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Curtain Header Styles

In the "Fabric for soft window treatment" blog, you got an overview about curtain fabrics and how to make the right choice of fabric for your desired window covering. In this blog, let us understand the different header styles, also known as stitching styles, of curtains and drapes.

A curtain header is the fabric at the top of the curtain that attaches to the curtain rod or curtain track. The style of the header will determine the flow and look of the finished curtain as well as the type of rod or track that should be used to install the curtains.


  1. Rod pocket

  2. Pinch pleat

  3. Two or three finger pleat

  4. Box pleat

  5. Inverted pleat

  6. Goblet pleat

  7. Tab top

  8. Ripple fold

  9. Grommet or Eyelet

Let us understand in more detail the styles most in demand in today’s market and most recommended by interior designers.


This is the most common and convenient style of curtain header. At the top of the curtain, a pocket of at least 3 inches is created by folding the fabric, through which a 2 ½ inch drapery rod can pass through. With this style, you do not need rings or hooks which makes it simple and cost efficient.

Recommended fabric:

Light weight fabrics are used for rod pocket drapes as they slide easily on the curtain rod. Heavier fabrics may get pulled and are harder to operate.


The more the fabric is gathered at the header, the more elegant the curtain looks.

Install the curtain on rods for best results. Using decorative finial ends enhances the style of the curtain.

Mostly this style is recommended for the smaller windows for decorative purpose, like in kitchens and for sliding glass doors. Here, the purpose of the curtain is to serve more as a decoration and ease of operation can be ignored. In this circumstance, a rod pocket would work best.


Two or three fingers pleat - The header style is created by gathering two pleats (two fingers) or three pleats (three fingers) to form a single pleat by stitching them together at the middle. This pleat style is also known as French pleat style.

Inverted pleat - The pleat pinch created is stitched at the header instead of the middle like in French pleat.

Box pleat - The fabric is folded at the front and the back, forming a flat boxy pleat at the header.

Goblet pleat - The fabric is folded to the shape of a goblet hence the name goblet pleat.

Recommended fabric:

Light as well as heavy fabrics can be used for this header style. Blackout fabric and cotton linen blend fabric looks best if designed in this style.


The fullness of the curtain plays a major role in the pinch pleat style. The required fullness for the curtain is calculated according to the width of the space you want to cover. For example, for smaller window the required fabric width should be 1.5 times the width of the window. For covering the full length of a door or window (this means ceiling to floor and wall to wall) the required fabric width should be 2 times the width of the door or window.

Install the curtain and drape on a decorative curtain rod or on a track, by hooking each pleat to the curtain rings. For heavy drapes, the track system is recommended to provide easy and smooth operation. Automated tracks are now available in market, too.

This stitching style is in demand in commercial as well as residential areas due to the elegant look it gives to the drapery.


Tab top style means stitching a loop on the header of the curtain through which the curtain rod can slide through to hang the curtain. This is the most cost effective and simple style of curtains.

Recommended Fabric:

Lighter fabrics are preferred.


The loop on the header can be designed in different color fabrics or designer fabrics, for styling or to give elegant look. Decorative buttons or threads are also used sometimes to tie the loops to give a stylish look.

Install the curtain on decorative curtain rods because the rod is visible through the loops. Use decorative finial ends to get a finishing look.

Mostly this style is used for smaller windows or for glass doors and for sheer or lighter fabric. This style is mostly designed to give a country style look to the décor. Though they are cost effective, they are hard to operate if heavy fabric is used or a longer width is covered. The sliding motion is a little stiff due to fabric loops and so they are best recommended for the windows or sliding doors where décor and styling is the main purpose and not easy operation (for example in kitchens).


This style is also known as the s-shape or wave style. S-shape is formed with the help of snaps at the header of the curtain. This makes the operation of the curtain easy and convenient.

Recommended fabric:

This style can be used for lighter as well as heavier fabrics. Velvet, polyester, and sheer fabric looks great with this style.


This style fits both modern as well as traditional looks. Fullness is the main aspect of this style. Calculation of fabric width is important to get the desired fullness of the curtains and drapes.

Tracks are used for installation of these style of drapes. Tracks used for this style are sturdy and sleek and require less space on the ceiling to install.

This style is mostly designed for hotels. It is also designed for high ceiling windows for residential areas.


This style is stitched by punching holes and putting either plastic coated or metal rings on the header of the curtains. This style is cost effective because you do not need rings or hooks to hang the curtain.

Recommended fabric:

Heavy as well as light fabrics can be used for this style.


Designing the header with a contrasting color or darker shade compared to the fabric color also provides styling and elegance to the curtain. Different color metal rings are now available.

Decorative rods are used for installing these curtains because rods are visible through the rings. Use decorative finial ends to get an elegant and finished look.

For longer widths and heavier curtains, this style is suitable as it is easy to operate.

All the above styles are custom stitched by Aadiaum. For consultation book us online.

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