Pleating and Fullness
When ordering drapes you should consider how thick the pleats in the fabric should be (click here for more about pleating). This is called the fullness. A drape that is hanging in “zero fullness” is perfectly flat – no pleats whatsoever. A drape hanging in “100 percent fullness” is pleated so that it takes up exactly half as much width as it would if it were not pleated at all. Drapes may be hung with more or less fullness, as is appropriate. Stage drapes, especially grand drapes, are usually manufactured with sewn-in box pleated fullness, which means that the pleats are sewn in permanently. This makes the pleats nice and crisp and even but does not allow you to ever spread the drape out flat. Read below to learn more about pleating and fullness.
Flat draperies are constructed with vertical seams, and can be lined or unlined. Top and bottom finishes can vary depending on the proposed installation.
A versatile method, that lends itself to masking drapes in particular, is to construct the drape as a flat drape. By way of additional grommet placements you are then able to “tie-in” fullness as you hang the drape.
|Box Pleated Drapes|
A box pleat is a flat double pleat that is formed by evenly folding under the fabric on either side of the pleat. This forms a loop on the face of the fabric that is then flattened against the face of the fabric, making a “box” shape, and sewn into place. Box pleating is generally used with heavier napped fabrics, such as velour.
To make a box-pleated drape, the drape is first sewn flat, but at a specified percentage wider than the planned finished width of the pleated drape. The “extra” width is then utilized to form the pleats. The greater the fullness percentage, the larger and wider the pleats will be.
- 50% fullness – The initial flat drape is sewn at approximately 50% wider than the planned finished width, so that 18” of fabric will be pleated to 12”.
- 75% fullness – The initial flat drape is sewn at approximately 75% wider than the planned finished width, so that 21” of fabric will be pleated down to 12”
- 100% fullness – The initial flat drape is sewn at approximately 100% wider than the planned finished width, so that 24” of fabric will be pleated down to 12”.
- 150% fullness – initial flat drape is sewn at approximately 150% wider than the planned finished width, so that 30” of fabric will be pleated down to 12”.
|Knife Pleated Drapes|
100% Full / Knife Pleat
A knife pleat is a single pleat turned in one direction against the face and then sewn in place. On a knife-pleated drape, additional fabric is sewn into the width at the same percentages as box pleating. However, because the pleats are turned in one direction, there are generally a greater number of more narrow pleats, with less face fabric showing between the pleats. It is often used on delicate fabrics, such as chiffons, for drapes with at least 100% fullness.
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