How to calculate yardage for pleated curtains - CLASSIC MODERN FABRICS

How to Calculate Yardage for Pleated Curtains: A Step-by-Step Guide

One common way to decorate windows is by using pleated curtains, which can bring a sense of gracefulness and refinement to any space. However, when it comes to calculating yardage for pleated curtains, it can take time to determine the right amount of fabric you need. 

Fortunately, with some know-how and the right tools, you can easily calculate the yardage you need to create the perfect pleated curtains for your windows. In this article, we'll guide you through the process step-by-step, ensuring you have all the information you need to make the perfect pleated curtains for your home.

Tools and Materials You'll Need


Before you start, make sure you have the following tools and materials:

  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Lining fabric (optional)
  • Pleating tape (if using)

Measuring Your Windows

Measuring your windows is the first step in calculating yardage for pleated curtains. To do this, you'll need to measure the width and height of your windows and the length of the curtains you want to make.

  1. To begin, measure your window's width by starting at one side and ending at the opposite side. Be sure to measure the inside of the window frame.
  2. Next, measure the height of your window from top to bottom. Again, be sure to measure the inside of the frame.

To figure out the appropriate length for your curtains, measure from the top of the window frame to where you want the curtains to end. If you wish to have floor-length curtains, be sure to measure to the floor.

Calculating Yardage for Pleated Curtains

calculating fabric

Now that you have your measurements, you can calculate the yardage you need for your pleated curtains. The formula for calculating yardage is as follows:

For flat panel curtains: Width x 2.5 = Total Fabric Width

For pleated curtains: Total Fabric Width / Pleat Fullness = Finished Width

To determine the total fabric width, multiply the width of your window by 2.5. This will give you the fabric you need for a flat panel curtain. Divide the entire fabric width for pleated curtains by the pleat fullness you want. A pleat fullness of 2 is standard, but you can adjust it.

For example, if your window is 60 inches wide and you want to make pleated curtains with a pleat fullness of 2, you would calculate:

Total Fabric Width: 60 x 2.5 = 150 inches

Finished Width: 150 / 2 = 75 inches

This means you need a minimum of 75 inches of the fabric width to make your pleated curtains.

Tips for Perfectly Fitted Pleated Curtains

  • Always add an extra inch to your measurements for seam allowance.
  • Consider adding a lining to your curtains to provide extra insulation and light blockage.
  • Be sure to measure your fabric before you cut to ensure you have enough for all your panels.
  • Use pleating tape to ensure your gathers are even and consistent.
drapery panel


Here are some frequently asked questions about calculating yardage for pleated curtains:

  1. Do I need to add extra fabric for hemming?

Yes, adding an extra inch or two of fabric to your measurements is a good idea to account for hemming.

  1. How do I account for pattern repeat when measuring fabric?

When measuring patterned fabric, be sure to take into account the pattern repeat. You may need more material to ensure the pattern lines up correctly.

  1. Can I use pleating tape for all types of wrinkles?

A pleating tape is a good option for most creases, but it may only work for some complex wrinkles, such as box pleats.

  1. What if my windows are different sizes?

If your windows are different sizes, you'll need to calculate yardage separately for each window. Measure each window individually and use the formula to determine your desired fabric.

  1. Can I use different fabric types for the front and back of my curtains?

Yes, you can use different fabrics for the front and back of your curtains, but calculate yardage separately for each material.

  1. How do I determine the pleat fullness I want?

Pleat fullness is a preference, but a pleat fullness of 2 is standard. You can adjust the pleat fullness to your liking, but remember that a higher pleat fullness will require more fabric.

  1. What if I want floor-to-ceiling curtains?

If you want floor-to-ceiling curtains, be sure to measure from the ceiling to the floor to determine the length of your curtains.

  1. Do I need to pre-wash my fabric before sewing?

Washing your fabric before using it is a wise decision to prevent it from shrinking in the future. Be sure to follow the care instructions on the fabric label.


Calculating yardage for pleated curtains may seem daunting, but it's a simple process with the right tools and knowledge. By following our step-by-step guide, you can determine the fabric required for your pleated curtains, ensuring a perfect fit for your windows. Remember to measure carefully, account for hemming and pattern repeat, and use pleating tape for even, consistent pleats. You can produce lovely and sophisticated pleated curtains for your home with some effort. Check our shop to browse our selection. 

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