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Curtain Fullness

Curtains can be flat or they can have fullness. Fullness is the extra fabric used across the width or sometimes height of the drape. Fullness provides a drape with a richer look. It increases the visual depth of field and provides more light and sound absorption.

The use, look and budget can help determine how much fullness should be added to a drape. Another consideration is whether seams need to be ‘hidden’ within the pleat. Curtains that are sewn flat with a single or many widths of fabric seamed edge to edge are used for drops, cycloramas (cycs) and maskings.

Using one and a half as many widths of the fabric used in a flat curtain yields a curtain with 50% fullness. Using 1.75 times more fabric yields 75% fullness. Two times the fabric yields 100% fullness, and three times as much fabric yields 200% fullness, commonly used for Main Curtains where a rich, full look is desired (Images B-F below). For example, one 54” wide piece of fabric will be pleated down to 27“ to obtain 100% fullness.

Fullness can be manufactured into a drape using a variety of different kinds of pleats or shirring. It can also be “hung in” using Ripplefold (i.e., roll-pleats) or Pipe and Grommet.

Box Pleats
Box pleats create a tailored look and are the most common way to add fullness to a drape. Attachment hardware is placed in the center of each pleat. Typically, drapes are pleated on 12” centers.

Most successful in fabrications with 150% - 200% fullness. Used with light to medium weight fabrics or sheers. Shirring produces a soft, even fullness.

Knife Pleats
This treatment gives a less tailored look than a box pleat, yet a crisper look than shirring. Like shirring, it distributes the fullness evenly across the width of the drape.

Pinch Pleats
Pinch pleats are the most decorative heading. They are often used in front of house locations or windows. They’re normally installed with drapery hooks.

Ripplefold Curtain
Ripplefold curtains have roll pleats with 120% fullness. Snap tape is sewn to the top of a flat drape and then attach it to a Ripplefold track. Best when used with light or medium weight fabrics. Often used for commercial applications or contemporary interiors.

Pipe & Grommet
Large grommets are evenly spaced on a flat curtain that’s made wider than the opening it will cover. Fullness is then created as the drape is gathered when installed on a pipe.