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Pleat Guide

When it comes to ordering custom drapery, there’s more to specify than simply color, length, and fabric. There are a variety of options to consider when choosing drapery that will dictate the formality and style of the drapes you end up with, including type of lining, hardware, and tiebacks. But one of the most important style indicators is pleating.

Elaborate pleating, for example, can make even the most simple, neutral curtain appear formal, while minimal pleating can downplay the ornateness of a lavish fabric. Below is a guide to a few of the most common drapery pleat styles, and which work best for different decor styles.

Click an image for a larger version.


Signature Pleated drapes create a more defined, structured look that works well in both traditional and contemporary décor and is perfect for areas where you want to cover the whole window and then draw them off to the sides. I love the signature look for rods and rings especially because the pinch is done at the top and it’s like a little union to the bottom of the ring making it a really pretty shape, adding that bit of detail that’s not as traditional as your classic 4″ pinch pleat.


Grommet Pleated drapes create a very streamlined and modern look. Probably the most “understood” drape on the market, as you don’t need a hookset, a header size, or a glide or ring to hang it on. Its other fab features include its ability to stack narrowly and hang straight from top to bottom for those that don’t like a bit of flair to their drape. The downside to grommets is the workability factor gets more and more difficult with every inch it gets bigger in both width and height. So single panels or double wide panels are best as a feature to frame the window.


Reverse Pleated drapes create a neat, refined look that is somewhat more modern than a traditional 4″ pleat.  This is a great choice if you want to cover your window but want them drawn off to the sides. The header looks best with a 6″ Pellon as it creates a more elongated look (not so boxy). The downside or upside depending on your personal preference is that the fabric has a flair at the bottom that sometimes drives people nuts. To me, it’s about the whimsy and the drape is saying “look at me, I flair”. Great for the eclectic client.

U Pleat

The u-Pleated drape is essentially drapery without any pleating.  It creates a very casual, flowing look that works in informal or relaxed spaces.  A great drape to use if you want to cover a window with a minimal amount of fabric. This is considered our most casual of all options and is usually used as a budget saver. The downside is it never hangs the same way twice. No training these puppies, they are all about the fabric selection, they look fantastic with a big bold pattern you want to show off!

2 Fold

2 Fold Flat pleated drapes are a modern take on the traditional pleat. With the same stacking features and fullness in the front as your traditional 4″ pleat, this pleat is great for adding that little detail at the top of a tall neutral fabric.  This is a go-to for anyone looking to have timeless tried and true, operable drapes that perform for decades. I call them the start here pleat, if you don’t like it then let’s look at other options. The only downside is the stitch line at the bottom of the pleat can reveal a black dot when lined with blackout lining, so we sub out a tack on a two-fold when lined in a blackout liner. But truly a fantastic option for a custom drape.

S Pleat

S-Pleated drapes are a more modern style of drapery.  They have a similar look to the grommet drape without the grommets.  This style of pleat can be used where you want to cover the whole window and then draw them off to the sides. With our own special pleated style, this drape hangs straight from top to bottom, with no flair. Very popular when you don’t want to see the hardware, and you want it to be that floor-to-ceiling wall-to-wall look. Has a 2.5X fullness, so you still get that lux look of delightful fabric in a space. Also great for sheers!

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