Back to blog home

made to measure measuring guide: pencil pleat curtains.

get a flawless fit with our measuring guide for made to measure pencil pleat curtains.

You've pored over your free fabric samples, decided on a design, and settled on made to measure pencil pleat curtains. You’re only a few steps away from a window treatment transformation, and the next task is getting your measurements just right.

Pencil pleat curtain headings consist of tightly gathered fabric folds, creating neat pencil-like pleats that run across the top. They can be fitted on either a pole or a track – though if using a pole, you will need curtain rings. There's nothing like a pair pencil pleat curtains that sit just right, so use our handy measuring guide to perfect the look first-time.

measuring + fitting your pole or track.

Before you start sizing up your made to measure pencil pleat curtains, you’ll need to correctly install a curtain pole or track. Either of these can be used to hang pencil pleat curtains, but you’ll need curtain rings if using a pole.

A graphic showing the minimum distance required between a window frame and a curtain pole, in terms of both height and extension on either side.

To start with, make sure that your pole/track extends at least 15cm beyond either side of your window frame. This extra length ensures that your curtains have enough space to open and close completely.

If you're using a curtain pole, exclude any decorative ends (or ‘finials’) from your measurements as shown. Your curtains won’t be sliding over them. For thicker fabrics like chenille or velvet, this extension should be closer to 30cm on either side.

Botanist Black Floral Made to Measure Curtains

Next, consider the height at which you want your pole or track to sit. The right height can make your ceilings seem higher and your room look beautifully spacious – and who doesn’t want that?

To get this perfect, look at the space between the top of your window and the ceiling. Your curtain pole or track should ideally sit between halfway and two thirds up this space.

If you've got high windows that run close to the ceiling, try to ensure that there's at least 15cm of space between the top of the frame and your curtain pole/track.

measuring the width of made to measure pencil pleat curtains.

Once you’ve got a curtain pole/track that’s long enough and fixed at a suitable height, it’s time to find the width of your made to measure pencil pleat curtains.

A graphic showing the correct area to cover when measuring the length of a curtain track for made to measure pencil pleat curtains. A graphic showing the correct area to cover when measuring the length of a curtain pole for made to measure pencil pleat curtains.

Width is the easiest measurement to pinpoint. Simply measure your curtain pole/track from end to end, again excluding any decorative finials.

Do not just measure the width of your window! This is a common mistake, and you’ll end up too little fabric and curtains that don’t meet in the middle.

Measuring for a bay window? While this can seem tricky, we promise it’s not too complicated. If you’ve already fitted a pole or track, all you need to do is measure the length of each straight section. Add all these measurements together, and voila! You’ve found the width of your pencil pleat curtains.

measuring the drop/length of made to measure pencil pleat curtains.

Now for the fun bit – choosing the length of your made to measure pencil pleat curtains. When measuring for length/drop, your starting point depends on whether you’re using a curtain pole or a track.

You’ll need curtain rings if hanging pencil pleat curtains on a pole.

When measuring for length, use the centre – or ‘eye’ – of these rings as your starting point.

If you’ve gone for a track, simply start your length measurement from the top of it.

You should always make three measurements when finding the length of your curtains. Measure once from the left side of your track/pole, once from right side, and once from the middle.

The reason for this is that floors tend to be slightly wonky and are rarely perfectly level. Use the shortest of these measurements if you want a floor length drop, as it will ensure your curtains sit just above the floor.

The length of your curtains is entirely up to you, but here are three of the most common options:

A graphic showing the the correct drop for short length made to measure pencil pleat curtains, 1cm above the window sill.

short curtains.

A perfect option for practicality, short curtains are ideal for busy households. They usually sit either 1cm above or 15cm below the window sill.

This keeps your curtain fabric well clear of sticky fingers, muddy paws, radiators and other obstacles.

A graphic showing the correct drop for floor length made to measure pencil pleat curtains, 1cm above the floor.

floor length curtains.

Floor length curtains drop to 1cm above the floor, giving any space an instant touch of class.

Given the generous amount of fabric involved, floor length curtains are great for showing off statement patterns and colours – providing plenty of space for your chosen design to shine.

puddled/pooled curtains.

Puddled or pooled curtains drop an extra 10-20cm from floor length, causing fabric to gather in bunches on the floor. It’s a romantic and relaxed look, usually reserved for quieter spaces with a lower risk of damage or staining.

The pools of fabric may need adjusting when your curtains are opened or closed, so it’s not the most practical option. However, when paired with heavy, textured fabrics like velvet or chenille – a luxurious puddled length is hard to beat.

And there you have it – everything you need to know about giving your made to measure pencil pleat curtains a faultless fit. It’s important to remember that we can’t refund your curtains if they don’t fit right, so getting your measurements right is crucial. Double and triple-check every measurement you make, and get yourself a helper to make the whole process run smoothly.

Can’t decide which curtains to go for? Order up to 10 fabric samples completely free, and get a hands-on idea of what your curtains will look and feel like. We offer samples across our entire made to measure curtains range, and our fabric samples guide takes you through the entire process.

We’ve got four different heading types and lining options to choose from, so make sure to check out the rest of our measuring guides, and consult our curtain buying guide for a full rundown of the range.