How to Hang Non–Pinch-Pleated Drapes on a Traverse Rod

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Things You'll Need

  • Heading tape

  • Measuring tape

  • Scissors

  • Straight pins

  • Sewing machine

  • Matching thread

  • Drapery pins


Instead of sewing a U, make small 1/4 inch forward-folded pleats in the fabric, sewing from the top of the panel to the bottom of the heading tape, and insert the pins into the back of the pleat.

Traverse rods make it easy to open and close the drapes.

An intermediate skilled home sewer can utilize drapery maker tricks and successfully hang non–pinch-pleated drapes on a traverse rod, hiding the pins and providing enough support for the weight of the drapes. A traverse rod allows drapes to be opened and closed by pulling on a cord hanging to one side of the drapes. The cord connects to pulleys in the headrail, which moves the drapery carriers across the rod. The drapes connect to these carriers by an N-shaped pin, called a drapery pin. One straight, pointed end of the pin is inserted into the back of the drapes, and the other end is hooked through a hole in the carrier. The weight of the drapes hangs on the pins. The construction of drapes includes header tape that reinforces the fabric against the pull of the pins. With careful insertion, the pins will not be visible from the front of the drape.


Step 1

Turn the drapery panel inside out and check for the presence of heading tape. This is a fabric-like piece, typically 4 inches wide, that is sandwiched between the drape and the lining. If none is present, lay a piece between the layers and turn the drape right sides out. Manipulate the tape so it is as close to the top seam as possible and pin in place across the top of the panel. If it is not possible to check between the layers, lay the tape along the wrong side of the panel and pin in place.

Step 2

Measure the space from the wall to the front of the carrier on the traverse rod. Subtract 1/2 inch and double the measurement. This is the maximum space acceptable between drapery pins if the bottom of the carrier rests below the rod. With this configuration, the drape will fold toward the wall, between the pins, when in the open position. If the bottom of the carrier rests in front of the rod, the fabric will fold to the front when the drapes are opened, and the space between pins should not be more than 3 inches.


Step 3

Indicate pin placement marks along the top of the back of the drapes by inserting a straight pin, perpendicular to the top edge, equidistant across the panel. If the maximum space between pins is, for example, 4 inches, insert a placement pin at 2 inches from one edge (drapery panels have a half-space at the inside edge), then at 6 inches, 10, 14, 18, continuing along the top of the panel.

Step 4

Stitch 1 1/2 inches, from the top of the panel toward the bottom of the heading tape, 1/8 inch on one side of the first placement pin. Pivot and stitch across 1/4 inch to the other side of the placement pin, pivot and stitch up to the top of the panel. This creates a "U" that is 1 1/2 inches long.


Step 5

Insert the sharpened end of the drapery pin, just above the bottom bar of the U, through all layers except the face layer of the drapes.

Step 6

Hang the pins through the carriers on the traverse rod.


Linda Erlam

Linda Erlam started writing educational manuals in 1979. She also writes a biweekly newspaper column, "Design Dilemmas," in the "Lakeshore News" and has been published in "Design and Drapery Pro" magazine. Erlam is a graduate of the Sheffield School of Interior Design and is a practicing interior decorator and drapery workroom operator.