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Curtain Heading Types Part 9

Curtain Headings, Curtain Tracks and Curtain Rod Selection

In today’s lesson we will learn about the types of curtain headings, curtain tracks and curtain rods or poles.

Types of Curtain Headings

The type of curtain heading dictates the look or style of a curtain, so this crosses over with the styles and types of curtains.

Gathered Heading

The most common form of curtain heading, the gathered heading is formed with the use of a simple tape being sewn to the top of the curtain, the cord is then pulled and the fabric gathers.

There is usually only one row for the hooks to fit, so the gathered head is not deep and not really aesthetically pleasing.

It creates a casual or informal pleat. This form of curtain is often used for a net curtain, or a curtain that will be under a pelmet or valance and the head won’t be seen.

Pencil Pleat Heading

This is also one of the most common form of curtain heading, the pencil pleat heading is formed with the use of a simple tape being sewn to the top of the curtain, the cord is then pulled and the fabric gathers into pleats that look like a row of vertical pencils.

The tape is deeper that the gathered heading above and often has two or three places for hooks to be fixed through.

They create a more formal look than the gathered heading and sit neater and in a more ordered fashion. This is the most popular form of ready made curtain, as the style is simple and there is room for a little adjustment with the pleats at the top to alter the width and the height can be altered slightly depending on which row you place the hook into the tape.

Casement Heading, Rod Pocket, Slotted

This is also a popular curtain heading for ready made curtains. It is also great for those of us who want to make our own curtains, but are unable to sew well. The casement heading is simply a slot at the top of the fabric which a pole or rod can be threaded through. Simple. The fabric gathers up as it is threaded and then hangs from the pole in an informal or casual manner. This type or ready made curtain is often referred to as a curtain panel, as they are like panels of fabric. They are best used as a decorative curtain as they don’t really draw well. They look good when use with hold backs or tie backs to hold them off the window and allow light through. They are usually used with light weight fabrics, sheers, nets, light cottons and linens, looser woven fabrics, and is often used as the privacy type of curtain, or to reduce glare. It is also used a lot for informal curtain valances, kitchen curtains and cafe curtains.

Casement heading photos

French Pleat, Pinch Pleat or Triple Pleat

This is a formal style of curtain heading, formed by sewing a heading tape to the head of the curtain fabric, when the cord is pulled in it forms large pleats of three folds at regular intervals with a flat space in between. A hook is then used at the back to keep the pleat in place and hang them from the curtain track. It is a very ordered style with full and neat folds and is usually used for formal or traditional curtain applications. It can sometimes be used as a formal curtain valance, but careful attention to the height is required or else it can look silly.

French pleat

Inverted Pleat, Box Pleat

This is similar to the french pleat in makeup except it is a single pleat and is not shown on the outside of the curtain but the rear and it sits flat creating a fold in the curtain and a flush heading. This looks very good with contemporary fabrics and in modern style homes. It allows the curtain to have some fullness, it is a very ordered and structured curtain heading.

Goblet Pleat

I don’t know why I am about to tell you about these pleats or headings as I find them awful. But you need to have a all round knowledge of the styles available so here we go! The goblet pleat is formed by a heading tape sewn to the head of the curtain fabric, when the cords are pulled the pleat creates a goblet or tubular form to the front of the curtain. I have seen it used as a valance but that is the only application I have seen it in. It is a formal style and best used if the curtain is going to be fixed in position and drawn back with tiebacks or holdbacks as it looks bizarre when drawn to the side of the window. The Flemish Curtain Heading is created by using the goblet pleat and linking the plates with a cord or rope, another formal or traditional style.

Smocked Heading

This heading is how it sounds the curtain tape is sewn on and then when the cords are pulled, it creates folds or pleats. Then these are hand sewn like smocking to create the smocked look to the heading. Very time consuming, but effective and useful for traditional country styled curtains.

Grommet top or Eyelet Top Curtain Heading

Metal Grommets or eyelets are fixed in place at regular intervals across the head of a panel of fabric. The panel is then threaded through a decorative curtain rod and forms soft deep folds. The curtain created is not full, but looks clean and crisp, net and contemporary. It is used frequently for shower curtains, nautical styled curtains, dressing room curtains in retail stores and is a popular form of ready made curtain as it is simple to install and looks neat and tidy.

Grommet Top Curtains

Article on Grommet or Eyelet top Curtains

Tab Top Curtain Heading

This curtain heading looks simple but to make them yourself is time consuming. Especially if you have a patterned fabric. Luckily for us, they are a very popular form of ready made curtains. They are simply strips or tabs of fabric attached at regular intervals to the head of the fabric. Then they are threaded through a decorative rod. It couldn’t be simpler. The fabrics used are generally light weight as the wear and tear on drawing the tabs would be high and they don’t draw well. They are an informal style of curtain, used frequently for sheer fabrics or voiles, they are usually purely decorative, and as they are ready made come in numerous designs and are an economical form of curtain, ideal for quick room makeovers.

Tab and Tie Top curtains


Clips are a novelty heading, they are usually on a ring with a pinch clip that attaches to the top of a simple panel of fabric. They are used often foe shower curtains or curtain screens in retail dressing rooms, and in small modern apartments.

Read more about the types of curtain heading and curtain styles here

Types of Curtain Tracks

The curtain track is a simple way to hang your curtains and allow them to draw across the window freely. There are many types of curtain track. The basic principal of all of them is that they have a slot which which a runner with a loop fits into, the curtain hook goes through the runner loop and the curtain hook can then glide along the track with ease. They can be simply hand drawn, cord drawn or electrically drawn.

The track is fitted to the wall with brackets. Tracks can be made of metal or plastic. Check before you buy or order a track that they are strong enough to hold the weight of your curtain. Go and take a look at this page for more information on curtain tracks here and here and you can watch it on video here.

Types of Decorative Curtain Rod or Poles

The standard rod or pole that is fixed to the wall with brackets, it has rings that a treaded through the rod and the curtain hooks fits into the rings and hold up the curtain. They are available in metal, powder coated metal and timber. The rings tend to be noisy when you draw the curtains and are prone to wear and tear but look great with heavy traditional fabrics and drapes.

Decorative rods or poles are really popular today and have had major design improvements lately.You can now purchase curtain rods or poles that have a groove routed out (in timber) or cut out (in metal) and then a simple curtain track is slotted in. So now you have the convenience of the easy gliding curtain track and the great look of the decorative rod or pole. Rods and poles are also used for grommet (eyelet) top, casement top and tab and tie top curtains. For these headings you simply need the rod and brackets to fix it to the wall, then the eyelets, tabs or casements simply slot through the pole and the curtain is then hanging.

Decorative Curtain Rod

Rods, Poles and Finials

You have just finished reading part 9, if you still have time, this one was very long, go and read your related articles, if not come back again and read them in your spare time. In three days time you will receive your next lesson, so don’t forget to add this email address to your white list, and if you don’t receive it in three days, then look in your spam email box, and if you just can’t wait for three days the you can find part ten here online.

Bye for now


Lee Brown

Curtain Design Ecourse Coordinator