How To Make Curtain Hems and Headings

Turn in deep hems down outside edges of curtains. Mitre bottom corners for extra neatness. Place pins at right angle to the hem. Tack, then slip-stitch by hand or machine.

Simple gathered heading. Use standard 1 in. (2-5 cm) cotton curtain heading.

1. Cut 1 in. longer than curtain width.

2. Turn in each cut edge ¼ to ¾ in. (1-2 cm), leaving cord ends free on the upper side. Turn down the required amount of heading along the upper edge and tack in position.

3. Make sure hook pockets face you. Place tape so that it covers the raw edge. Tack and then stitch into position. Always stitch outside the gathering tapes.

4. Knot tapes together firmly at one side.

5. From the other side gather the curtains up to the required width and distribute the fullness evenly.

6. Tie cords together firmly and tuck them into the heading or wind them round a cord tidy. Do not cut them off. The curtains will need to be pulled out flat for washing.

7. Insert hooks — about one every 3 in. (7-5cm).

8. Hang curtains from the track.

9. Make a good bottom hem — 2 in. (5 cm) for light fabrics; 3 in. (7.5 cm) for heavy ones. Sheer fabrics need double hems so that raw edges do not show up against the light.

Scallops. Scalloped headings are simple and economical to make. No tape is necessary and scalloped curtains need not be as full as gathered styles; 11 times the window track width is adequate.

Use a sideplate or a saucer as a guide for scallops. Measure its diameter and decide on a suitable proportionate width for the strips of fabric between scallops. Work out the number of scallops and separating strips which fit best into your width of fabric, making sure that strips begin and finish off the heading pattern. Any extra fabric should be divided and added on to the strips at each end of the curtain so that the scalloped pattern is centred.

To make scallops.

1. Make a narrow hem along the top of the fabric, then fold

the fabric over at the top, right sides together, wrong sides outside.

2. Mark half-circles along the top edge of the folded fabric, using the sideplate or saucer as a guide.

3. Machine or back-stitch by hand around each circle.

4. Cut away surplus fabric, snipping around curves if necessary.

5. Turn the right side out and press it.

6. Sew on one curtain hook at the back on the top of each strip between scallops or sew on rings directly.

No-pelmet headings. Modern curtain tracks need stiff curtain headings that stay upright to cover the track when drawn across. Different curtain heading tapes are available to make various types of deep stiff heading.

Pinch pleats. Regularly spaced groups of three neat little pleats look highly professional, but in fact can be achieved quite simply with ingenious new tape that enables you to achieve fanned pinch pleating automatically by the use of draw cords. There are two versions of this tape: conventional (e.g. for curtains which conceal the track) and underslung (for curtains that hang below rods on rings). You will need fabric at least double the track width.

1. Turn and tack a in. (15 mm) hem at the top of the curtain.

2. Take edges which come to the centre of the track and cut the tape in the centre of the first group of pleats.

3. Pull out and knot together the ends of the cord, trimming off surplus tape If in (1.2 cm) from the cord. Turn 1 in. (2.5 cm) under at the end of the tape, including knotted ends of the cord.

5. Lay the tape over the top of the curtain with the folded end level with the side edge of the curtain and the top edge of the tape close to the top edge of the curtains.

6. Stitch across the folded edge and along the top edge.

7. Pull out the cords at the edge of the curtain. If the edge of the tape ends at a space and not where the cords are exposed, use the points of scissors to pick the cords out of the tape.

8. Trim tape to ½ in. (12 mm) from the cord.

9. Ensure that the two ends of the cord are left free, and turn under the raw edge of the tape for neatness.

10. Stitch along this edge (but not over the cords).

11. Break off the thread and return it to the commencing end.

To pleat up:

  1. Holding free ends of the cord firmly, with the other hand push the first set of pleats into position along the cords; the spaces must be kept flat and unpuckered.
  2. Then push the second set of pleats into position.
  3. Return to the first set of pleats and push into position again. Advance and return in similar fashion until all the pleats are in position along the heading.
  4. Knot the cords together; do not cut off excess.
  5. Insert special two-pronged hooks. Slip the two prongs into adjacent pockets in the centre of each group of pleats and into adjacent pockets at each end of curtains.

Narrow pinch pleats. Small windows or lightweight fabrics may look better with narrow pinch pleats. In this case, use a narrower version of the special tape.

Pencil pleats. Use special tape stiffened with nylon filament. You need fabric 2 to 3 times the width of your curtain track.

1. Join widths when necessary and make side hems.

2. Turn and tack a I in (1-5cm) hem at top of the curtain.

3. From one end of the tape pull out 1 ½ in. (3-8 cm) of each cord. Knot the two cords together and trim off surplus tape.

4. Turn this prepared end under so that the knotted cords are enclosed under the tape.

5. At the other end of the tape pull out an inch or two of the cords and leave free for pleating up. Turn under the edge of the tape for neatness.

6. Make sure that the hook pockets are facing you. Tack tape to the curtain, flush with the top edge. Stitch all round the outer edge of the tape outside the cords.

7. To gather up. Pull the fabric along the cords until it is packed to one end. Spread it out again to the required width and knot the cords to hold it Do not cut off surplus cord; wind it round a cord tidy. Insert ordinary curtain hooks at each end of the curtain and every 3 in. (7.5 cm).

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