Curtains and Draperies With Perfect Pleats
If you are like me you may think that gathered curtains or draperies look so much better if each pleat is uniformly equal. Accomplishing that is easier than you may think. There are actually three different ways to approach the problem and I guarantee that, one way or another, you can achieve it. Sometimes even pleated draperies need coaxing if the fabric is springy or stiff and, of course, the best way is to pick a soft pliant fabric in the first place. This is not always possible so lets talk about how to create perfect pleats regardless of what fabric is used even including lace curtain fabric or a stiff antique satin.
If the curtain or drapery material is fairly pliable the easiest first attempt would be to install the window treatment, pull each panel to one side and physically arrange the pleats evenly. Then tie them back fairly loosely both near the top and at the bottom hem. Once this is done you can spray the front and back of the pleats lightly with a solution of water with a small amount of alcohol added. Do this using a very fine spray without soaking the fabric. You just want a mist on the surface. You might also rub your fingers lightly on each pleat while they are still moist forming them into a nice round shape. Leave them for a couple of days. The shape of the pleats will greatly improve hopefully to the point that they are fine without further fussing.
If the pleats are still flaring the next approach is to use what in the drapery trade is known as “shot tape” or in fabric stores as “leaded weight tape”. It consists of a long very small diameter cotton tube that is filled with a single line of approximately 1/8 inch lead balls to form a continuous cord. Place this cord in the bottom hem from one side of the panel to the other. That adds weight to the curtain. You can now arrange the pleats much more easily. Once you have arranged them evenly they tend to stay where you have placed them because of the additional weight and the relative unwillingness of the cord to straighten out.
If you still have a problem with flaring my final suggestion works no matter what. The solution is what we call a “memory stitch”. As a professional decorator I have had to use this method more than once. Pull the panels back to the sides and again tie them in place. You then just run a clear poly thread through the back side of the bottom hem of each pleat making sure that the thread is long enough to reach when the curtain is fully extended in place. This forces the back side of each pleat to stay to the rear. You can even fasten the thread on each side to the window jam and pull it taut additionally forcing perfect pleats. This is my final answer and it always works. Check out curtains on our web site to see how attractive a well pleated curtain can look.
We wish you the best of luck in your decorating endeavors