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  How to Measure Your Curtains   How to Measure Your Valance   Glossary
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Website by nagualdesign
Last updated: Nov 2006

How to Measure Your Curtains

Use a metal tape measure so that your measurements will be as accurate as possible.

To make things simple we require only two measurements to make your curtains: Total Curtain Width and Drop Height (in inches or centimeters).

First measure the length of your curtain pole or track (A). If you do not have one yet bear in mind that the pole or track should ideally be positioned 6" (15cm) above the window and extend 6" (15cm) either side of the window (excluding finials).

As a rule the width of your curtain material should be at least twice as wide as the pole or track. A wider curtain will give a more luxurious effect. When you supply us with a Total Curtain Width (pole/track length) measurement, we will calculate how much material to use.

Before measuring the Drop Height, decide whether you want your curtains to fit to the sill, below the sill, to the floor or trailing. We suggest that sill length curtains finish 1/4" (0.6cm) above the sill (B), curtains that fall below the sill finish 6" (15cm) below (C), floor length curtains finish 1/2" (1.3cm) from the floor (D) and trailing curtains finish upto 12" (30cm) beyond the floor (E).

If you are using tracks you should measure from the top of the track (F). If you are using poles you should measure from the eye at the bottom of the curtain rings (G). For tab top curtains measure from the top of the pole (H). For slot tops and eyelets measure from 1" (2.5cm) above the pole (J).

How to Measure Your Valance

Measuring up for your valance could not be easier! Tell us the Valance Width (pole/track length) (K) and any Valance Returns (L), and we will use the dimensions of your curtains, as well as our own experience, to help us decide what proportions would look best. Of course if you have your own ideas you can always Contact Us for an even more personal service.

The exception to this rule is the scarf. For those with a flair for design this valance allows for much creativity. Take a piece of string and roughly imagine how you want your scarf to look. Drape the string around the top of your window as if it were the scarf, allowing for loops, knots, etc., then simply measure the length of the string used (to the nearest foot or half meter).


Below is a glossary of terms for different treatments and fabrics, from Antique Satin to Yarn-Dyed.

Antique Satin

Satin weave fabric made to resemble silk satin of an earlier century.


Applying a second layer of fabric to a main fabric, usually with decorative stitching.


Named after Jean Baptiste, a French weaver. Made in cotton, cotton blend, rayon or polyester, it is a sheer, fine muslin, woven of combed yarns and given a mercerized finish.

Bias Binding

A strip of cloth cut on the bias, at 45Ú to the selvedge, which gives stretch to the fabric. Used as an edging, to bind frames or cover piping cord.

Bobble Fringe

Tufted ball attached to a length of trimming.

Box Pleat

A flat, symetrical pleat formed by folding the fabric to the back at each side of the pleat.


A woven ribbon, used for timming or edging an item.


A term used to describe several dissimilar fabrics made with different fibers, weaves and finishes. Originally a silk shirting fabric so named because it was woven in widths exceeding the usual 29 inches. A tightly woven, high-count cotton cloth with a fine crosswise rib. Fine broadcloths are woven of combed yarns, usually mercerized, Sanforized and given a soft, lustrous finish.


Coarse cloth, stiffened with size and used to give rigidity to pelmets.


Glossy fabric finish achieved by pressing cloth between two rollers.


Lightweight inexpensive cotton or cotton blend printed in bright colours.


One of the softest fabrics made, it's name comes from the Anglo-Indian term 'shalee' meaning soft. It is a fine, lightweight, plain weave fabric, usually made of worsted yarns. This fabric may also be referred to as challie.


A plain woven fabric with an almost square count (80 x 76), a coloured warp and a white filling which gives a mottled, coloured surface.


Tufty and soft velvety yarn; wool, cotton or synthetic.


A highly lustrous, plain woven cotton with a bright, glazed surface, generally made by finishing a print cloth construction.


A circular or semi-circular structure fixed to the wall above a bed or sofa with draperies suspended from it.


Fabric made of yarn spun and woven from the seed pod of the cotton plant, frequently blended with other fibers. Popular for home textiles because of natural, environmentally safe properties.


A firm textured fabric with patterns similar to brocade but lighter and reversible. Table damasks are Jacquard woven in lustrous designs.


A twilled fabric made of hard twist yarns, with the warp yarns dyed blue and the filling yarns undyed. Sports denim is softer and lighter in weight.

Dotted Swiss

A sheer fabric with embroidered dots.


A durable, plain weave, closely woven fabric generally made of ply yarns in a variety of weights and thread counts.


Unwoven cloth made from pounded wool; the edges do not fray after cutting.


Decorative fixture attached to each end of a curtain pole.


A flat trim or border running around a pillow of cushion.


Puckers or folds made by drawing on a loosely stitched thread.


A pattern branded onto the surface of velvet.


A plain weave fabric with widely spaced yarns. Some weights of gauze can be stiffened for curtains or other purposes.


A light to medium weight plain weave fabric. It is usually yarn dyed and woven to create stripes, checks or plaids. The fabric is mercerized to produce a soft, lustrous appearance. It is sized to a firm and lustrous finish. The thread count varies from about 48 x 44 to 106 x 94.


The top of a curtain, finished with tape, ties, rings or other treatment.

Heading Tape

Ready-made tape that is attached to the top of a curtain to create a particular heading. Most commonly pencil pleat heading.


A coarse, plain weave fabric loosely woven with irregular, tightly twisted and unevenly spun yarns. It has a hand woven appearance.


Soft material, used as backing or inner lining. Gives curtains a luxurious padded quality.


Fabric woven on looms using 'cards' to determine layered textured patterns.

Knife Pleat

A narrow, sharply folded pleat with a straight edge.


An openwork cloth with a design formed by a network of threads made by hand or on special lace machinery with bobbins, needles or hooks.


A thin, protective covering, bonded to a material.


A lightweight, sheer; fine fabric which can be given a soft or crisp finish. It is sized and calendered to produce a soft, lustrous appearance.


A fabric woven from fibers of the flax plant. Often blended with cotton, rayon or silk to produce a softer touch.

Lining Fabric

A secondary fabric used to back curtains, valances and bedspreads to protect them from light and dust. Usually a cotton sateen fabric with a slight sheen.

Madras Cotton

Striped and checked fine Indian cotton, usually in bright colours.


A soft double or compound fabric with a quilted appearance. The heavier type is used in draperies, bedding and upholstery, whereas crepe matelasse is popular in dresses and suits.


Chemical process used to increase colour absorbing qualities and create a silky gloss on yarn.


The neat diagonal join of two peices of fabric where they meet at a corner.


A watered silk effect on fabrics.


A large group of plain weave cotton fabrics ranging from light to heavy weight. The sizing may also be light or heavy. Muslin can be solid coloured or printed.


A fine, sheer and crisp fabric made with cotton yarn.


A stiff, transparent fabric.


Intricate pattern often associated with Indian or southeast European textiles. Similar to popular Kashmir rugs.


A stiffened peice of fabric that is glued, nailed or hung from a pelmet board positioned above the window.


A medium weight, plain woven printed cotton, such as 80 x 80. Most percales are made of combed yarns with a count of at least 180 threads per inch.


A lenght of chord covered with bias binding and used as a decorative edging.


A type of weave that produces a hard-wearing cloth with a ribbed texture and crisp finish.


A fold or crease that has been pressed or stitched in place.

Provençal Print

French country print on cotton, characterized by small motifs.

Raw Edge

The cut edge of fabric, without selvedge or hem.


Ends of valances or tracks set at right angles in order to extend the valance to the wall.


A gathered strip of cloth used as a trimming.

Seam Allowance

The narrow strip of raw-edged fabric that is left to either side of a stitched seam.

Seam Line

The line formed when two peices of material are stitched together.


A lightweight cotton or cotton blend with crinkled stripes woven in by setting some of the warp yarns tight and others slack.


Finished, unfraying edge of a peice of cloth.


A luxurious and soft yet srong fabric produced from a fibre spun by silkworms.


A voile made in France by a manufacturer who is inspected and licensed to use the word 'Tergal'.


A heavy twill made with a coloured yarn stripe in the warp.

Toile de Jouy

Scenic design printed on fabric. Usually depicts countryside or pastoral scene.

Top Stitch

A straight seam, showing on the right side of the fabric.


Fabric woven to produce a diagonal rib or line, ribbed or ridged.


A strip of fabric that runs across the top of a window or around the base of a bed.


A plush, luxurious warp-pile fabric with a short, closely woven pile. Can be made from cotton or synthetic fibres.


A sheer; transparent, soft, lightweight plain weave fabric made of highly twisted yarns. It can be composed of wool, cotton, silk or man-made fibres.


A thick, soft padding material, made either from cotton or synthetic fibres and used for upholstry and quilting.


An interlacing action used to form fabrics.


The distance from selvedge to selvedge on any fabric.


Fabric woven with yarn dyed before weaving.