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Simple Pencil Pleat Curtains Tutorial

Pencil pleat curtain tutorial

This pencil pleat curtains tutorial is written by Pippa Blacker.  Find out more about Pippa by visiting her site


Main fabric

Lining fabric

Pencil pleat heading tape the length of the un-pleated fabric.

Curtain weights

Curtain hooks

Basic sewing equipment

You can find a range of affordable soft furnishing fabrics and curtain making accessories at Terry’s Fabrics. 



If you are new to curtain making, a modest pair of unlined curtains with a simple heading tape is the perfect place to start. You will be delighted with the results and hopefully be inspired to try a different heading, or a pair of interlined curtains on your next attempt!

1. First measure the window (see our guide here) and calculate how much fabric you need.

2. Cut out the finished number of widths required remember to add extra for pattern repeats if necessary.

3. Carefully matching any pattern, machine the necessary widths together for each curtain. (If your window is small you may only require one width or less in each curtain.) Press the seams open.

4. Now repeat the steps above for the lining fabric. Press over a double 5cm hem at the base of the lining and machine into place.

5. Lay the main fabric flat, wrong side up. Press over a double 10cm hem at the base of the fabric. Open out the fabric again revealing 2 pressed lines along the bottom edge of the curtain.

6. Press over the two side edges of the curtain with a 5cm single hem and open out again.

7. Mitre the corners, fixing a weight into each corner before slip stitching.

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8. Herringbone stitch the hem line and two side hems into place.

9. Place the lining, right side up on top of the main fabric, matching the hems together and any seams so that the lining is positioned well.

10. Fold over the side edges of the lining, leaving about 2cm of the main fabric showing and making sure that the bottom corner of the lining fits as well as possible to the diagonal stitched line of the mitre.

11. Pin the lining into place. Stitch the leading edge of the lining to the leading edge of the curtain using slipstitch.

12. Locking in the lining helps to keep it from moving out of place.  Fold the lining back from the right leading edge to about 50cm away from the left edge, keeping it straight, starting at the bottom use large herringbone (aprox 20cm) to loosely lock stitch the lining to the face fabric. Continue across the curtain at about 50cm intervals until you reach the right hand side again.

13. Fold over the side edge of the lining, as before leave about 2cm of the main fabric showing and make sure that the bottom corner of the lining matches up the mitred corner, creating a neat finish. Slipstitch the lining into place.

Lined curtain tutorial

14. With the lining now secure along the two sides of the curtain, slipstitch the lining to the base hem on each side for aprox 15cm. The opening hem should then be secured at 50 cm intervals with chain stitch.

15. Adding the tape – measure up from the bottom the finished length of the curtain and mark with tailors chalk onto the lining. Cut away any extra lining above this line of tailors chalk. Fold over the main fabric onto the chalked line. This turnover will be concealed by the tape. Position the tape on the turnover as close to the top of your finished curtain as you can. Fold over the tape at both edges. Secure the stings with a knot under the tape on the leading edge. Leave the ends loose at the back edge of the curtain for pulling up the pleats.

16. Machine stitch the tape into place, careful to keep the fabric smooth underneath.

Curtain pencil pleat tape

17. Pull all the stings together until you have created the required finished width of your curtain. Secure the strings with a knot and finish with a ‘cord tidy’.

18. Position the hooks along the tape at regular intervals matching the given number of rings or gliders on the pole or track. Your curtain is ready to hang. Repeat the above steps to make the other side of the curtain, remembering to reverse the leading edge so that the two leading edges meet in the middle.

Sewing curtains with header tape

Happy decorating!

Contact: Pippa Blacker 07790 81 31 91

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For other soft furnishing tutorials from Pippa visit our techniques page and click the home decor tag.