I fell in love with the idea of pinch-pleat curtains while watching HGTV last year and ever since, when I envision curtains on a window, I almost always see a double pinch pleat. Not a triple because I think it’s a little much for me, but double is just right.
I in no way claim to be an expert on sewing, but this is how I made mine, and I’m very pleased with how they turned out.
Iron and ironing board
First I measured and hemmed my curtains to the size I needed them. At the top where the pleats would be, I sewed my seam 1″ from the top.
I laid the fabric flat out in the floor, mostly because I like to look at it, but partly because it’s easier to work with when it’s flat. I then proceeded to measure 4″ in from each side of the fabric and mark it with a pin. This is so that when you lay out the pleats you can make sure you don’t have a pleat on the edges.
Next you measure out the pleats. I wanted small pleats, just enough to add the visual effect of a pinch pleat to the curtain panel, so I measured 3″ for each pleat. I also only did 3″ pleats because I wanted to make sure my panels would still be big enough to fit the window. Once you fold, iron and sew the pleat into place the pleat measures about 1″.
Then you want to leave another 4″ space, so measure and mark that. Continue this all the way across the panel; 3″ for the pleats, 4″ for the space. Now, be warned, your measurements may not fit perfectly. There are all kinds of equations online to help you figure out the precise measurement, but the seamstress who explained to me how to measure out the pleats said she finds it much easier to just decided on the pleat size you want, measure it out, and then make minor adjustments to each pin so that your pleats are spread out evenly.
This step of measuring took me about 10 minutes for my first panel and about 15 for the second. The pieces of fabric were purchased pre-cut on sale so they were about an inch different in their width. The second panel required much more “fudging.”
Next you make your pleats. You start by grabbing your first 3″ section, being careful not to “grab” too violently or else you’ll stick yourself. Fold pin to pin and iron a crease. Then continue holding the pins together and, using your finger, fold the crease down the middle until it’s even with the pins. This creates your pleat. Iron it down, and sew. I sewed 1/4″ below my 1″ seam, but if you want a more dramatic pleat you can sew further down.
Continue this all the way across until you’ve sewn all your pleats. Then drape yours over your balcony banister like I did mine so you can admire them until you decide on which curtain rod you want and can get them hung. Oh, and photograph them, upside down, so I can see how your pleats turned out.