Which Curtain Heading to Choose?

When you have spent a long time deciding which fabric to buy for your new curtains, it can also be hard to choose the right curtain heading.  Your choice will depend on the curtain track or pole you have.  No curtain heading is right or wrong, but choosing the right heading can make a difference.  You want your curtains to drape well, stack back neatly and work effortlessly.

For some tips on what to choose, here are some of the most commonly used headings:

Pencil Pleat – The most popular curtain heading.  Pencil tape headings have adjustable cord strings that are are pulled up to the required width.  The Pencil tape comes in a 3” depth (most commonly used on ready made curtains) or a 6” deeper tape heading (often used for extra long curtain drops). These tapes are adjustable, but a 2.5 to 3 times fullness is suggested.  They are often used in bedrooms and under a pelmet.   Great for hiding a track but they do not stack in neat folds very easily.


Pencil pleat curtains

Pinch pleat are hand sewn headings and can be made into single, double or triple pleats depending on choice, budget, track or pole.

Double Pleat  (also known as tulip pleat) Minimal, curtains stack back well.  Suitable for track and pole.  This heading needs slightly less fullness than the triple pleat heading.

Double pleat heading

Single Pleat  Popular because of it’s simplicity. Stacks back away from the window into a small space.

Single Pleat heading

Triple pleat (also known as the french pleat) is smart, classic and formal.  Suitable for elegant drawing and reception rooms.

Triple pleat heading

Cartridge Pleat  The Cartridge Pleat is similar to the Pinch pleat and is useful if a Wave style is desired and your budget is limited. The Cartridge Pleat doesn’t need the Wave mechanism track/pole so can be installed onto an existing track/pole.  Requires less fullness in the fabric and can stack back into a small space.

Cartridge pleat heading

Wave   This heading style will need a Wave mechanism track/pole to operate which can be added only to certain tracks/poles at present. The wave mechanism spaces the curtain equally between each ‘Wave’ (folds). This heading is smart and contemporary and great for bi-fold doors or wide windows.  Curtain does not overlap unless an overlap arm is added to the wave mechanism.

Wave heading

Eyelet  (or ring top) This heading is only suitable for poles.  The metal eyelet is in the fabric which is threaded onto a pole.  Eyelets come in different sizes and colours to match your pole or fabric.  The fullness should be twice the pole length and there needs to be space above the pole for the curtains to open and close effortlessly. The eyelet heading  is very low maintenance and suitable for rental properties.  There can be gaps on the leading edges as this style does not overlap.  Not ideal for bedrooms, as there is too much light seepage.

Eyelet heading

Cottage Pleats ( or 1″ gathered) An informal soft gathered look.  The 1 ” tape is sewn a couple of inches down from the top of the fabric to give a ruched gathered flop!  Great for curtain poles and tracks and suitable for small windows.

Cottage pleat heading

There are lots of other styles of curtain headings but the ones listed below are ones I use very infrequently.

Ruched onto pole

Euro pleat

Tab Top


Box pleat

Inverted pleat

Dropped Goblet

Many thanks for taking the time to read my curtain headings blog.  If you still have a dilemma deciding which heading to choose please contact me through this website or give me a call on 07747611160.  Best wishes, Sarah