A couple of questions about drapes

marrilynJune 23, 2012

I am ordering drapes for my my family room and I posted a while back about different pleat styles.

My decorator is encouraging french pleats. I am not sure if I like them but I could be talked into them. Do you think they seem formal? I kind of thought so, but she doesn't. She showed me several examples of them in currents mags, so I am assuming they are "current", and hopefully won't be soon dated.

The next question is about a return. She thinks they should have one, that it will just help them look more finished. Again, I am clueless here. I don't think I have ever seen drapes with a return, or if so, I haven't really noticed it. Does anyone here have strong opinions on that?

Last question (for now): In my other thread, les (I think) mentioned drapes with rings, but not pleats. I am having trouble finding pictures of this. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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I can't imagine french pleats will ever go out of style. They can be suited for either casual or formal fabrics. You will probably appreciate the return as it does make the drape look more finished. I personally have enjoyed my pleated drapes much more than the the rod pocket, tab top or clipped drapes. Not there is anything wrong the other styles, I just really liked my french pleats.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 6:30PM
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The link below shows an excellent example of drapes hung with rings & hooks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Drapes & rings

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 7:06PM
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Thanks, bleigh, for the encouragement. :)

And thanks, annz for the video. Those are some really nice examples of non-pleated drapes! But now that kind of makes me wonder---Could a pleat up at the top be removed at a later time (if I changed my mind)? Seems like it would just be a matter of removing a few stitches??

I apologize for the double post of this topic--not sure how that happened.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 9:08PM
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Copying my response from you duplicate post ...

I just had drapes installed in casual and formal areas and used french pleats for all of them. I have always liked the look of french pleats, so that is what I ordered!

My drapes also have returns. The french pleated drapes that came with my last house also had returns. I think it gives a nice finished look and they block the back-of-the-drape view you would get from certain angles.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 9:19PM
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Thank you, chipsa! Could you post any pics of the drapes (and the returns)?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 11:27PM
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>Seems like it would just be a matter of removing a few stitches??

If the drapes were professionally made (and well and properly done) to be french pleated, one would be able to tell you had picked apart the pleats.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 11:32PM
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I like French pleats (Pinch pleats) and I also like drapes with no pleats & ring clips. Of those two styles, I think of French pleats as being slightly more formal.

If you like the look of having a return, I found a site that describes a simple way to create one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Drapery Return

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 6:17PM
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Thank you, laurie, for including that link. I think what my decorator has in mind is something a little different where the rod actually takes a 90 degree turn? I hadn't seen it before that I can recall, so I am wondering what others think of that look.

I am a bit worried that the french pleating will skew towards the more formal....she doesn't think so.

For some reason I don't think the company making the drapes offers a "no pleat" option. At lest I don't recall her showing that to me.

Thanks for your input, writersblock, regarding removing the pleat stitches at a later date. I was just wondering if that could have been a way to have my cake and eat it too if I later changed my mind.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 8:23AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Many rods include a hole in the bracket to hang the curtain return without going through the eye adding process...though it's a great idea if the bracket doesn't include it. Returns are important when the rod projects out from the wall and especially if the window treatment can be seen from the side, say when entering a room. So there are instances, as in the "add an eye" example above where you can return the fabric and not the rod, or there are instances where the rod returns for you and you just hang the drapes accordingly.

If the treatment is such that it leaves the fabric close enough to the wall, then no return in necessary.

Re pleated drapes, pinched pleats and french pleats are two different things.

Pinch pleats are where the pinch is at the bottom of the pleat. Very classic...but old fashioned in my mind as I was doing that 30 and 40 years ago. See picture above for a pinch pleat.

French pleats or brisby pleats are pinched at the top of the pleat. It's a more modern look from the point of view as that's the only type of pleated drape I've seen in the decorating magazines for the last couple of years. IMO they look much better when done with fuller fabrics than with thinner ones.

In either case they can be hung with or without rings, depending on the look you want.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 9:12AM
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You probably won't like what removing the pleat does to professionally made drapes so that shouldn't be a consideration at all at this point. More than likely the seamstress is going to use buckram or some other stiffer material in the header to give a crisp finish to the pleats. Unless you plan to open up the drape up and remove that material it will be noticeable without the pleats.

Do you already have hardware installed over your windows? Maybe you can buy some inexpensive curtains with different headers and just live with them for a few days. You can return them to store. OR maybe your decorator can get her hands on a set or two that she can let you borrow. If you're having this difficult of a time determining what you want you really need to take your time as custom made drapes are quite expensive.

Will be interesting to see what you decide to go with (and I hope you love it for a long time).

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 10:02AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

If you don't like french pleats or pinch pleats, then don't get them.

There are soooo many varieties to drapes that you should be able to get what you want.

You can go with the grommeted..

You can go with back tab:

You can go with box pleats:

You can go with goblet pleats:

You can go with cartridge pleats:

And that's just the beginning.

Your decorator should be familiar with the various styles of window treatments, but if you aren't getting it from him/her then go to the library and check out some books on window treatments. You're footing the bill....you should be happy with what you end up with.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 11:06AM
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Thanks for the continued responses.

I know that I should get what I like because they will be custom and expensive (not horribly though), but honestly, I don't know what I like! I have zero design sense and can get into some serious analysis paralysis! Trust me, I could drag this decision out indefinitely, and I don't want to do that.

For good or for bad, I am often influenced by what others think, so if a bunch of people told me something looked terrible or looked great, I would probably start to think the same thing. :)

My initial instinct was that french pleats looked out of date and pinched pleats looked more current. Seems I was wrong on that one. :)

I do know that I don't care for grommets or tab tops for this room. I want them to look current, and not super casual nor super formal, and since I am fast approaching that age, not "old lady". :)

If I can figure it out, I will try to post pictures. More responses/opinions in the meantime are greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 4:32PM
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We have pleated drapes throughout our home. Our style is transitional/modern/eclectic. I would not have drapes made any other way. They all have returns. Your decorator should allow for the return when he or she measures. Returns give treatments a finshed and professional look when hung.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 7:05AM
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Thanks, jerseygirl. What kind of pleats do you have? Can you post any pictures?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 6:04PM
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