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Curtain Heading Styles

There are many options for curtain headings and styles, and indeed whole books exist on the subject of curtain design. We’ve illustrated our most popular designs below. Each has a different style and practicalities. Please also note that different headings influence the quantity of fabric required in a curtain.

Which curtain heading is best?

Each curtain heading gives a different effect and each has its own impact on the overall decor of a room. So if you are planning on new curtains you can find out here what sets apart different curtain headings. There isn’t one “best heading” because different heading coordinate with the chosen style of the room

What curtain heading uses the least fabric?

Curtains always need more fabric than the width of a pole or track might suggest. This is described as the degree of fullness. Fullness should be at least 2 for traditional pencil headed curtains and eyelets , so these designs are the most economical with fabric. Other designs require greater fullness and more fabric. Your curtain maker will advise you how much fabric they need based upon the size of curtains, the width and pattern repeat of the fabric and your choice of curtain heading.

Pencil pleat

pencil pleat curtain style

Classic, simple and the slightly more elegant alternative to a gathered heading. As one of our best value pleated headings, not surprisingly it is also one of the most popular styles.

Note: you will need to pull the heading tape strings at the end to form the pleats when your curtains are delivered. Suitable for both poles and tracks. Curtains need skillful hanging and dressing to ensure a high quality appearance.

Triple pleat (French Pleat):

triple pleat curtain heading

The Classic Heading! French pleat or triple pleat is a smart formal classic heading. The curtain falls into very elegant folds that can be easily dressed. Our triple pleats are typically 5” deep.

If your curtains are very long, we’ll make the pleat 6″ to keep the proportions of your curtains perfect. Suitable for both poles and tracks. Double and triple pleat curtains use more fabric and are fuller than pencil pleat. They are also best suited on full length curtains.

Need help choosing fabric for your curtains? Ask Fabric Gallery & Interiors

Double pleat

double pleat heading

A more relaxed cousin of the triple pleat. Traditional but a little less formal than the triple pleat.

If your curtains are very long, we’ll can make deeper pleats to keep the proportions of your curtains perfect. Suitable for both poles and tracks. Requires a pin hook “stabber” in each pleat.

Single pleat

single pleat curtain heading

An economical design that requires less fabric than its bigger brothers.

Goblet curtain heading

goblet curtain heading

Goblet pleats make a very elegant heading for longer lengths and heavier fabrics. They create a a formal luxurious look and so are best created with opulent fabric. Suitable for tracks or poles, though the oversize poles can create the greatest visual impact. For a more professional finish these headings can be made by hand. Although very time consuming it is well worth the extra effort.

The finished width is critical, and not easily adjusted on the finished curtain so accurate measurement of width is needed. Goblets also need more space to stack back at the side of the window.

Gathered Heading , Gathered Pleat, Rufflette Heading

gathered curtain heading

Classic simple relaxed style. With its ruffled top, this heading makes for simple, understated curtains. Suitable for both poles and tracks. Note: you will need to pull the heading tape strings at the end to form the pleats when your curtains are delivered.

This can create the illusion of greater height when space is at a premium.

Pinch pleat with buttons

pinch pleat with buttons curtain heading

A decoratively enhanced version of the standard pinch pleat. Buttons can be in a contrast fabric.

Eyelet curtain heading

eyelet curtain heading

Modern, unfussy and extremely neat. With their regular even pleats, this heading requires the least amount of space either side of the window to stack back. Standard eyelet size is 40mm and is suitable for all poles up to 35mm diameter. Only suitable for poles.

We only use eyelets insert with a high pressure professional tool as these are vastly superior to hand fitted plastic inserts. Metal inserts are available in several finishes to coordinate the pole of your choice.

Metal eyelets are better than plastic and we advise using metal poles. Curtains cannot overlap in the middle so a centre pole support should be avoided if possible. The drop of eyelet curtains needs to be accurately measured since there is no vertical adjustment possible, except by repositioning the pole on the wall.

Six inch pencil pleat

6 inch pencil pleat curtain heading

Better for longer curtains as it helps with visual proportions.

Tab top

tab top curtain heading

Simple, airy and relaxed. Too much fullness causes bunching and detracts from the curtains’ simplicity. Tab size should be scaled to match the diameter of the intended pole. Only suitable for poles.

Note that curtains made from this style are not as easy as other heading styles to open and close because of the space occupied by the tab and the friction of the fabric on the pole (especially on wooden poles). Tabs can be made in contrasting fabric if desired.

Attached valance with contrast drape

Attached Valance with Contrast Drape curtain Heading

Another stylish variant. Contrast fabrics are also a possibility.

Where can I get help with curtain headings?

When you come to us for your interior design or curtain making, we will help you select the best headings to suit your room, your choice of fabric and your budget. For help and advice, visit our showroom in Dunnington. You’ll be inspired.


Find our more about curtains from the experts at Fabric Gallery & Interiors