Gathered Curtains Made To Measure Using Extra Deep Pencil Pleat Tape

Gathered curtains with a difference: A customer recently came to us with a very specific brief. A designer friend had suggested she have her curtains made with a gathered heading comprising 6 inch (145mm) pencil pleat tape set approx 3 inches (75mm) below the top of her curtains, to give the desired look for the size and scale of curtains she was having.

The curtains we were making for her were to be 4 metres wide by 2 metres drop, and they were going on a stainless steel bespoke track in a double height barn conversion sitting room.

Examples of standard, gathered curtain headings aboud on the internet and elsewhere (by standard we mean gathering created by positioning 26-28mm pleating tape approximately 4-6 cms below the top of the curtain). But in preparing our proposal it’s fair to say we struggled (even with the might of Google at our disposal) to find any decent snaps to back up our sketches – to show our customer examples of this hybrid gathered heading in action.

So, fast forwarding a few weeks, we thought a blog on this often overlooked but elegant heading was long overdue.

Gathered Curtains - extra deep pencil pleat tape
Extra deep pencil pleat tape is set 8cms down from the top of the curtain to create a gathered heading

The curtains were fabricated from a 100% cotton striped face fabric (Agni shade 4 Mist), and, to keep the project on budget – with 7 widths of fabric to deliver a fullness of 2.2 to 1.

It’s tempting to think that with gathered headings you don’t need the fullness of, say a pinch pleat heading, but you really need between 2.2 and 2.5 to 1 fullness for the curtains to gather sufficiently.

made to measure curtains with gathered headings using 145mm extra deep pencil pleat tape
The extra deep tape keeps the gathered heading in proportion with the size and scale of both the curtains and the room as a whole

When should I opt for curtains with a gathered heading? At risk of stating the obvious, you need to pick a style of curtain heading that is in keeping with its wider surroundings. Gathered curtains look great in country cottages and barn conversions, but in more palatial surroundings a formal, pleated heading might be more appropriate. And from a practical point of view:

Practical tips: gathered curtains are the perfect solution when you want your curtains to ruche above the curtain pole – or to put it another way, gathered curtains wouldn’t really look right sitting limply below the pole. Pleated headings on the other hand hang much better below the pole.

Gathered curtains using 28mm tape with Vanessa Arbuthnott fabric
A more typical gathered heading – 28mm tape positioned about 6cms from the top of the curtain