No Sew French Pleated Drapes

Jan 29, 2015

I love the look of pleated drapes with their pretty tailoring and perfect folds. Because I don't want to pay for custom drapes I've tried to fake a pleat by pinching the fabric from behind and securing it with a clip. It was better, but it still wasn't quite right. I was frustrated with my messy ready made drapes and just took them down for a while in a few rooms. I decided to check out the pleating tape at the fabric store a few weeks ago to see if I could figure out how to DIY them without having to take a sewing class. I immediately realized after seeing the tape it did not have to be sewn on the drape. I have no idea why it didn't occur to me before, but it can easily be applied to the top of a ready made curtain with fabric tape. Stitch Witchery and Heat n' Bond are common brands. I've used both on fabric projects before and they work great. This one is no exception!

Here are the ZGallerie drapes you may have seen in my bedroom, now triple pleated. I just love the way they hang so nicely now.

I can't wait to show you all the changes I've made in here recently!

The only downside to pleating the drapes is they are a couple of inches too short now, but lowering the rod will solve that problem. I like my drapes to just touch the floor.

Here is how I did it and what I used.

Pleating Tape

I bought mine off Amazon since the one at the fabric store could only be bought by the yard and I had no idea how much I needed. I decided to check Amazon and it was a great deal for an entire roll.

When you lay it out at the top of the drape, the single yellow line goes at the top and the double yellow line goes at the bottom. The vertical white lines are the pockets for the drapery hooks. I don't have them pictured, but you can find them online or in the store. Mine are four pronged with the exception of the single prongs you use at each end of the drape.

Fabric tape

I've bought this everywhere. Walmart, Target, Amazon, and Joann's all has it for just a few dollars a roll. I used less than a roll for two drapes.

I only had a regular hold tape so I decided to use three rows of tape to make sure it would hold.

You'll want to lay out your pleating tape so the pockets at the ends are at equal distance from the edges before you cut it to fit the drape.

Then iron the pleating tape with the bonding tape underneath until it sticks together.

Now, you're ready for the prongs. The single prongs go on the first pocket at each end of the drape. The four prongs can go in the next pocket. After that, I chose to skip two pockets between each prong.

Single prong at the end of the drape

You can see the two pockets I skipped between prongs in this picture.

I attached the round clips I already had to each prong to hang them on the rod.

And, here are both of them finished. I have these pushed further to the sides in this picture. My husband spent too much time and energy on that wood trim to cover it up.

A closer look. They might be a bit wrinkled from being pushed together.

Besides, being very inexpensive it's just a cut and iron project. It took approximately 30 minutes to finish two drapes. The best part is I didn't have to pay an exorbitant price for custom made drapes. You might have noticed I've moved on to my dining room drapes (the gray silk ones pictured above). I'll never have messy drapes again!


  1. Really, it's that easy? It looks so nice and professional! I'm thinking about getting curtains in our family room sometime this year and I really like this look. Thanks for showing us, those prong things always look foreign to me but know I know!

  2. They look perfect! Or will when you lower them ;) Someone told me once that you can accomplish the same thing with those little binder clips. I guess you fold the fabric from the back and then clip it from behind. I've never tried it but it sounds like it might work. Although I'm sure there is some ironing involved too (bleck)

  3. They look great...all you have to do is iron it on and it pleats...I'm going to have to try that!

  4. I love how they look, Jennifer! At first I thought you had giving your sewing machine a try, but hey, easier! I need to buy some of that pleating tape.

  5. Awesome tip!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Hi, looks great! I'm sure you already know pleater tape comes in different styles - smocked-look, all gathering, gathering-space-gathering and others. Also, the hooks come in different lengths. As well, on the longer hooks the actual hook part comes in two lengths - the ones you have have the hook somewhat in the middle of the prongs and the other type has the hook at the top of the prongs. When the hook is at the top it will drop the curtains down about an inch so you might find that will be enough length that you don't have to take your rod down or adjust the length of your drapes. Worth a try!