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An easy tutorial for DIY Pinch Pleat Curtains, either with your own fabric or even on existing curtains.


One of the easiest ways to dress up your rooms and give them a more layered look is to add curtains. 

But curtains can be so darn expensive.  It’s one of those things that makes me cringe when decorating a room.  Yes, you can buy nice, inexpensive curtains.  

But sometimes we don’t even have the budget for that. 

And sometimes we really don’t need all that.  

Case in point.  Our kids rooms already have blinds, so I don’t need functional drapes.  I just want something pretty to bookend each side of the window and give their rooms a more decorative feel.  

My favorite type of curtains right now are pinch pleat curtains.  They add instant elegance to any room and you don’t need to fuss with them as much, since the pinch pleats take care of all that for you.  

sitting next to my new diy pinch pleat curtains
Wall Decals

So today, I’m showing how easy it is to create your own pinch pleat curtains.  Since my curtains only needed to be decorative, I didn’t use a ton of fabric and I didn’t even line them.  OMG!!!

They look so pretty and are doing what they’re supposed to do, which is to make the room look more finished.  

pink bedroom with pink bedding, pink walls and pink pinch pleat curtains

However, you might have curtains already that you want to add a pinch pleat too.  And this tutorial will work for you as well.  

Here’s what you’ll learn:  

Let’s go!  

Things you’ll need

DIY Pinch Pleat Curtains – Step by Step

First things first – wash and dry your fabric.  This is so important because your fabric will most likely shrink and that will throw off your whole curtain game.  

After your fabric is washed and dried – iron, iron, iron!  This ensures that your curtains sew up nice and neat and also makes cutting the fabric easier.  (Wrinkles can also throw off your game.)  

Ok, I think we’re ready now. 

Psst:  If you’re starting with pre-made curtains, you can skip to Step 3.  Lucky you.   

Step 1:  Measure and Cut Your Fabric

To keep things as easy and inexpensive as possible, I bought 4 yards of fabric for each window.  That means 2 yards of fabric is allotted for each curtain.  If you want wider curtains, you will need to order more yards.  

Again, my curtains are only decorative.  They are not functional so they don’t need to slide all the way across the window. 

In fact, we will probably never touch these curtains again once they are hung.  Well, we may occasionally wash them or vacuum them.    

pink girls room with basket, white lamp and dresser and pinch pleat curtains
DIY Lamp

For my daughter’s room, I ended up making shorter curtains that end at the bottom of the windowsill. 

She has the pinkest room in America and I found these adorable floral (pink!) fabric that I wanted to use.  Its’ Art Gallery Fabrics from Fabric.com.

These are extremely lightweight cotton but soft and delicate and they make beautiful curtains.  

gray boys room with wall decals and windowpane curtains
Wall Decals

For my son’s room, I made full-length curtains.  Premier Prints is one of my favorite fabric makers and they have this windowpane fabric in ivory and gray.  His room is painted gray (French Gray by Sherwin Williams).  

To keep the cuts as straight as possible, I just folded the fabric in half horizontally (vertically for my son’s curtains) and cut at the fold.  

Step 2:  Sew a hem on your curtains

Let’s not get too fancy or mathematical here.  Just sew a nice little hem all-around your curtains.  I ironed the hem down first before sewing.  

The only part I didn’t sew yet is the bottom.  I do this after hanging so I can see exactly where I want my curtains to end.  

Step 3:  Sew on Pleater Tape

First a little lesson about pleater tape, also known as pinch pleat tape.

You will see some spaced out vertical lines all the way down your pleater tape.  One side will have little holes, or channels, at the bottom of these vertical lines. 

pinch pleat tape being sewed on a curtain

This is the side you want facing you when sewing on your pleater tape.  

Take your pinch pleat tape and align it to the top of the curtain on the BACK and pin it securely in place.  Snip off the excess pinch pleat tape from the end.  

pin pinch pleat tape on your curtain

Important Things to Note Before Sewing:  

  • Your pleater tape is aligned to the back of the curtain (where the ugly hems are).  
  • The pinch pleat channels (holes) are facing you.  
  • The pinch pleat channel openings are at the bottom of the tape (you will be inserting your pinch pleat clip hooks upward)
  • Do not sew over the channels for your pleat hooks!  Then you won’t be able to insert them. 🙂

After you’ve ensured everything is lined up correctly, sew the pleater tape directly to your curtain.  I sew at the top, the bottom (not over the channels!), and the two sides.  

sewing pinch pleat tape on
I did not sew over the channels despite what this photo shows 🙂

Step 4:  Insert your Pinch Pleat Hooks 

Yay!  This is where the magic happens.  Here’s how I created that really nice pinch pleat.  

squeeze pinch pleats together before inserting hook

You will notice that your 4 prong pinch pleat hooks have …..

4 prongs. 

And a little hook. 

The little hook is for hanging on a drapery ring later.   

how pinch pleats look from the front of the curtain

One prong will be inserted in one pinch pleat channel.  

How to Get the Beautiful Pinch Pleat Look

how pinch pleats look

To achieve that beautiful three pleat look, we are going to insert our prongs in every other pinch pleat

So you need to kind of squeeze your fabric together to get them to work.  

Initially, this felt hard but then I got the hang of it.  If you feel like you’re struggling a little bit right now don’t give up. 

You can also pinch the curtain the way you want it first and line up the holes in the back closer together.  

showing how a pinch pleat hook looks in a curtain
I need a manicure.

Or, gently pull your prongs apart a bit to give you more leverage, then squeeze them back together after you put them in.  

I made a video to show you this so be sure to watch it.  

How Far Apart to Space your Pleats

Ok, now that we have one hook inserted, where to do we start the next pleat?

I’m no expert, but I think it’s personal preference and how much fabric you’re working with. Some say to space the pleats anywhere from 3-6 inches apart.

I say to look at your curtain and determine where you want your pleats. I think the more pleats you can squeeze in the better.

The pinch pleat just adds so much. If you want them spaced evenly, then measure the same amount of pinch pleat holes between each pleat.

Or, you can just wing it. Insert one hook at either end, one in the middle and then fill in the rest with whatever looks good.

After you insert your pinch pleat hooks, you may have to do some finessing to get the pleats exactly how you want them. 

For the most part – the pinch pleat tape and the pleat hooks take care of everything!  

Step 5:  Hang your beautiful new Pinch Pleat Curtains!

Woohoo!  We made it!  

Now we just have to hang them.  I used these drapery rings and hung the rings on the rod first.  Then I took my pinch pleat curtains and hung each hook on their own drapery ring.  

how to make pinch pleat curtains, boys room decor

I found it easier to hang the rings up first.  I tried to do it all at once and the rings kept falling off my hooks as I was hanging.  

Finally, once the curtains were hung, I cut off any excess fabric from the bottom and sewed a neat little hem.  

Final touch – Optional 

Some folks like to sew a little stitch at the bottom of each pleat.  This really holds your pleat together and gives it a beautiful look. 

I didn’t do that this time, but I can always go back and add in a little stitch later.  

boys room with navy bedspread and ivory and gray curtains

You can pay a small fortune for pinch pleat curtains and you can totally do it yourself much cheaper.  

I highly recommend the pinch pleat tape and hooks I used.  You get a lot for your money and they are really easy to work with.  

Good luck with your new diy pinch pleat curtains!

Xo Karen