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Cartridge Pleat Curtain Headings

There’s not a huge amount on the web about cartridge pleats, so we thought it was about time we did a brief blog about cartridge pleat headings.

What is a cartridge pleat? It’s basically a goblet pleat that hasn’t been folded and stitched in at the base. The cylinder runs seamlessly from the pleat into the main body of the curtains, as illustrated in the picture below.

Cartridge pleat curtains in one of our tanjore silks

How do you make a cartridge pleat heading? Well, there are a couple of different ways. You can use rufflette (or other) cartridge pleat tape in conjunction with special pleating hooks. However the method we favour, particularly for heavier weight, lined and interlined curtains, is to stitch the buckram strengthened curtain heading as if we were preparing a goblet heading, but omitting to fold and stitch the goblet in at its base. We then pack a little wadding into the cartridge so that it maintains its cylindrical shape.
What’s the point of a cartridge pleat heading? As with most soft furnishings, you choose a curtain heading for both practical and aesthetic reasons. Dealing first with aesthetics, different pleats work in different surroundings  – from the cottagey gathered heading through to the baronial goblet – with pinch pleats (single/double and triple) admirably filling the gap in between.  From a practical point of view, the pinch pleat and goblet create curtains that stack in beautiful folds, whereas gathered and pencil pleats leave your curtains looking a bit more, well, unstructured or disorganised.
So if you’re after the stacking qualities of a pinch pleat but want something a little more contemporary, then the cartridge pleat is your answer (I’ll talk about eyelets and wave systems another time).

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