Making French pleats

French pleats, also known as pinch pleats, are made up of groups of pleats that are tied together at the bottom and produce a fan-shaped effect at the top. They are especially appropriate for floor-length curtains, and can be decorated with buttons or tassels if desired. It is possible to purchase heading tape that can be made into French pleats, but the hand-worked version is extremely attractive and the pleats are less likely to lose their shape.

1) Start by sewing both sides of your fabric then  Fold along the top line to the back side and press. 2) Open the fold and align a piece of  buckram 6 in (15 cm) longer than the width of the curtain along the marked pressed line as shown.

3) Fold in the extra buckram at each end and fold over the extra curtain fabric at the top and Press in place. 4) Fold the buckram strip so the pressed line is again at the top of the curtain and press again. Make sure the bottom edge of the buckram is on the marked line. 5) Measure the width of the finished curtain and calculate the spacing of the pleats. Using pins, mark the pleats on the wrong side of the curtain. Try to make the spaces slightly smaller than the pleat size. my pleats are 7 in (18 cm) wide and the spaces are 5 in (13 cm). 6) Working on the wrong side, fold so the first pin meets the second and pin the pleat along the width of the buckram to secure. Fold the third pin to the fourth and pin. Repeat. Stitch each pleat from the top of the curtain to the bottom of the buckram.

7 ) Working from the right side of the curtain, flatten each pleat with the center along the seam. Using your thumb and index finger, pinch the middle into a pleat. Pinch each side up to make three equal pleats (inset). 8 ) Hold the base of each triple pleat firmly in position with stab stitch. Pull the thread up tight and fasten each one securely. Secure the tops of the folds with slipstitch.

Note: For stronger sewing finish, use polyester thread to sew your drapes and upholstery fabric.


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