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A heading is a combination of materials and design elements used to construct the top hem of a flat panel of fabric in a specific manner in order to create fullness and, or enable it to be hung as a window treatment. The style of the heading you choose imparts a personality to your treatment. It is one of the most critical decisions made in the design process.

Headings are used to create:

  • Drapery panels
  • Curtain panels
  • Valances
  • Shades

There are three types of headings:

  • Pleats
  • Rod pockets
  • Hanger headings

Pleated Headings

A pleat is a small section of fabric at the panel heading that has been folded and sewn in place to create fullness.

  • Pleats create uniform proportion and spacing at the panel heading.
  • Pleats allow the smooth operation of the panel while opening and closing on hardware.
  • Pleats create a smaller, cleaner stack back than other types of headings.
  • Pleats provide uniformly spaced draping.
  • Fabric can be pleated by hand, by machine, or by using drapery pins or commercial pleating tapes.
  • Fullness of the panel can be manipulated by adjusting the size of the pleats the spacing between pleats, and the number of folds in each pleat.
  • Pleats are cost effective due to the simplicity of design and construction
  • Pleats allow versatility for one panel to be used with multiple types of hardware. They can be pinned directly to a traverse rod, pinned to decorative rings, mounted on a board, or attached directly to a cornice or valance.
  • Pleated panels cannot be laid flat for cleaning and pressing.
  • When using fabrics with large patterns or repeats, take into consideration how the pattern will be affected by the pleat. Try to adjsut the style and spacing to pleat to the pattern.

Rod Pocket Headings

A rod pocket is a fabric panel in which the top hem is folded to the back and topstiched through the face to create and open "pocket" through which a drapery rod can be inserted.

  • Pocket headings allow the use of economical hardware options.
  • They are cost effective due to their simplicity of construction.
  • The same panel can be used with straight or specialty shaped drapery rods.
  • Panels can be easily removed and laid flat for cleaning or pressing.
  • Pockets can be placed at both the top and the bottom of the panel.
  • The rod pocket should be made 2 to 2 1/2 times the size of the diameter of the drapery rod to be used for easy insertion of the rod and to prevent bunching.
  • Always use color-coordinating heavy-duty thread to stitch the seam for the rod pocket.
  • Pocket headings can be both casual and formal.
  • Pocket headings are simple and easy to construct for the home seamstress.
  • Simple one-pocket panels shirred on a sash rod make great cost-effective stationary side panels for most top treatments.
  • Rod Pocket panels are not appropriate for a functional drape and will not open and close on a rod.
  • You must allow for a take up allowance in the length of the panel due to shortening that occurs once the panel is shirred on the rod.

Hanger Headings

Hanger headings are made using elements such as rings, tabs, ties, loops, and grommets to hang the panel.

  • Tie, tab, and ring headings allow the versatile use of many different types of traditional and nontraditional hardware.
  • They can be lightweight and casual, as well as luxurious and formal.
  • Flat panels can be easily removed for cleaning or pressing.
  • They can use less fabric and require simple construction making them cost effective.
  • They can be easy to construct for the beginner.
  • Always self-line the full heading on fat panels to avoid seeing exposed lining as the panel droops between hangers.
  • Tab, tie, and loop headings will not operate smoothly on a rod.
  • Ring and grommet headings will operate smoothly on a rod.
  • Consider using a drapery wand with rings and grommet headings to help open and close panels and reduce stress on the heading.