Rod pocket curtain panels are a good choice of premade curtain styles to convert to more elaborate header draperies. The rod pocket is internal so the curtain panel is essentially a simple panel rectangle. This makes the conversion process simpler and easier. Determine the header style you want for your drapery look and in a few minutes, you can transform your curtain panels into drapes that use drapery hooks.
Measure the width of your window. To create a header to use with drapery hooks you need to use a pleat or gathering type of buckram header. Buckram header is a 4-inch-wide interfacing material sold at fabric stores. Your curtain panel width should be based on your finished pleat calculation. Use an online pleat calculator to determine the width of flat panel you need for the finished width of pleated drape. Sew panels together along the side to create the necessary width.
Place your premade curtain panel face down on the work table. Measure across the top of the panel. Cut header buckram to the width of your curtain panel. Header buckram's have cording to assist in creating the pleating style you have selected for your draperies.
Pin the buckram header 1/2 inch from the top edge of the curtain. Turn the ends under 1/2 inch for a nice end finish. The buckram header should be drapery loop side out. Some header types have a specific top edge. Sew your header to the curtain panel starting at the top left side. Sew your seam from left to right. Sew above the pockets and cords. Sew additional seams from left to right. Some headers allow you to sew three seams. Most have two horizontal seams. Sew vertical seams to top stitch the ends to the panel. Sew over the cords on the left side. Pull the cords loose on the right side before sewing the end down.
Pull on the cords on the right side while sliding the curtain toward your left. The curtain will gather in the pleating design you have chosen. Tie off the ends of your cords together when you reach the correct width you need for your window. Loop the ends of the cords and pin them to the back top of the header with a safety pin.
Turn the drapery right side up. If you are using a pinch pleat design you will see three pleats gathered together followed by a space. Straighten out your pleats to remove any twisted fabric. Pinch the three pleats together at the bottom of the header. Sew a tack stitch through the three pleats using needle and thread. Repeat for each set of pleats. If you are using a goblet pleat design, stuff the top of your pleat with tissue paper after you sew your tack stitch.
Turn the drapery face side down. Insert the drapery hook into the header material at the center of the pleat or gathered set. The hook point faces upward and the hook faces downward. Hold your drapery up to the curtain rod and insert your first hook into a plastic slide. Support the fabric while allowing the edge to drop. This will allow you to see if you need to adjust the hook. The bottom edge of the fabric should just brush the top of the floor.
Adjust the placement of your hook so that the fabric length is correct. Measure and match the hook placement for all of the remaining pleated set areas so that the drapery will hang level.