Curtains Buying Guide

It is very important to get the right size curtains to ensure they hang and look as they should. All too frequently, measurements are taken as the window measurements, the end result being too short, and too narrow curtains.

To ensure you get the correct width :

1. Measure the width of your track or pole.

2. Multiply the width by 2 or 2.5 times, depending on how "gathered" or " full" you would like your window to look.

To ensure you get the correct length :

1. Measure from where the curtain will hook onto the pole or track (so for eyelet and tab top curtains, it will be at the top of the pole) , to where you would like the curtain to finish hanging. This will be dependent on the look you want to create, and whether there is furniture or radiators under the window, which you may not want to cover. If you would like your curtain to sit on the sill, measure to about a quarter of an inch above the sill, to ensure the curtains can be drawn easily.

Curtain headers

The most common curtain headers are pencil pleat, eyelet and tab top.

Pencil pleat headers have a header tape at the top of the curtain, with a cord running through it. This cord is used to create the pencil pleat heading (you can decide how many pencil pleats, and spaces between the pencil pleats you prefer). Curtain hooks are then used to attach the curtain, to the track.

Eyelet curtains are more modern and contemporary. They have a ring running through the top of the curtain, through which a pole goes through. The width of the ring will vary from curtain to curtains, as do thickness of poles. Ensure the diameter of your pole is smaller then the diameter of the eyelet by a sufficient amount to allow the curtain eyelets to glide easily across the pole.

Finally, tab top curtains are similar to eyelet curtains, but suspend from the pole by loops of material. However, unlike eyelet curtains, there will be gaps between the loops, to create the tab top effect.

Hanging pencil pleat curtains

Hanging pencil pleat headed curtains is a relatively easy task, but until shown how, seems to flummox a lot of us. Here is a step by step guide, which will hopefully make the whole process a bit clearer.

Having finally chose the right colour, fabric, style, size and heading type, of your curtains, ready made curtains will usually arrive pre-packed tightly in retail packaging. They will invariably have creases in them so depending on the fabric, they can be hung up straight away and you can let the creases fall out naturally, or give them a gentle press (be sure to read the care instructions first!).

The header tape will be at the top of the curtains, and will usually be 5 to 7 inches wide. The tape will have 3 rows of strings going through it. You can choose to put your hooks through any of the rows, depending on how long or short your required length is. The threads are usually about 1 inch apart, so it gives you 5 inches to play with to get the right length.

Pull the strings on one end slightly and tie a knot at the end. Tie a knot at the end of all three strings. This will ensure that the string does not put all out of the curtain header tape. Now, at the other end of the curtain, pull the strings so that the header tape starts to gather. You want to gather it, so that the curtain is just over half of its original width. Once you have done that, check that the size is right but putting your curtains over the window. You can change the size by either pulling the sting some more to make the curtains smaller in width, or pulling or relaxing some of the pencil pleats to make them wider. When you have got the correct size, tie a knot in the string so the pencil pleats stay in place.

You can now put your hooks into the curtains. The hooks should be put 3 to 4 spaces apart, depending on how many hooks you have got. Once the hooks are in, your curtains are ready to hang on the track.

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