How to Convert Rod Pocket Drapes to Pleated Drapes

If you get tired of looking at your boring rod pocket drapes, you can give them a new look by converting them to pleated drapes. Pleated drapes are fuller than regular rod pocket drapes, but they also require you to use hooks to hang the drapes from the curtain rod instead of inserting a curtain rod through the pocket in the back of the drapes. You will need to widen your rod pocket drapes to give you the extra fabric you will need to form the pleats in the drapes.

Sew two of your rod pocket drapes together to give you the excess fabric necessary to form your pleats. Repeat with the other two drapes.

Lay out one of your drapes on your work surface. Use the measuring tape and the tailor's pencil to mark out every 6 inches.

Form the pleats in your drapes using the slat to help you make them perfectly even and exactly the same size every time. Start in the middle of your drapes and work your way out.

Place the slat on the first mark to one side of the middle of the drape. Flip the slat over, pulling the drapery fabric underneath it at the same time so that you end up with a pleat folded over the top of the slat. Make sure the pleat is facing the outside edge of the drape.

Pull out the slat carefully while holding the pleat of the fabric. Use a pin to hold the pleat in place. Repeat with the remaining pencil marks for that half of the drape.

Repeat the folding process with the other half of the drape, making sure the pleats go in the other direction, which will be toward the outer edge of the drape.

Sew straight across the pleats about 3 inches down from the top edge. Sew another straight seam across the very top edge of the drape, this time removing the pins as you sew.

Iron the pleats to make them stand out more, if desired.

Things You Will Need

  • 4 rod pocket drapes
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Tailor's pencil
  • 2-inch wide flat wooden slat
  • Pins
  • Iron


  • If your drapes end up being too wide for your window after pleating, you can cut off some of one of the drapery panels and then fold the fabric under to hide the cut edge. Then you can hem it to hold it in place.
  • Making the pleats takes a little bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, the project will go quickly for you.