Glossary of Drapery Terms


Adjusted Starting Point - Place from which you measure the finished length.  Example: When a heading starts below or above the rod, measure from the bottom of the cafe ring.

Apron - Space below window extending to the floor


Baton - A rod or wand used to hand draw traverse draperies.

Bracket - Metal or wood piece attached to the wall, casing or ceiling to support a drapery or curtain rod.

Box Pleat - A fold of cloth sewn into place to create fullness in a drapery.  Box pleats are evenly spaced and stitched.

Buckram - Stiff material used to make a drapery heading.  4" height is common.  Also called crinoline.


Cafe Rod - A decorative rod used to mount cafe curtains that do not have a rod pocket.  Cafe rods are meant to be seen and add an additional decorative touch.

Canopy - Created by sewing two rod pockets into fabric panel; rod with small projection inserted into the top of the panel and rod with a larger projection is inserted in the bottom of the panel.

Casing of Window - Wooden frame around a window.

Center or Split Draw - One pair of draperies which open and close exactly at the windows center point.                      \/\/\-----><-----/\/\/

Center Support - Used to support a rod or pole to prevent it from sagging in the middle.  It will not interfere with the operation of the rod.

Clearance - Distance from wall to back of the rod.

Cornice - A shallow, box-like structure, usually made of wood, fastened across the top of a window to conceal the drapery hardware.

Crinoline - Stiffening material similar to buckram used in drapery headings.

Custom-Made Draperies - Draperies made to order in a workroom or decorator shop.


Draw Draperies - Panels of fabric featuring pleated headings.


Ease - Allowance added to finished drapery width to allow panels to traverse easily.  General rule is 1/2" per panel on a Two-Way Rod or Center Draw.  Also referred to as Give.

End Bracket - The two supporting metal grips which hold a drapery rod to the wall or ceiling.  The end bracket controls the amount of projection of the rod.


Finial - Decorative end piece on cafe rods or decorative traverse rods.

Finished Length - The distance from the finished top edge to the finished bottom edge of drapery panel.  Includes allowances for poufs, rod take-up, etc.

Fullness - The ratio of the total fabric used less allowances for the side hems and seams to the finished width of drapery.  The fuller the drapery the smaller the distance between the pleats.


Give - See Ease


Heading - The hemmed, usually stiffened portion across the top of a curtain or drapery.

Holdback - A decorative piece of hardware that holds draperies to each side of the window.


Jamb - Inside frame of a door or window.


Lining - A fabric backing for a drapery

Lambrequin - A cornice that frames a window on the top and sides.


Master Carrier - The lead carriages in center of rod when a drapery is closed on a Center (Split) Draw or the end carriage on a One-Way Draw.

Multiple Draw Rod - A traverse rod that allows each panel of draperies to be drawn independently.


One-Way Draw - Drapery designed to draw one way only, in one panel.

  • One Way Left     \/\/\------>  -  When looking at the drapery, the fabric will stack back to the left when opening the drapery and move to the right when closing the drapery.
  • One Way Right   <------/\/\/  -  When looking at the drapery, the fabric will stack back to the right when opening the drapery and move to the left when closing the drapery.

Overlap - The part of a pair of drapery panels which rides the master carrier of a traverse rod and overlaps in the center when the draperies are drawn.  Usually 3 1/2" on each side.


Panel - One half of a pair of draperies or curtains.

Pin-On Hook - A metal pin to fasten draperies to a rod.  It pins into the drapery pleat and hooks to the traverse rod carrier or cafe rod.

Pinch Pleats - A drapery heading where the basic pleat is divided into two or three smaller, equal pleats. sewn together at the bottom edge on the right side of the fabric.
Pinch Pleats 

Pin Setting - The distance between the top of the pleat and the top of the pin.

Pleat - A fold of cloth sewn into place to create fullness.

Projection - Distance from wall to the front of the rod.


Repeat - The space from one design motif to the next one on a patterned fabric.

Return - the distance from the face of the rod to the wall or casing where the bracket is attached.  The amount of drapery that covers the space between the rod and the wall.

Rod Cut Width - Equals the center to center spacing of end bracket mounting screws.

Rod Height -  Distance from floor, sill or apron to the top of the rod.

Rod Pocket -  Fabric sleeve through which rod is shirred.

Rod Width (Traverse Rod) - Measured from outside of bracket to outside of bracket.

Roll Pleat - A soft, rounded, pleating pattern that has equal beauty in the room or the street side.
Roll Pleat


Sash Curtain -  Sheer material hung close to the window glass.  Usually hung from spring tension rods or sash rods mounted inside the window casing.

Sash Rod - A small rod, either decorative or plain, usually mounted inside the window frame on the sash.

Scalloped Heading - A popular top treatment for cafe curtains featuring semi-circular spaces between the curtain rings.

Sconce - Architectural style decorative bracket generally used to create simple swag treatments.

Sill - The horizontal "ledge-like" portion of a window casing.

Slides - Small runners installed in a traverse rod which hold a drapery pin or hook.

Stackback - The space required for draperies to clear the glass when they are completely opened.  General rule is to add 1/2 of window width to allow for stackback.

Stack Pleat - An accordion-like pleat that has an equal beauty in the room or the street side.

Starting Point - Point from which you begin measuring the finished length.

Swag - Section of draped fabric used above a traditional window treatment.


Take-Up - Distance the drapery is shortened when shirred through a rod pocket.  Equal to the thickness of the rod.  It is added to the finished length.

Tension Pulley - Pulley attachment through which the traverse cords move with continuous smooth operation when a drapery is drawn.  Mounted on the baseboard, casing or wall, on one or both sides of the drapery.

Tiebacks or Holdbacks - Designed to hold draperies back from the window to allow light passage or add an additional decorative touch.

Total Width - The finished width times the fullness of the drapery less allowances for side hems.

Traverse - To draw across.  A traverse drapery is one that opens and closes across a window by means of the traverse rod from which it is hung.

Two-Way Draw - Drapery designed to draw two ways from the center at one time in two panels.


Valance - Horizontal decorative fabric treatment used at the top of draperies to screen hardware and cords.


Weights - Lead weights sewn in at the vertical seams and each corner of a drapery panel.  Chain weights are strung in a line along the bottom hemline of sheers to ensure an even hemline and straight hanging.