When hanging up curtains or drapes it’s a good idea to know your options. There are many different types of panels to use; here is a list to help get your started along with some great examples.
Rod-pocket panels are made of lightweight fabrics and unlined for a more casual feel. To put up rod-pocket panels, the curtain rod simply slips through a channel sewn into the top of the panel. The tighter the fit, the more dramatic the shirring; for a ruffled header, sew a pocket a few inches down from the top so when the rod is pushed through, the fabric above it fans out to form a ruffle. Rod-pocket panels are normally used in closed position or held back with decorative tie-backs.
Panels with rings are used to hang on decorative rods that are accents or a drapery’s jewelry to add sparkle and shine to your room and window treatment. Wood or metal rings are hand-tacked along the panel’s top edge or inserted into a panel specially made for this type of hardware, then the hooks or rings slide through or are hung onto a rod.
Designer Tip: This type of window treatment is perfect for a patio window that needs to be accessible, since it’s easy to open and close.
Pleated panels are the classic style of drapery panels that withstand the duration of window fashion and trends. Pleats are formed with the help of header tape that is available by the yard at fabric stores. Sewn from the panel’s back, the tape forms pleats when pulled together. The hooks are then inserted into the tape and hung on rings, or traverse rods, which use a cord-and-pulley system for opening and closing the panels. There are several styles of pleats, all of which are sewn into a panel’s top edge to create a decorative header; here is a list of some different styles.
- Pinch Pleat is the most common pleat, which is a series of equally spaced single, double, or triple pleats that are pinched in the center, forming fans about and below the pinch.
- Goblet pleat is like a triple-pinch pleat, except the pleating about the pinch is embellished with a stiffening paper or card to form a wineglass silhouette.
- Pencil pleats are thin single pleats formed in neat, taut folds.
- Cartridge pleats are single pleats that are spaced more widely and rounded at the top.
- Tuxedo pleats are larger pleats normally hung on a decorative rod creating a contemporary and formal flair.
Tap-top panels are loops of fabric sewn into or onto the valance’s top seam. The panel hangs flat from these tabs, providing the opportunity to showcase fabric prints and patterns. This look is often found in country or cottage style bedroom ideas where simple checks, stripes, plaids, or floral panels are featured.
Designer Tip: One bit of information to know about tab-top panels is that they’re normally stationary, since drawing them across the rod can be a bit of a burden; therefore try to use them on a window that doesn't need to opened on a regular basis.