Tracks, Tapes & Hooks

The benefits

These have the advantage of being relatively inexpensive, with tracks and hooks widely available. They can provide close control of the pleating of the curtains. The type of tape heading defines how the curtains will pleat and the width of fabric needed for a given window size. One great advantage of using plastic tracks is that they can be used to follow curves around corners. Therefore, they can be used in bay windows. There are many types of ready made headings, but the most popular ones are described here.

Universal Tape

This type is most widely used on lighter weight and relatively short curtains. It has a central woven pocket and two draw cords. With only one hook position no height adjustment can be achieved in situ. Typically, a fabric fullness of 1.5 to 3 times track width can be achieved with this tape, but a width factor of 2 is common.

Gathering tape

A very neat tape to use on heavier curtains. It is available, usually, in two depths. The larger (70mm) has four draw cords and two hook positions. It provides good control over pleats. The smaller (45mm) has 3 draw cords, giving slightly less pleat control. For both depths a curtain width factor from 1.5 to 3 times track width is possible, but for larger width factors the deeper tape is recommended.

Pleating tape

Again, the most common depths for this type of tape are 45mm and 70mm. Arguably, this type of tape gives the neatest pleats. It should always be used with a curtain width factor of 2. The 45mm tape has 3 cords and two hook positions and the 70mm tape has four cords with two hook positions. Remember that with hand-working the heading a variety of styles of pleating can be achieved, from pencil pleats to pinch pleats. The look you want is up to you.

Multi-pocket tape

This is a type of pleating tape that gives detailed height adjustment. This is valuable to overcome slight measuring errors on curtain rail height. Allowance can be made, as well, for some material shrinkage in the curtains. It does this by providing seven hook positions in a tape depth of 70mm. It has four cords, giving close pleat control. As for pleating tape a width factor of 2 is advisable.