Your basket is empty.

How To Buy Curtains Part Three: Heading Styles

So you've measured your track or pole and you've grasped the concept of 'gather', both of which are essential but pretty dull subjects. Well done! As a reward let's go onto a more interesting topic: heading styles!

There are several heading style options. Within the ready-made department, curtains can be found in pencil pleat, eyelet or tab top headings. Within the made to measure department we offer all fabrics with a choice of pencil pleat, eyelet, tab top or pinch pleat headings. But which heading is which and what's the best use of each?

Pencil pleat: This is the most widely available and most popular heading style. Pencil pleat is a versatile, unobtrusive heading. It can look elegant or informal depending on the fabric chosen.



As you can see from the drawing, the curtain is pleated along the top edge. The tightness or amount of pleats is dependent on the amount of gather allowed. We recommend at least two times gather for this style of heading. The pleats are formed by an 8cm/3" tape stitched across the top of the curtain.This tape has strings which when pulled gather the curtain.

fabtasiablog.jpg       Swooshblog.jpg

Pencil pleat curtains are ideal for hanging on a track as the top of the curtain can be positioned in front of the track, thereby concealing it. Pencil pleating is also widely used as a valance heading.

Eyelet: This is fast becoming the most popular heading style. Eyelets add a touch of chic, contemporary style to your curtains.


In the ready made department the eyelets are attatched to the curtain on a heading tape. Within the made to measure department, eyelets are individually applied and are available in a choice of colours: satin silver, brass, gunmetal and old gold. They have an internal diameter of 40mm and are suitable for poles with a diameter of up to 30mm.

boulevard-blog.jpg       miage-blog.jpg

Eyelet curtains form concertina style pleats which makes them ideal for door curtains as they will stack back very neatly.

Tab Top: Tab top curtains enjoyed a long time at the top of the curtain heading charts in the eighties and nineties. They seem to have waned in popularity since the advent of eyelet heading which is a shame. A tab top heading is highly versatile: it can look informal or elegant depending on the fabric.


The tab is made from the same fabric as the curtain and forms a loop through which to thread a curtain pole with a diameter of up to 4.5cm.


Due to the width of the tabs across the pole, we recommend only one and a half times gather for this style. Any more than this will mean that the curtains cannot be stacked back away from the window opening. For this reason, they are unsuitable as door curtains for example, but can look highly effective as display curtains.

Pinch Pleat: Only available as a made-to-measure option, this individually tailored heading style is perhaps the most elegant choice.



Our pinch pleats are hand made to order for each individual customer: If you intend to order this type of heading accurate measuring is essential! The spacing of the pleats is calculated for each customer's measurements ensuring that the pleats are evenly distributed across the curtain and that the correct amount of fullness is achieved. Pinch pleats are best hung from a pole.

Kohinoorblog.jpg       Mosaicblog.jpg 

The curtains open in a concertina style, with the fabric between pleats folding back towards the window. They can be hung from a track but the top of the curtain will need to sit below the track and therefore the track will be seen. The most appropriate way to use pinch pleatsis either in curtains hung form a pole or as a valance heading.

We hope you've found this guide to heading styles useful. More details about gathering guidelines for each heading and examples of eyelet colours can be found on our product information page. If you have any questions please contact us and we will be happy to help.

(9) Comments | leave a comment

  • Sarah | 24 Oct 13

    Hello Susan, yes, we offer a pencil pleat heading option on the net curtains. Just select from the two option in 'select heading style'.

  • susan johnson | 19 Oct 13

    can you put a heading tape on net curtains to hang on a curtain track with hooks?

  • Carole Malagoni | 7 Jun 11

    This is a helpful site with pictures of curtain headings with pole. I want to put a generous brass pole in my hall with two big windows and am unsure as to which heading to use? double pinch pleat or cartridge pleat. Any help would be appreciated. thank you.

  • glenda | 14 Dec 09

    I have 2 x 90inch eyelet curtains for bay windows.any way I can fit them on a rail to avoid catching on the brackets?many thanks

  • Melanie | 14 Jun 09

    Ive just moved house and now have a lounge and bedroom full height bay window - 1 double angled return (130 degree??) Is it possible to hang eyelet curtains/poles at these types of windows??? How can the pole be supported and yet still allow the curtains to flow?

  • Curtains Curtains Curtains | 27 Mar 09

    Hello Mrs Patel! We often receive emails from customers with bay windows asking if we can make curtains for them. Well, the good news is that you can hang any type of curtains in a bay window- there are no limitations! What can be confusing it that you do need a track that will curve and bend around the bay. It is even possible to buy poles that can be fitted into bay and bow windows now, altho... [more]

     Siobhan: It is possible! Please see our post on curtaining unusual windows.

  • Mary | 4 Mar 09

    If only everyone gave such excellent service!From making up my mind(!) having samples sent, ordering - to hangigng the curtains - 6 days. That even allows for the fact that I was away for 2 days.I will be reccommending you to all my friends. Thank you.

  • mrs d patel | 25 Feb 09

    i want advise please, for curtains ,as i've got bay window,what style would be appropriate please. xxxxxthanxsxxxxxx

  • Siobhan McVie | 13 Dec 08

    I would like to put curtains in my bedroom but the window goes up to the ceiling and is the full width of the wall. Is it possible to hang curtains and how could this be done?

Leave a Comment

* Required Fields