Window Treatments 101 – Pleats

February 26, 2009

inverted-pleat2Pleats.  Pleats are most often found on drapery panels and valances, but they pop up other places too like on bedskirts.  The pleat that is most prolific is the pinch pleat.  It’s the pleat your mother had on her drapes most likely and the pleat you see on most non-custom fabric treatments.  This pleat style is popular and has been for decades because it gives an “S” pattern to the hanging panel and helps them folds neatly when drawn.  I employ pinch pleats when a valance or cornice is going to hide the header and the pleats of the drapery panel.  But that pleat is just the beginning, the tip of the iceberg! 

Parisian Pleats are very similar to the pinched variety only the pinch is at the top of the header not the typical 2, 3 or 4 inches down.  This pleat is a bit more delicate looking and pairs well with thin metal hardware.  The Parisian also folds well and is pretty enough that you won’t have to hide it.  My personal favorite pictured here is the inverted pleat.  It provides all the fullness you ned to keep your drapes feeling lush and full but it’s a quiet elegant pleat that allows the fabric and hardware to standout a bit more.  This pleat is a good choice for a transitional room or one with a clean uncluttered look.  If you have a formal room and/or high ceilings a good choice would be a goblet pleat.  Imagine a pinch pleat, three little folds about 4 inches down from the top of the drapery panel, a goblet pleat is this but the cone created by the folds is opened and shaped into a tubular shape ( often filled with soft batting ) to create a goblet shape above the ‘pinch’.  Of course there are many other pleat styles used to create custom window treatments and ways to embellish each to further enhance the look of your draperies, but in closing I have to say that sometimes NO PLEAT is the best pleat.  Without pleats there is less fabric needed to create panels and the look is un-fussy and easy.  With this no pleat method of drape making there needs to be a bit more thought put into the lining used in the header and how the drapes will be hung, but the look can be beautiful in almost any setting and with limited space for stack back this detail is the one to choose… it folds back thinner than any other style.


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