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Which Curtain Heading do you need

Pencil Pleat

Pencil Pleat, also known as Tape Top or 3” Tape curtains, is the standard heading for curtains and valances. Pencil pleat curtain heading usually consists of three rows of string threaded through it for three hook positions to suit all types of track and pole. 

Eyelet Curtains

Eyelet curtains or Ring Top curtains are a contemporary curtain heading for use with curtain poles.  Eyelet heading gives large even soft pleats and are so called because they have metal rings at the top of the curtain in place of a normal header tape. This means that not as much material is needed in an eyelet curtain as they don’t need to be gathered the same way as a curtain with a taped heading. Eyelet curtains are not suitable for curtain tracks, with valances or for bay windows.

Pinch Pleat Curtains

Pinch pleat curtains are a decorative heading for curtains and valances and can be used on all curtain tracks and poles. Pinch pleat heading is more gathered than other curtain headings with the pleats sewn in to give a luxurious and permanent gathered look. 


Every pair of curtains regardless of the heading will need a certain amount of gather.  Without gather the curtain would just be a flat piece of material across the window. Two times the width of the pole or track is usually the recommended amount of gather. This allows the curtains to be gathered up when hung. 

If a track or pole was 90” (229cm) wide then 90” in each curtain would generally be the recommended width. This would mean ordering a pair of 90” wide curtains with the appropriate drop so that the curtains look gathered and full at the window. With Ready Made curtains the widths are generally available in 46”, 66” or 90” wide. If the width of a window is in between these sizes then it is usually down to preference. A heavier curtain material (e.g. a chenille curtain) can need less gather than a lighter curtain material (e.g. a faux silk curtain) if this instance does occur. So where the curtain is of a lighter material then always opt for the larger size, and where the curtain is of a heavier material beware that too much gather can create a bunched look.

Melody Curtains (Gathered up when hung)

Gather and different curtain headings

Different curtain headings can affect the gather that may be required for a curtain. In the instance of 3 inch pencil pleat and pinch pleat curtains, double the gather is generally recommended. With eyelet curtains it can vary.

With eyelet curtains it can very much depend on the material. With a thick and heavy material not as much gather is always needed as the natural folds in the curtain heading create a natural gathered look at the window. If the material is not heavy more gather can sometimes be needed because a thin material will fold back more when closed and can look thin and skimpy especially on a large window. 

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