Using drapery gathering tape

034There are many types of pleating and gathering tapes for making different types of draperies. I’m going to show a basic example of a gathering tape with four threads. There are also gathering tapes with as few as two strings. For heavier fabrics, choose a wider pleat/gathering tape. Many of these tapes accommodate multiple types of drapery pins, from pinch pleat hooks to two-prong hooks to simple pins.

Note: This is not a full curtain tutorial. Please excuse any wrinkles and imperfect pleats. We will be offering a full tutorial on pinch pleat curtains in the coming months.

We currently have tutorial up for fully lined curtains with interlining and grommets here and simple rod-pocket curtains here. We also have a tutorial for a simple valance here.



Lovely Indigo
Lovely Indigo
Gathering tape
Gathering tape








The process





Gathering tapes come in different widths. Some have just two strings, some have more. For heavier fabrics, use a wider piece to get better gathers. This one has four strings.


Make a narrow hem on either side of your curtain panel.


Make a large hem on the top and bottom. Fold over an inch or so and press.


Then fold over about four inches and press. This needs to be a little wider than your drapery tape.

Cut your gathering tape so it’s a little shorter than the width of your curtain panel. But cut the strings longer than that if you have the extra width — meaning, clip the strings farther out, then pull them out so they stop at the edge of the curtain panel and then cut the gathering tape a bit shorter than panel width. My strings are short in the next picture, but you see what I mean.



See what I mean by having the strings stick out further? I didn’t have enough to cut longer strings, but it’s much easier if you do. What I did was tie the top two together at either end and the same with the bottom two. That formed little loops to tug on and also kept it from pulling right out the other end, which would really not be fun, would it?


Stitch along the top and bottom of the gathering tape.


Start pulling the strings to gather the curtains.


Here, I’ve pulled it really, really tight.


You can loosen it a bit …


And make looser gathers.


Or even looser still. It’s all up to you. (Again, excuse the fact that this is just a sample and I haven’t made it look smooth and pretty.)


Here it is from the back side.


Tie off the strings when you get it how you want it. You can then insert your hooks right into this tape.