Making pinch pleated drapery by hand

You're nearly there!

Your drape panels have been made up, and the basic pleats are in place. Now it's time to finish them off.

(If you want to look at the preceding steps, the first is how to plan your pleats, followed by how to make pleated drapes.)

Making the pinch pleat

folding pinch pleat

Folding a pinch pleat and sewing at base

Take a pleat and divide it into three folds by holding the main fold and pushing the front in to form three equal sections. Flatten the folds at the base of the pleat, then hand sew through the three folds just underneath where the buckram ends.

You can use what's called a 'spot tack' at the base of the pleat. Another method is to sew a short line of stitches through the pleats. This is usually only possible with industrial machines which are powerful enough to cope with the thickness of fabrics and buckram.

My preferred method is to hand stitch, because you can secure the bottom of the pleats and the stitches can be almost invisible.

So what do you do about the tops?

sewing a pinch pleat

Different ways of stitching the tops of the pleats

This is where techniques differ. There's no right or wrong way, it's all a question of which effect you prefer. Here are two ways of completing the heading, illustrated on the right.

1. Take stitches through the three folds at the top and leave them to open out naturally. The effect from this will vary depending on the length of the pleats, thickness of fabric, and how 'springy' the pleats are.

2. Sew each side pleat to the top edge as shown. Then sew the top edges of the middle pleat together. This is traditionally known as a French pleat and gives a more open effect.

Styling tapes are often labeled as 'Triple' pleating, and they are also in this group.

Alternative method

back of triple pleats

Pleats seen from the back

Instead of sewing the first single pleat in place and then folding the fabric into three, you can divide up the fabric into the folds first. This creates a thicker pleat, and is sometimes useful if you find your pleats are looking a bit thin.

 

triple pleats front

Pleats seen from front

You can see the difference in the illustration which shows the back of the drape.

This method will also add a few inches to the heading width, so it's also useful if your heading isn't coming out quite as wide as you'd hoped.

 

Attach your hooks

Final part of competing your drapes is to attach the hooks. There are a number of ways to do this, using either pin hooks which you insert, or sew on hooks. Whichever you use, attach them to at the back of each pleat.

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