn over side hems ah...................... Anyone out there please teach me an easier way to work out how many widths/spaces/pleats please.............HELP

    [attachment=0:t8fp7zal]mary irwin fabric.jpg[/attachment:t8fp7zal]

  • #2
    Re: help please

    Both Hallis Hudson and Evans do an 8" fusible buckram


    • #3
      Re: help please

      Oh dear, you do sound as though you are in a muddle! Pinch pleats can be a nightmare if one loses ones way.
      You can get a wider buckram but it might be a bit awkward to handle. Make the channel in the 6'' one longer, 1-2'',but stitch the actual pleat at the end of the buckram. This looks longer and hepls the pleat to sit well.
      I cannot get to grips with your figures to recalculate but this is how I do them, others have similar but differing methods.

      Make the curtain as normal, lining and buckram to finished drop and measure across the flat width.
      Measure the pole and add 2x returns, ease ( remember to add for the whole curtain) and 2 x overlap if required.
      Half that figure and subtract that from the flat width of one curtain.....that is the amount to be lost in the pleats....divide that by 6-6.5 until you get a nice size of pleat that you are happy with.... its usually but not always 4 pleats to a width.. and they can be between 6-8''
      The half pole measurement is now divided into the spaces by subtracting the return and the overlap first and then dividing whats left into less than the number of pleats. I don't like a huge space at the beginning and end of the curtain and if there is no return I usually subtract 5'' ( 2.x 2.5'') and then divide......again between 4-6'', remembering that the spaces need to be less than the return or they will not stack back properly.

      I hope this helps you but I am sure that there will be others to help as well.



      • #4
        Re: help please

        Working out fabric requirements should be the same no matter the size of the window.

        I think 7" is too big for the spaces - I usually allow 4 1/2" - 5". Don't know what the others think.

        You said: She wants the outside space/return completely back flat as she wants as much light as possible - what do you mean by 'outside space/return completely back flat'? Also, she is going to get plenty of light - these are big windows!!

        You've only allowed a tad over two times fullness - I would usually allow 2 and a half times, although of course this varies depending on the situation.

        You said: Length of pole 79" + 5" extra for stack back = 84" - do you mean ease, not stack back?

        An easier way may be to work out the number of spaces, calculate the pleats and end up with the widths required.

        so for one curtain 79" + 5" ease:

        84" to be taken into the spaces. Allow 5" per space 84/5=16.8. Round up to 17 spaces of 5" each - 17x5=85"
        This means you need 18 pleats (one more pleat than space) of 6" each. 18x6=108".
        Add on return and overlap - 10" and side hems - 6"
        85+108+10+6=209" of fabric.
        Fabric is 55" wide: 3.8 widths. You can trim off the extra on the outside edge or increase the side hems and/or pleat sizes.

        Does this help at all?

        edited- Enid & I were answering at the same time with two different methods - just to confuse you completely!
        Kind regards
        Pen Harrison
        Colly Brook Fine Furnishings


        • #5
          Re: help please

          Thanks Enid and Pen,

          My customer had the fabric for so long she couldn't remember how many mtrs she had, and told me 3 widths per curtain, and 2 widths per curtain for the back window. I have now cut my drops and I have 31/2 widths per curtain for the two windows so I will calculate again as ye both advised. I'm dreading trying to work with 31/2 per width, 112" long finished. Excuse my mistakes with ease/stack back I'm muddled so I think I should finish now.

          Thanks again.


          • #6
            Re: help please

            OMG it is time for me to call it a day. I have just counted my cut drops and I have 4 widths per curtain for the two windows together and 2 widths per curtain for the adjoining window.
            Time for a tea break


            • #7
              Re: help please

              I'm new to this site, and am thoroughly enjoying the information posted. I'm not as seasoned a curtain-maker as most of you, but, I did happen upon a wonderful "calculator" for pinch pleats that may be of some help.
              Just click the link and within it, click the calculator: ... -curtains/
              If any of you professionals have an opinion about this tool (positive/negative) I would greatly appreciate your feedback.


              • #8
                Re: help please

                Have you calculated to allow for pattern matching the fabric horizontally? (i am assuming the photo is of the fabric you are using) I always calculate out my pleats and spaces around the pattern of the fabric and then adjust the resulting measurements to fit the pole. Sometimes it means matching every pleat, other times it can be matching every 4th pleat. By making some early, costly mistakes, I cannot, ever again, make a pinch pleat or goblet header that is not pattern matched horizontally!! i:e a 35cm repeat = space of 11 leaves 24 which is too big for triple pleat but ok for double pleat matched over every pleat. The altenative is to take the 35cm and x by 1.5 =52.5. The space could be 11 and the pleat 20.75 - I would adjust this to space of 13 and pleat of 18.75 thereby matching every other pleat.
                I also find that it is safer to allow 2.75 - 3 x fullness as I like my spaces at around 11cm and pleats around 18cm. There is nothing worse than being one pleat short!! The other thing you need to decide is which part of the pattern you want displayed on the pleat or in the spaces - this will decide where you cut the drops, and may mean that you lose a little fabric width on the leading edge.
                I hope you get sorted.


                • #9
                  Re: help please

                  Hi Julie,

                  Thanks for all that invaluable help. I don' know if I'll ever get my head around pleating to pattern. Having said that I made curtains and someone on the forum complimented me on my pattern match - I had no idea I had matched - just pure luck, but now that I know about it I'm determined to try my best. Well I have a pair of curtains completed as far as buckram (10") inserter and ready to pleat. I'm left with 269cm per curtain so I'll have to get cracking tomorrow and work out the pleating for an 218cm pole.



                  • #10
                    Re: help please

                    Morning Crackerkelly,
                    Hope this will help with the calculations............
                    using your figures above.
                    Flat width of
                    pole plus ease..................218+30=248cm I have allowed 15cms each curtain.
                    half pole........................124cm

                    269-124 = be lost in the pleats 8 pleats @ 18
                    half pole = 124cm.....divide that by 9 ( one more space than pleat) 9 spaces @ 13.8

                    to recheck just multiply 8x18 = 144, 9 x 13.8 = 124.2, 144+124.2 = 268.2 ( you can always make the end pleats just a fraction more to use up the extra.)

                    I don't like huge spaces at the beginning and end, so when it comes to working out the spaces I prefer to add the return to the wall and the leading edge measurement together and subtract that from the half pole before I work out the spaces
                    ie...........return to the wall 5.5cm
                    leading edge 2.5cm 5.5 + 2.5 = 8cm
                    124 - 8 = 116 divide by 7 as you have already defined two of the spaces giving 16.6cm

                    so........8 pleats @ 18cms, 7 spaces @ 16.6cms, leading edge @ 2.5 cms, and return to wall @ 5.5cms
                    this gives 268.2 cms ...again just a tad short but as 15cms each curtain has been added for ease ...its OK.

                    The thing with these calcs is that there are different ways of using the figures and I feel that as long as you are confident in your method and it works well, then thats the way you do it. Others add the returns onto the pole at the beginning, I don't, I don't like big spaces either , so to some extent its personal choice.......
                    As for pleating to pattern, I would get a basic method into your head and not worry about that yet, after all there are lots here who can help you with that one, but don't get muddled .
                    Hope that this help and sets up your day......



                    • #11
                      Re: help please

                      had a look at the calculator.......I suppose its useful, but it does not give any leeway for adjusting figures or pleating to pattern, and I think its better to work it out in order to understand the theory of pleats. That said, there are maybe lots of folk in the USA who use it successfully or it would not be available to use!! Its not for me even when the brain has gone off and I cannot get the pleats correct.


                      • #12
                        Re: help please

                        Ditto what Enid has said, you may struggle with your own calculations the first couple of times but once you have understood the process it is easy. It is really important to grasp the method for when you want to pleat to pattern, or are working on a non-standard window, or a fabric with some quirk like a strange pattern match.

                        I always work in metric so it's a non-starter for me.

                        sigpic Simply Sewing


                        • #13
                          Re: help please

                          Also, when you've found a method that you're happy with and works for you, then make a note of the steps for next time!
                          Kind regards
                          Pen Harrison
                          Colly Brook Fine Furnishings


                          • #14
                            Re: help please

                            Thanks everyone. I'll post a pic of the double width pair that I finished today. Not pattern matched perfectly but I think it looks ok. I'm bringing them to the client tomorrow so I can check the length is ok as I don't have a pole high enough in my sewing room.




                            • #15
                              Re: help please

                              Well done Ursula, you have done a really lovely job They look lovely