Terms & Definitions



Accordia Pleat:
a pleating style where the top of the drapery is sewn to snap tape which is attached to snap glides forming a soft “S” shaped or a sinusoidal heading typical in contract drapes.

A-Frame Window:
very contemporary house structures sometimes form an "A" shape. When draperies are used. they hang from the cross beam of the "A", or they can be fabricated and installed to conform to the shape of the window.

a decorative piece of molding below the sill (or stool) of a window frame.

Arched Valance:
A valance treatment that is arched along the lower edge.

Arched Window:
a window in the shape of a half circle. Often placed over a door or other windows for decoration and additional light.

Austrian Shade:
a fabric shade that is gathered or ruched along the pleats and raises and lowers in soft scallops by means of a series of rings threaded with cord. Usually made from softer fabrics, laces or sheers.

Awning window:
windows that are hinged on top and swing outwards to open; usually rectangular and wider than they are long.


Balloon Shades:
fabric shades with deep inverted pleats that fall into airy, rounded poufs or "balloons" at the bottom. Raised and lowered using cords and rings.

Balloon Tie-backs:
curtains which, when tied back, form a rounded sort of cloud shape. Also see bishops sleeve draperies.

Basement Windows:
opposite of awning windows, these windows swing inward due to a hinged bottom.

a rod or wand used to hand draw transverse draperies.

Bay Window:
three or more adjacent windows set at an angle in a recessed area. Commonly with window seats or in a breakfast nook area.

Bell Valance:
a gathered or pleated valance which has a number of bell-like or trumpet-like shapes at bottom of the treatment.

Biased or Bias Cut:
fabric cut diagonally at typically 45 degrees to allow the fabric to strectch when sewn. Usually used with welt cord or with checked fabrics for an interesting trim.

Bishop's Sleeve:
Tie-back curtains or drapes which have been bloused or cinched up creating a bishops sleeve appearance.

a hard window treatment (not fabric), consisting of horizontal slats or louvers raised and tilted by a series of cords.

Bow Window:
a curved wall with 4 or more adjacent closely spaced windows forming a gradually curved or rounded appearance. Similar to a bay window - but more curved.

Box Pleat:
a deep inverted tailored pleat which create multiple small flat panels of fabric with spaces of backward folded fabric between them creating a classic tailored look..

metal hardware attached to the wall or casing to support a drapery or curtain rod, blinds, or shade.

Break Length:
A drapery length that is about 1/2" to 3" too long creating a semi-cuffed appearance allowing the drape to angle into the floor creating a softer edge. Se also; Puddled Drape.

Brighton Shade:
Similar to a roman shade without ribs allowing the sides of the bottom pleats to fall or fan out creating a relaxed look. The shade is usually scaled 20%x60%x20% with the center section being wide. Also called a London Shade or a Relaxed Roman Shade.

A weighty, typically formal, fabric in silk, cotton, wool or combination. It is distinguished by a raised pattern or floral desing with a jaquard weave.

a rigid 4-5" wide band of polyester fabric used to form pleats and give body to drapery headings. Also called Crinolin.

A heavy, soft and thick felt like fabric used as an interlining to add fullness and insulation to drapery treatments. Especially common in colder climates.

Butterfly Pleat:
a two-fold pleat which flares out at the top and is bar-tacked at the bottom.


Cafe Curtains:
A window treatment that covers only the bottom half of a window. A cafe rod is most often hung at the halfway point of the window, at sash level.

Café Rings:
clip-on or sew-on rings used to hang café curtains.

Café Rods:
small, round decorative rods used to mount café curtains.

A three-sided shaped or straight cornice that "frames" the window - across the top and down the two sides. It is made of hardboard, padded and covered with fabric.

Cape Cod Curtain:
a cafe curtain decorated by ruffle around the bottom and sides. This is also a ruffle-round curtain.

small runners installed in a transverse rod which hold a drapery pin or hook.

Cartridge Pleat:
a round un-tacked pleat approximately 1-2" in diameter at the top of drape.

Side panels with a zigzag bottom hem and a flat folded top. Cascades usually flank swags but can be used with other valance treatments. Cascades should be either self or contrast lined since the lined side is visible at the bottom hem.

Cased Heading:
Similar to a rod pocket, a drape or valance top hem is folded over and straight stitched forming a rod pocket. See also-Header, Rod Pocket.

Casement Window:
A vertical window that opens in or out, often operated with a crank mechanism.

A tunnel of fabric created by stitching parallel seam on folded fabric. A curtain rod is threaded through the casing. See also cased heading, rod pocket.

A frame around a window or doorthat covers the joint between doorjamb or window jamb and the surrounding wall surface.

Cathedral Window:
slanted window often found with cathedral ceilings; top of window follows the slope of the ceiling. Many times it is left untreated.

Center Draw:
A pair of draperies that draw open and closed from the midpoint.

Center Support:
Bracket hardware used to support a drapery rod or headrail on long spans, reducing sagging.

A cotton fabric that is coated with a resin to give it a sheen, often in a floral or other overall print.

The distance from the wall to the back of the drapery rod. See also; return length, projection or returns.

Clerestory Window:
A window located near the ceiling, these windows are usually inoperable and often sit above other windows to provide additional light.

Combination Rods:
Two or three drapery rods sharing one set of brackets. They are used when installing draperies with sheers, or to create any layered look. Combination sets can include traverse only, both traverse and curtain rods, or several curtain rods.

Contrast Lining:
A decorative colored or patterned lining used to accent the main treatment. Typically used with cascades, jabots and treatments where an exposed lining is visible.

Conventional traverse rod:
a cord-controlled drapery rod. Both length and the distance it projects from the wall are adjustable. Available in one or two way (split or center) draw.

Corbel Bay Window:
A second story bay window.

Corner Window:
A corner window literally wraps a corner of the building at right angles.

Corner Windows:
windows that meet at right angles at the corner of a room.

Cornice Box:
A decorative fabric covered and padded wooden box valance used to conceal drapery hardware. Cornice's can be shaped, straight or curved and usually include welt cording around the perimeter. See also; Pelmet, Lambrequin.

Cornice Pole:
A curtain pole with rings, used for heavy curtains.

Cottage Curtains:
A window treatment combining café curtains on the lower half of the window, with tied back curtains over them.

Country Curtains:
A curtain with tails that have ruffles around the perimeter and ruffled tiebacks. Usually made from cotton mini-print fabrics that are gathered on a rod for a casual appearance.

A polyester stiffening material used to provide support in drapery headings. See also; buckram.

A curtain is a panel of hemmed fabric hung from a rod at the top of a window. Curtains are usually informal, unlined and the finished length usually ends at the windowsill.

Custom Made Treatments:
Products made to exactly fit unique window dimensions. They include draperies, pleated shades, vertical blinds, and mini-blinds.


A Jacquard-weave material made of cotton, silk, wool or a combination with a satin, raised design. Widely used for draperies.

Decorative Holdbacks:
Decorative hardware mounted to the side of the window to hold back drapery panels.

Decorative Traverse Rod:
A cord-operated rod designed for draperies to hang from decorative rings operated by a travese rod. The rod has a finished appearance whether the draperies are open or closed. Usually made from chrome, wood, brass or antique wrought iron.

Diaphanous Sheers:
Drapery used for the purpose of day-time privacy. The finely woven transparent fabrics filter out glare. Also known as glass curtains.

Dormer Window:
A projecting window set in the slope of a a roof. In the interior, often a bedroom or attic, the window sits within the resulting alcove-like space. Typical of a Cape Cod style architecture.

Double Fullness:
200% fabric fullness, meaning, the fabric is twice as wide as the width of the treatment it is going to cover.

Double-hung Window:
The most common type, consisting of two sashes, one atop the other, which slide up and down or open and close.

An unfinished, round, wooden rod in various diameters and lengths.

Drapery Hooks:
Pin-on and slip-on hardware used to hang drapery from the rods.

A window covering which is usually hung from a traverse rod. Draperies most often have pleated headings which may be lined or unlined.

A technique of looping and securing fabric in graceful curves and folds.

Draw Draperies:
A pleated treatment designed to be drawn open or closed using a traverse rod. Drapes can be drawn from both sides to the center (center draw) or from one side to the other (one-way draw).

Dress Curtains:
Inoperable curtains used for decoration only.


When a pleated heading is made slightly wider than the rod to allow for a fabrics natural tendency to pull back when closed.

End Bracket:
Hardware at each end of a rod that hold a drapery rod to the wall or ceiling. They also control the amount of projection.

End Pleat:
The final pleats in a drapery. The pleats hook into the end bracket and the master carrier.

English Sash Window:
A sliding frame consisting of a number of rectangular shaped glass panels. Also called Renaissance sash.

Envelope Shade:
Casual curtains attached to a mounting board and hung as a pair of flat panels. The bottom inside corners are pulled out and hooked onto the wall.

Extender Curtain Rod:
A piece of curtain rod that fits onto another rod to lengthen it.


Fabric Sliding Panels:
Panels of fabric which are drawn with a baton. These are flat, overlapping and are installed on a track rod.

Face Fabric:
The main, outer fabric used in a window treatment.

The strip of fabric that is sewn to the raw edge of a fabric and folded back to the wrong side.

Fan Curtains:
The same as the fan shade, but used on half circle windows with the fan facing up. A curved curtain rod is required to install fan curtains.

Fan Folding:
Fan folding helps to obliterate wrinkling, set the folds and give better drapery. This is done by folding pleated draperies into a thin band.

Fan Shades:
Arcs of fabric pulled together in the center by cords and rings fastened to the back of the shades. The arc, or fan, faces down. When lowered, the shade becomes a flat panel.

A board or rectangular shape, set horizontally with the purpose of covering a curtain heading or shade fixture.

Festoon Blind:
A blind that is ruched down the whole of its length, so that pillows are formed when the blind is raised.

A decorative drapery treatment of folded fabric that hangs in a graceful curve, and frames the top of a window. Also see; Swags and Parisian shade.

An attachment placed at each end of a curtain pole, historically to stop the rings from falling off, but commonly used as a decorative addition.

Product applied to fabric as a protection against water marks and fading.

Flat Folded Drapes:
A fan folding technique where the pleats are folded into large pleats to simplify installation and minimize the creasing of pleats common with traditional fan folding.

Flemish Heading:
A goblet heading in which the pleats are hand sewn together along their base forming an upward cone or goblet shape.

(or skirt) A self valance attached to the top of a drapery. Also, a skirt on a piece of furniture.

French Door :
A door with with rectangular panes of glass extending the full length of the door. Usually hung with a pair of doors in one frame, with both doors opening outward.

French Pleats:
(or pinch pleats) This is a three-fold pleated heading with a crinolin or buckram tape and is the most common drapery style.

A decorative trim sewn onto the edges and hems of curtain panels, pillows and furniture.

Refers to the width of the fabric in relation to the curtain rod. Most window treatments are two to three times fullness.


Goblet Heading:
Curtain headings consisting of hand-sewn tubes whose tops are stuffed with wadding or contrast fabric and the bottoms are sewn together forming the goblet shape. See Flemish Heading.

Group Pleat:
A set or cluster of pleats with a space between them. See, Queen Anne valance.


A rectangular canopy above a bed, extending only partway down the bed from the headboard.

Hand-Draw Draperies:
a drapery treatment pulled open or closed by hand or with a baton.

top edge of a rod pocket curtain, which forms a ruffle when the curtain is gathered onto the rod.

The horizontal area at the top of the curtain. Its style determines how a curtain hangs.

Curtain hardware made of metal, wood or glass. It is attached to the wall near the edge of the window, and used in place of a fabric tieback.

Hopper Windows :
These windows are hinged at the bottom and open inward from the top - the reverse of awning windows.

Hourglass Curtains:
Used on a French/glass door. Panel is shirred on rods top and bottom and brought together and tied in the center to form an hourglass shape.


Inside Mount:
a window treatment installed between the jambs inside the window frame rather than over the window casing.

Soft felt like material sewn between the curtain and its lining to add body, reduce light, improve insulation, and soften the look of thin fabrics.

Inverted Pleat:
A pleat with a clean sewn edge facing the room, where the pleated or gathered side faces the wall. See also; Kick Pleat.


A self lined usually tapered piece of fabric either folded, pleated, gathered or loose; hangs vertically on either side of swags to fill the voids where swags meet the board. See also; Tail, Cascade.

A woven fabric using a loom that originally used punched cards to produce detailed intricate designs.

Jalousie Window:
A window made up from a number of moveable horizontal glass louvers or slats that can be opened using a crank mechanism delivering good ventilation properties.


Keystone Arch:
A Roman style semi-circular arch with an angled block centered at the top originally for strength, currently mostly decorative.

Kick Pleats:
Similar to box pleats but space further apart. See; Inverted Pleats, and Box Pleats.

Knife Pleats:
Narrow, closely spaced, and and finely pressed pleats usually used to add pattern and interest to a simple solid fabric.

A loose and casual technique used to arrange and hold scarf swags and panels.


An elaborate decorative shaped surround to a window. Similar to a cornic with sides that continue down the sides of the window. Can be upholstered or ornately painted wood.

A fabric added to the back of a drapery or valance to increase durability, reduce fading, control light, conserve energy, unify the exterior appearance and make the panels hang better. Usually a cotton/ polyester blend in white, ecru, ivory or other lighter colors. See also; interlining, contrast lining, and black out.

Slats generally made from metal, wood or plastic. These can be vertical or horizontal and are used for blinds and shutters.


Master Carrier:
The lead carrier of a traverse rod that has an overlap arm that allows drapery panels to overlap completely preventing light gaps.

A series of 1-inch horizontal metal or plastic slats, which are held together by a ladder cord and a lift cord. They can be tilted and lifted. Micro-miniblinds are similar except that the slats are 1/2-inch.

A sewing technique for creating a flat corner where two hemmed edges meet.

A fabric finish on silk or acetate, intended to resemble water marking. The fabric must be dry cleaned.

Mounting Board:
A wooden board installed either inside or outside the window frame to which some types of window treatments are attached. Usually lined and attached to the wall using corner brackets.

A thin structural wood trim molding between two smaller windowpanes within a larger window.

Multiple-Draw Rod:
A single rod where multiple drapery panels are independantly operated.

A thin plain weave cotton fabric usually with a low thread count, unrefined for upholstery and lining applications.


A fabric with a fiber direction such as a corduroy and velvet. A fabric with a nap will often look different when viewed from various directions so care must be taken when cutting and assembling napped fabrics to assure that the fabric all runs in the same direction.


One-Way Draw:
A traverse rod where draperies stack on one side and draw or pull to the other.

Outside Mount:
The wall mounted installation of a window treatment outside the window casing or sill.

Over draperies:
The first or outside draperies visible in double rods or combination drapery treatments. Usually a over drape will be a stationary sidepanel that’s mounted over an operable drape that’s mounted over an operable sheer.

The 2-4" area where drapery panels cover over each other at the center of a two-way traverse rod.


Palladian Window:
A group of three windows with an arch over the center unit.

Fancy edgings or trims which emphasize the shape of the curtain, such as fringe, tassels, braid, and ruffles.

Pattern Matching:
To align a repeating pattern when seaming together two pieces of fabric.

British term for cornice or valance.

Pencil Pleated Heading:
A heading formed by a pleating tape which create a row of narrow, densely packed rounded 1/4"-1" rounded cylindrical folds.

Picture Window:
large window allowing an unobstructed view. Frame holds a fixed piece of glass.

Pinch Pleats:
A common drapery heading where the basic pleat is divided in to two or three smaller, equal pleats tack sewn together at the bottom edge on the right side of the fabric. See also; French Pleats.

A trim edging made of bias-cut fabric encasing cording. Common dimensions vary from 1/8"-2" in diameter. Used as an accent trim in upholstery, pillows, cornices, table skirts and window coverings. See also; Welt Cord.

Fabric-covered cording used to emphasise the edge of a curtain, pelmet of tieback, often let in at a seam.

Pleater Hooks:
Metal hooks that are inserted into pleating tape to create a pleated look.

Pleater Tape:
A stiffened drapery heading tape used to make pinch pleats using pleater hooks.

Pleating Tape:
A 1"-6" wide cotton, polyester or nylon band or tape with internal strings that, when pulled, gather the sewn on fabric into various styles of pleats. Common style of tapes include: Pencil, french, shirring, box pleats, inverted, smocked, and cartridge pleats.

Plinth Block:
A square of decorative wood installed at corners of window frames.

Priscilla Curtains:
A pair of overlapping, ruffled, tieback curtains hung on crisscross curtain rods so the panels crisscross in the center.

The distance from the front of the drapery rod to the wall on which it is mounted.

Puddled Drape:
Extra long side panels allowed to lay/puddle onto the floor to create a soft, full look. Typically puddled treatments are 12"-48" longer than a just to the floor drapery length. See also; Break Length.


A puffy fabric look created by sewing fabric through a polyester batting with a lining underneath. Quilting can follow a fabric pattern or can be stamped and sewn in geometric designs. Common in bedding.


Refers to using fabric horizontally rather than vertically. Fabric without a nap or a directional design can be railroaded easily. Used to avoid seams in long lengths of fabric.

The distance between pattern repetition. One repeat is one full pattern length. Most printed fabric have a horizontal repeat across the width of a fabric and a vertical repeat along the length of a fabric.

The ends or sides of the drapery treatment extending from the corner of the rod to the wall. See also; Projection.

The sides of a window opening, at right angles to the faces of the wall and the window itself. See also; Returns, Projections.

Right Side:
The finished, printed or visible side of fabric. This term is used for sewing when sewing items inside out or "wrong side"up and "right side"down.

Wood, Iron or plastic loops used to hold drapes onto curtain rods. Rings can be sewn, hooked or clipped to drapes.

Rod Pocket Curtains:
A common window treatment where a stitched pocket or header at the top of the curtain is gathered or shirred onto a curtain rod.

metal or wood hardware that supports curtain fabric; also called a pole or track.

Metal or wood pole or track that supports curtain fabric.

Roller Shades:
Shades made of vinyl or fabric attached to spring rollers, mounted to the inside window casing or the window frame.

Roman Shade:
a fabric window treatment that is raised and lowered in horizontal folds by means of a series of tapes to which rings (threaded with cord) are attached.

A decorative trim made by gathering a strip of fabric to form a circle and finished with or without a fabric-covered button. Looks similar to the folds in a rose or carnation.

Extremely tight gathers used as a decorative top finish to a panel. See also; Shirring.


Sash Curtains:
Sheer material gathered and hung close to the window glass. Usually hung from spring tension rods or sash rods mounted inside the window casing or onto French doors.

Sash Rod:
a small curtain rod inserted through pockets sewn at top and bottom of a curtain. The curtain is stretched between the two rods

the part of a window that opens and closes. It includes a frame and one or more panes of glass. Also the frame and glass of an inoperable window.

Scalloped Heading:
A popular top treatment for café curtains featuring semicircular spaces between the curtain rings.

Self-Styling Tape:
A stiff tape with woven-in cords used to create pleated and shirred curtains. See also; Pleating tape.

The selvage edges of fabric are the unfinished sides of the lengthwise grain.

A drapery panel made of sheer or translucent fabric to filter light and provide minimal daytime privacy, usually used underneath an outer drapery.

Shirred Curtains:
Curtains stretched tightly and gathered on rods at both the top and the bottom.

Tightly gathered fabric. See also; Ruching.

A narrow glass panel adjacent to a door, often used next to entries for appearance, ventilation, and to provide more light.

The horizontal, ledge-like portion of a window casing.

A window in the roof that admits light from above. A skylight can be operable or not, some are flat while others are domed.

Small plastic or ball bearing runners installed in a traverse rod that hold drapery pins or hooks. See also; Glides.

Sliding Glass Doors:
Large glass doors mounted on a track that bypass each other.

Spring Tension Rod:
A curtain rod designed to compress snugly inside a window frame. Used when permanent fastening of a curtain rod is not desired.

Stackback (or stacking space) :
The area of the wall where drapery comes to rest when it is opened and the window is exposed. Draperies are sometimes installed so that the stackback clears the window frame, allowing an unobstructed view.

Stagecoach Valance:
A rolled up panel of fabric with ties giving the appearance of a stagecoach wagon door.

Straight Grain:
The lengthwise threads of the fabric, running parallel to the selvages.

Swag :
One or more pieces of fabric draped or wrapped in semi-circular folds over a rod, typically used at the top of a window treatment with jabots and cascades. See also; Festoon, Cascades, Jabot.

Swag Holder:
A hardware support for loosely draped treatments such as a throw swag. The harp shape allows fabric to be wrapped and secured in a pouf or knotted fashion.


Tab Top Curtain:
A curtain with fabric loops sewn to it’s top, so it can loop around a drapery rod or pole. Works better as a stationary treatment since tabs don't traverse very easily.

A silk-and-acetate weave that appears shiny and maintains shape. It is used for formal curtains and borders.

A length of shaped fabric, which is folded vertically into a group of pleats. At the hem of the folded tail both sides (the lining and the face fabric) are visible from the front, so it should be lined in a main or suitable contrasting fabric. See also; Cascade, Jabot.

Tension Pulley:
The bottom spring loaded pulley attachment through which the traverse cords move when the drapery is drawn. It holds the cord taught insuring a smooth and continuous operation. May be mounted on baseboard, casing, or wall, on one or both sides.

Tension Rod:
A curtain rod designed to compress snugly inside a window frame. Used when permanent fastening of a curtain rod is not desired.

Tension Rod:
A curtain rod which stays in place inside the window frame through spring tension.

Tie Tab Curtains:
Similar to tab top curtains but with ribbons/fabric bands tied onto the rod. See also; Tab Top Curtain.

A fabric band, corded tassle, braided cording, or chain designed to hold draperies back on each side from the center of the window. Allows passage of light and adds a decorative look.

Tiered Curtains:
Usually café curtains hung in two or more tiers with top curtains slightly overlapping lower curtains.

Tie-Tab Curtains:
Similar to tab-top curtains, but with ribbons or fabric bands tied over the rod, instead of sewn in place.

Toile de Jouy:
An eighteenth century print design of pastoral scenes on cotton or linen, printed in one color, on a white background; first produced in Jouy, France.

Top Treatments:
Decorative treatments used at the top of the window covering. They are sometimes used to conceal drapery rods or to soften hard-edged window treatments such as vertical blinds, pleated shades, or mini-blinds. Top treatments come in many different styles. See also; Valances.

A metal rod from which curtains are suspended when a pole is not used. Modern tracks often have cording systems and overlap arms. Some curtain tracks can have a valance track clipped onto them. Double tracks are also available, for use with two layers of fabric.

Traverse Rod:
Drapery rods that open and close a window treatment by pulling a cord.

Decorative braid, fringe, tassels, cord, gimp and other fabric trims used as an accent on curtains, draperies, or tiebacks.

Triple Fullness:
A fabric panel that is three times the width of the window. Often sheers and lightweight curtains are made in triple fullness.

Two-Way Draw:
a traverse rod that allows the draperies hung from it to pull closed from both sides to the center. Also called a center draw.


Under draperies:
Draperies used under a decorative treatment (which may be stationary or operable), usually for privacy and light control. Often made of sheer fabrics.


Valance :
A window treatment that covers the top of the window and the drapery hardware. A valance is made of matching or contrasting fabric, often with a casing at the top, and gathered onto a curtain rod. See also; Top Treatment, Pelmet.

Hook and loop tape used for attaching fabric to a mounting board or other fastening requirements. Sometimes used for lightweight fabrics and valances.

Venetian Blinds:
Blinds made of metal or wooden slats, attached to cloth tape, and worked by a cord on a pulley system, and available in many widths, colors, and sizes. Blinds provide excellent light control while allowing some view to the outside. See also; Mini Blinds.

Vertical Blinds:
Similar to Venetian or Mini-blinds except slats run vertical and are on a traverse track.


Wall Mounting:
A treatment using rod extended beyond the window frame and mounted on the wall. See also; Outside Mounted.

Warp and Weft:
Refers to the direction threads in a fabric. Warp threads run the length of the fabric. Warp threads are crossed by the weft threads that run from selvage to selvage across the width of the fabric.

Metal weights used in the bottom hems of draperies and sheers to help them hang better and stack properly.

Window Scarf:
A long piece of fabric casually draped over a pole or rod at the top of a window like a valance. The center is gently pulled down to create a soft curve. See also; Swag, Cascade, Jabot.

Wrong Side:
The back of the fabric. The less finished side that should not be visible on a finished item. Used as a sewing term when sewing fabrics inside out. See also; Right side.