How to Overlap Pull Drapes

Pull draperies usually refer to draperies that are closed by pulling on a cord which is mounted under tension to the side of the drapery.

Pull cord drapes allow your drapes to overlap.
When you pull the cord, the drapery moves along a track until the draperies meet. Properly installed this system is called a traverse rod system, which has master carriages that allow properly hung draperies to overlap in the center to create a complete closing of the drapery for both privacy and heat or air conditioning retention. .

Remove your drapes by unhooking them from the traverse rod and slides. Make sure that each pleat of your drapes has a drapery pin 1 3/4 inches from the top of the drape. There should also be a drapery pin on each end of the drape.

Pull on your traverse cord so that the rod is in the open position. The rectangular box-like pieces on the rod are called master carriers. The small plastic loops are slides. One of your master carriers is behind (closer to the window) the other carrier, which is the carrier you will work with first.

Hook the first pin on the end of the master carrier arm from behind. Hook the next pin in the next hole on the master carrier arm from the front. Continue hooking your pins into the remaining holes on the master carrier arm from the front. Hook the slides until you have 2 hooks remaining on your drape. Simply push extra slides to the side.

Hook the last two pins into the corresponding holes in the rod end and bracket. Repeat these steps for your second drapery. Go to the side of your drapes, and open and close your drapes fully by pulling evenly on your cord. If your drapes hit in the middle, it means your master carriage arms are slightly bent. Use your ladder to get close enough to see where the problem is and bend your carrier arm enough to cleanly pass the other drape.

Break your buckram by closing the drape completely. Buckram is part of the stiffener fabric that creates the pleats at the top of the drape. Find the center between each pleat, and fold the buckram toward the front. Make a vertical crease with your thumb and forefinger, which trains the buckram to fold to the front between the pleats when the drapes are open.

Open your drapes completely. Start at the top of the drape and create a wave pattern. Because you have broken the buckram, the fabric will try to go the opposite direction below the header (which you want). Manually pleat the fabric about 20 inches from the rod. Wrap the properly pleated section with paper held closed with tape. Move down the drape 20 to 30 inches, and repeat by placing the pleats where you want them. The forward part of the pleat should align with the pleating at the top of the drape. The back part of the pleat should align with the fabric between the pleats.

Band and tape your drapes in at least 3 places, and leave the drapes in this condition for 3 days to train the pleats. Afterward your drapes should hang properly and open and close properly.

Things You Will Need

  • Drapery pins
  • Short ladder
  • Paper
  • Tape


  • Don't forget to break your buckram. Untrained drapes are the primary cause of drape failure or poor hanging drapes.

About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.