How to create beautifully gathered curtains - Lifestyle AU
How to create beautifully gathered curtains

How to create beautifully gathered curtains

If you’ve just bought a new home and are starting out on a journey of home decoration you may have asked yourself how much gathering do you allow for curtains? We've got everything you need to know and you’ll be surprised to learn there’s more to it than you might think.

Words by Yohei Guy

The poet and novelist Anais Nin once said about curtains, "and the very folds of the curtains contained secrets and sighs." This cryptic passage rings true as curtains do hide things but they can also show them off - especially when there's dramatic draping involved. Creating beautifully gathered curtains is a great way of doing exactly that.

Venus Drapery by Zepel

What are gathered curtains?

Gathered curtains most commonly refers to the pleated effect you notice towards the top of a curtain. To put it simply, gather is simply the extra fabric that curtains require. This means that the width of your curtains needs to be a bit wider than the window width and is then gathered up with some sort of sash or string.

How much gather will depend on the type of header you're using. The style of curtain and desired curtain fullness will also play a part in how much extra fabric you'll need. A good general rule of thumb is to double the width of the window to determine amount of material you're going to need. This is often referred to as "two times gather."

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Kennedy FR by James Dunlop Textiles

How to determine how much gathering to allow for curtains

We started off by mentioning the general rule of thumb because curtain gathering can vary a lot.

There are numerous things you'll need to consider to help you calculate how much extra fabric you'll need specifically.

Custom-made or store bought?

The first question you should ask yourself is whether you're planning on making your own curtains or buy ones that have already been made.

Pre-made curtains tend to come in pre-established sizes. 168cm or 228cm are both common curtain sizes, for example. If you're going with store-bought curtains, you'll need to figure out your window's size and get as close as you can with the curtains that are available.

If you're making your own gathered curtains, though, you'll have a lot more control over every single aspect. You can adjust as necessary whether you're making pencil pleat curtains or pinch pleat curtains.

Lighten Drapery by FR-One from Zepel

Type of fabric

The next consideration to help you determine how much fabric to use is the type of fabric that you're using. If you're using a lightweight material like Tulle you're going to need quite a bit of extra fabric to get a full gathered look.

If you're using a heavier fabric like corduroy or wool, on the other hand, you might not want the extra weight that would come with a full two times gather.

Type of heading

You’ll also want to think about how you're planning on attaching your curtains to the rod. Will you be making a tab top? Or eyelet curtains?

Either of these will play a part in how much extra fabric you'll need. The type of connector you'll be using can even have some surprising impacts on your curtains in other ways.

Eyelet curtains tend to fold in an accordion-like fashion, for instance. They almost always look less full than pencil pleat curtains.

Tab top curtains, on the other hand, can only extend so far. It's often recommended to choose one-and-a-half gather for tab top curtains to get the right amount of fullness.

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Raider Drapery by Zepel

Advantages of gathered curtains

Updating your window coverings is one of the easiest and most basic ways you can update your interior design. New curtains can accentuate a conversation-starting piece of decor or a new piece of furniture. You’ll quickly feel like you've got a whole new room.

There are plenty of other advantages to gathered curtains that don't have anything to do with aesthetics too.

Gathered curtains save on utilities

One of the best and most compelling practical reasons to invest in a nice pair of gathered curtains is that they will save you money on your utility bills.

This means that curtains aren't just good for your household - they're good for the environment. Considering how prevalent coal and coal-powered energy is in Australia, it'd be a great public service for everyone to update their curtains and blinds.

Magnet Drapery by Zepel

Let you customise your space

Gathered curtains let you make your room exactly the way you want it. This will enhance your room in every conceivable way as well as the time you spend inside.

Say that you've got a lavish home theatre set up. A nice thick pair of curtains with plenty of gather means there’ll be no gaps when drawn, so you’ll be able to turn your room into your own private cinema whenever you want.

Only your imagination is the limit when it comes to full gathered curtains with many different styles and aesthetics achievable.

Create your own beautifully gathered curtains

As you can see, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you’ve got the right amount of gather for your curtains. The size of your window, the type of fabric and heading and the ook you want to achieve all play their part and by taking those into account yours will definitely look the part.

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