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Expedited, Low-Bulk Pleated Drapery Method by Susan Woodcock

Hello and welcome to Workroom Tech! I have an updated drapery technique to share with you. If you find this information helpful, please let me know!

Susan Woodcock

Owner, Workroom Tech and Home Dec Gal

Producer, Custom Workroom Conference

There are many different methods for fabricating draperies. I specialize in an interlined, handcrafted product that requires a lot of time to accomplish. I usually use a doubled fold heading and sew hems and tack the pleats by hand. I value those timeless techniques. If you would like to learn how to created interlined, hand crafted draperies, check out my online drapery course at The Workroom Channel. Here is a link to the class description: "Handcrafted, Interlined Draperies with Susan Woodcock"

But there are times when I would prefer to quickly complete a project!

I created this drapery method as an option for budget conscious customers, when a quick turn around is needed. Time is money! An added benefit is that there are fewer layers at the top heading, which makes sewing pleats easier (and you can tack the pleats on your straight stitch industrial machine), and it is a good choice when a tighter stack-back is needed at the window.

See the step-by-step instructions below, including a short video "time-saving tips" to help speed up the fabrication process. If you would like to download and print the instructions, you can use this link: Expedited, Low-Bulk Pleated Drapery

Expedited, Low-Bulk Pleated Drapery by Susan Woodcock

Fabric yardage and cuts:

Finished width x 2.5 times fullness fabric width = number of cuts needed

Face fabric = finished length + 12 inches = cut length

If using a patterned fabric, make an adjustment to allow for pattern repeats.

Cut length x number of cuts needed 36 = number of yards needed (round up)

Lining fabric = finished length + 4 1/2 inches = cut length

You will need the same number of cuts as the face fabric.

Cut length x number of cuts needed 36 = number of yards needed (round up)


1. Fold and press a 4 inch doubled hem in the bottom of the face fabric. Finish with your preferred method: machine or hand sewing, or using a fusible product. If more than 1 width per panel, sew the face fabric pieces together first and add weights at the bottom of each seam before hemming. Fold a 3-inch doubled hem in the bottom of the lining fabric and sew with a straight stitch.

2. Serge across the top cut edge of the lining fabric and apply a fusible tape to the reverse side at the top using a steam iron. Set the lining aside.

3. Place the hemmed face fabric face down on the worktable. If using a grid canvas, the bottom, hemmed edge should be at the finished length plus 4 inches. At the top, apply fusible buckram to the wrong side of the face fabric using a steam iron and inset 3 inches from each side.

4. Fold over the buckram and press, double checking the finished length. If making a multiple width panel, continue across the entire drapery.

5. Place the lining face up, lining up the bottom hems so that the lining is inset 1-inch from the bottom.Smooth the lining over the back of the face fabric. The top, serged edge will be 1/2” down from the top.

6. Peel away the paper from the fusible tape on the back of the lining and press to the back of the drapery.

7. Fold over a 1 1/2 inch side hem on each side, trimming away lining as needed.Finish side hems using your preferred method.Insert weights in the side hem at each bottom corner.For multiple width panels:if hand sewing or using a fusible hemming tape, finish the hem while it is on the table.If blind hemming by machine, pin the side hem and then drag the drapery over to finish the other side, pin and then take it to the machine.

8. Mark pleats and spaces with pins while the drapery is on the worktable.

9. Fold and sew pleats from the top edge, to the bottom edge of the buckram.Form two-finger or three-finger pleats.Adjust the stitch length to 1.5, and sew a small tack at the base of each pleat by backstitching.

10. The drapery is finished and ready for pin hooks for installation.


Face fabric: F1300 Seaside, Greenhouse Fabrics

Lining: Classic Sateen, Hanes Fabrics

Drapery supplies:

4-inch iron-on woven buckram, döfix No Sew, Inc.

3/8-inch Bordenfix tape, döfix No Sew, Inc.

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