Drapery 101

DrapeStyle has been awarded the Best of Houzz in Customer Service three years in a row.  That’s because we love to help out customers!  We want you to be completely satisfied with your window treatments.  And if we can help you along the way, we are happy to do so.  Feel free to contact us for a quote, fabric samples, or even if you just have a few questions.

Here are some terms that pertain to window treatments:



Bay Window: A window that protrudes outward from the main wall.  Usually comprised of a group of divided windows.

Bias: The diagonal grain in fabric.  The bias grain runs at a 45 degree angle to the straight grain and tends to stretch if pulled.

Blackout Lining: A heavy opaque material placed on the backside of the fabric blocking nearly 100% of light from penetrating through the drape.  Often used in hotels, media rooms or any application wherein privacy and darkness are required.

Blind Stitch: A sewing stitch so made as to be invisible on the right side and often nearly invisible on the wrong side.  DrapeStyle blind stitches all hems.

Box Pleats: Inverted tailored pleats which create a classical boxy look. See “Pleat Guide”.

Bracket: Attaches to the wall or ceiling and used to support a drapery rod.

Buckram: A heavy stiff fabric which is used to support or stiffen the header of the drapery panel.  Also known as “Crinoline”.

Bump Interlining: A very heavy weight interlining made of cotton flannel.  Placed between the fabric and lining for added insulation and thickness of the drape.

Flat Striped Roman Shade

linings stacked







Cascade Roman Shade: A shade constructed with evenly spaced horizontal pockets reinforced with rods.

Cartridge Pleat: A round pleat measuring 2-1/2 inches in diameter supported by a stiff paper which can be removed for cleaning.

Cornice: A decorative wooden, fabric, or foam header placed above a window to conceal drapery hardware.

Cotton: A woven fabric made of cotton yarns produced from a blend of cotton and chemical fibers or obtained by weaving cotton and mixed threads.

Crinoline: A heavy stiff fabric which is used to support or stiffen the header of the drapery panel. Also known as “Buckram”.

Curtain: Usually unlined, a curtain is a panel of hemmed fabric hung from a rod at the top of a window.



Drapability: How well fabric can fall or flow into folds.

Double Bracket: Attaches to the wall or ceiling and used to support two drapery rods.  Usually used to hang sheer drapes and decorative drapes on the same window.

Dupioni Silk: Sometimes known as dupion or douppioni, silk dupioni is a shimmering silk that is created by weaving silk threads of two different colors into a weave that seems to change colors as the silk is moved in different light. Constructed with threads made from rough silk fibers that are harvested from double cocoons or single cocoons that are spun side by side and interlocked.



End-Bracket: The brackets on each end of a drapery pole, affixed to a wall used to support the drapery pole.

End Cap: Decorative end-piece on a drapery rod.



Fan Folding: A method of folding pleated drapery into a long band to decrease or prevent wrinkles.

Finial: Decorative end-piece on a drapery rod.

Finish: Product applied to fabric as a protection against water marks and fading.

Flannel Interlining: A heavy weight interlining made of cotton flannel.  Placed between the fabric and the lining for added insulation and thickness of the drape.

Flat Pleat: Also known as a “Flat Panel” the top of the drapery panel is finished with buckram tape to keep the panel firm at the top. Drapery hooks are installed on the back of the panel which attach to the eyelets of the drapery rings.

French Door:  A door with rectangular panes of glass extending the full length. Usually hung with a pair of doors in one frame, with both doors opening outward.

French Pleat: A traditional drapery pleat which is “pinched” allowing the top part of the pleat to fan. Also known as Pinch Pleat.

Fringe: A decorative trim sewn onto the edges and hems of drapery panels.

Fullness: Refers to the width of the fabric in relation to the curtain rod or other mounting.  DrapeStyle’s draperies are made with 2 times fullness.  Sheer draperies are made with 2 ½ times fullness.


Ivory Rusche - TrimAdelaide-Glass-Rose-Gold

Dane Braid Tassel - Trim







Grommet: A drapery grommet is used to reinforce the holes which are cut through the fabric allowing a drapery rod to be passed through.



Hand Woven Silk: An incredibly luxurious natural silk that is hand spun on century-old looms in India. The soft texture has natural imperfections and unique weave that make it the perfect fabric for custom drapery.

Heading: The top portion of the drape which usually consists of a pleat or stiffener material.  DrapeStyle uses a standard 5” buckram heading.

Hem:  The edge or border of a garment, drape, etc., especially at the bottom.  DrapeStyle uses a standard 5” double bottom hem and 1 ½” double side hems.

Holdback: A decorative piece of hardware that holds draperies to either side of the window.

Hooks: Drapery hooks are used to connect the drape to the drapery rings. They are attached to the top back of the drape and behind the pleats. DrapeStyle only uses heavy duty long lasting steel plated drape hooks.



Inside Mount: A drapery rod or shade which attaches to the inside of a window frame.

Inverted Pleat: A neat and tailored style of pleat, similar to a box pleat.

The Linen Hotel Drape in Eggshell with Silver Banding and Inverted Pleat  Relaxed Gate Grey Roman Shade







Jamb: The interior side of a window frame.



Kravet: Established in 1918, Kravet is an industry leader in to-the-trade home furnishings. This fifth-generation family business distributes high end fabrics, furniture, wall coverings, trimmings, carpets and accessories.



Linen: A textile made from the fibers of the flax plant.  Linen is laborious to manufacture, but the fiber is very absorbent and garments made of linen are valued for their exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather.

Lining: Fabric used as a backing for drapery. DrapeStyle’s standard lining provides body and fullness, light control, and privacy.

London Roman Shade: Gathered at the sides for a casual elegance & softness. When lowered the balloon shape is visible at the bottom of the shade.



Martyn Lawrence Bullard: Bullard is an international designer who is widely known for his eclectic and always stylish interiors, mixing period and ethnic pieces into modern environment.

Mulberry Silk: The highest quality silk available for purchase.  Mulberry silk has its history in China, where local farmers grow mulberry leaves for silkworms to feed on. The resulting cocoons are spun into raw Mulberry silk fibers.  Because the silkworms of the Bombyx mori moth are fed only mulberry leaves, the resulting silk is some of the finest available in the world.

Scarlet Mulberry Silk, Cartridge Pleat

Martyn Bullard for Schumacher

Sienna Mulberry Silk, Inverted Pleat







Outside Mount: A drapery rod or shade which attaches to the outside of the window frame.

Overlap: Refers to the size of the area that the right panel of the drapery will overlap the left panel when the draperies are completely closed. The purpose of the overlap is to ensure that the drapery panels meet properly, and that there is no separation between the two sides when the draperies are drawn. DrapeStyle uses a standard 3 ½” overlap.



Panel: A single unit of drapery comprising of one or more widths or cuts.

Parisian Pleat: A pleat style that is tacked at the top of the flute allowing the fabric under the flute to fan out.

Pattern Matching: Stripes and patterns are lined up with the repeat to produce professional looking drapes.  DrapeStyle makes every effort to pattern match draperies and Roman Shades.

Pillow/Throw Pillow: A bag or case made of cloth that is filled with feathers, down, or other soft material.  A small pillow on a chair, couch, etc., primarily for decoration.

Pleated Roman Shade: A neat and tailored style of shade that lays flat when lowered.

Polyester: A strong and durable synthetic fabric. Polyester dries quickly and can be washable or dry clean only. Polyester is often used as a blend with other fabrics to lend wrinkle resistance. It is not the easiest fabric to remove stains from, and doesn’t breathe as well as other fabrics may.

Projection: The distance from the front of the drapery rod or bracket to the wall on which it is mounted.

Puddle: When drapery panels are allowed to drape and puddle onto the floor to create a soft, full look.




Relaxed Roman Shade: Features a relaxed bottom of the shade and sophisticated softness while keeping the tailored look of the traditional flat roman style.

Repeat: How often the pattern is duplicated within the fabric. One repeat is one full pattern.

Return: A way to cleanly finish the top of a window treatment by enclosing the hardware and the top of the drapery.  A return is measured from the front of the rod to the wall.  DrapeStyle uses a standard 3 ½” return.

Ring: Used to hang a drape from the drapery hook onto a drapery rod.

Robert Allen:  For more than 75 years, Robert Allen has been serving the residential and hospitality design community by offering premium fabrics, luxurious furnishings and ground-breaking design services that are relevant and timeless.

Rod Pocket: A stitched pocket at the top of the drape is gathered or shirred onto a curtain rod.

Roman Shades: A Roman Shade is flat when lowered and covers the window glass completely.  It is raised horizontally through a series of cords.


Flat Striped Roman Shade

kirsch rings

Flat Trellis Midnight Roman Shade


Sateen: A tightly woven cotton fabric resulting in a smooth and shiny finish.

Schumacher: F. Schumacher & Co. is a privately held company based in New York City and Newark, Delaware, that designs high quality products for the interior design industry in the United States.

Sheers: A sheer drape is the type that allows the most light through the fabric, which also means it offers the least privacy.  May be made from natural or synthetic fibers.

Shot Tape: A small diameter cotton tube that is filled with a single line of approximately 1/8 inch lead balls to form a continuous cord.  This cord is placed in the bottom hem to add weight to the curtain.  DrapeStyle uses Shot Tape for Outdoor Draperies.

Silk: A fine lustrous fiber produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons, especially the strong, elastic, fibrous secretion of silkworms used to make thread and fabric.

Splicer: Used to connect two drapery rods together.

Sunbrella: From awnings to marine to casual furniture, Sunbrella fabrics have led the industry with extensive styles and colors while providing sun and mildew protection.

Swag: One or more pieces of fabric draped over a rod, typically used at the top of a window treatment.  Also known as a festoon.



Taffeta: Taffeta is a crisp, smooth woven fabric made from silk fibers.  The word is Persian in origin, and means “twisted woven.”  It is considered to be a “high end” fabric, suitable for use in ball gowns, wedding dresses, curtains and wall coverings.

Tassel: A pendent ornament consisting commonly of a bunch of threads, small cords, or other strands hanging from a roundish knob or head, used on clothing, in jewelry, on curtains, etc.

Tie-Back: A loop of cloth, cord, etc., which is placed around a curtain or drape to hold it open to one side.

Traverse Rod: A horizontal drapery rod in which drapes slide to open or close when pulled by cords.


Red Ball - Trim

Emperor Drapery Tassel Red-BronzeRed Rusche - Trim







Velvet: A type of woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are evenly distributed, with a short dense pile, giving it a distinctive feel.  Velvet can be made from either synthetic or natural fibers.



Weights: Drapery weights are placed just inside the hem to help the curtains stay in position and improve the fabric drape.  DrapeStyle adds drapery weights to all drapes.

Width: Refers to the width of fabric when it comes of the bolt. One width is one piece of fabric, may be any length, which can be sewn to another piece of fabric.


DrapeStyle Welcomes Robert Allen to our Collection!

DrapeStyle is very happy to introduce Robert Allen Fabrics + Custom Drapery to our Collection. Known for great design and reasonable prices Robert Allen has been a Designer’s fave for decades.

We are featuring some great new colorways and designs that will really lend themselves to gorgeous custom drapes. Our Staff favorites are the “Blossom” fabrics with a very classic “bird in tree” theme. We also love the “Scrolls” and “Belle Porte”. If you are looking for something a bit more simple you really can’t get any more simple than the “Simply” collection of solids in really great shades. We’ve also included a bold stripe that works great when we pleat your drapes and pattern match the fabrics.

Oh, and the best part is that they are all in 100% Cotton so they are quite reasonable and easy to care for.

Keep checking back for more new options soon!

Robert Allen Custom Drapery at DrapeStyle
Robert Allen Custom Drapery at DrapeStyle