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Curtain Definition Dictionary

Austrian Blind

This type of blind has a gathered top which forces the fabric into soft scalloped folds once raised. When down the Austrian blind tends to be straight. Often comes with fringing for a more dressy appearance.


This is a design style involving two materials with one sewn on top of the other.

Blackout Lining

A coated material which prevents the light from seeping through the material and entering a room.


This is used to stiffen curtain headings.


Soft and thick, this material (usually cotton) is often used for interlining fabric.

Cafe Curtains

Cafe curtains come half way up a window and tend to be hung on sliding rings.


A plain cotton weave which is similar in appearance and feel to muslin.


A bright glazed fabric in cotton.


Holds the blind cord once it’s in use.

Curtain Hem

The very bottom of the curtain fabric.


Another name for curtains (American).


The length of the curtain fabric measured from the curtain track to hem.

Eyelet Curtains

Used with a curtain pole, eyelets are metal rings which are punched into the top of the fabric.


An ornamental edging to a curtain pole.

Flame Retardant Lining

Lining which has been treated to prevent it setting alight.


How wide the fabric is in comparison to the length of the track or curtain pole (usually twice).

Goblet Pleat

A curtain heading where the fabric is stitched to give the appearance of narrow tubes and which are then filled with wadding.

Hanging Curtains

Attaching fabric to a curtain pole or tracking.


The top of the curtain which dictates how the fabric itself will hang.

Heading Tape

A woven tape at the top of the fabric in which hooks are inserted to hang onto a track.


The edge of the curtain which has been reinforced by folding over material and stitching it.


Metal hooks attached to the wall to keep the curtain fabric held back when opened.


Wadding in curtains, usually from cotton or synthetic fibre. Often used for insulating and sound proofing purposes.


Attached to the back of the main fabric. Could be plain lining, thermal lining, fire retardant lining, blackout lining or interlined.

Made to Measure Curtains

Also referred to as bespoke curtains, handmade curtains, custom curtains, and made to order curtains. In choosing made to measure the customer is given a wider variety of fabrics to choose from and the curtains themselves should fit perfectly. The quality too will be much improved than those found on the High Street.

Pattern Repeat

Difference in width between prints in a pattern.


A piece of board which is covered in fabric (usually the same as the actual curtains) to add a decorative element and disguise a curtain rail.

Pinch Pleat

Narrow pleats inserted at the top of the curtains. Usually double (2 pleats) or triple (3 pleats).


A decorative element added to a seam or the edge of fabric. At the same time it adds strength to the fabric.

Roman Blind

A window blind which sits in horizontal folds once drawn.

Sheer Curtains

Polyester voile or cotton lace are sheer curtains (ie transparent). They allow light to come into a room while at the same time stopping damaging UV light. They also prevent people seeing into a room from outside so are good from a privacy point of view.

Swags and Tails

Swags are a horizontal decorative element at the top of curtains and tails drape down at either side of the window.

Tab Top

A looped curtain at the top which can be strung along a curtain pole.

Thermal Lining

Coated lining which has an insulating effect, preventing heat from escaping through a window and vice versa.


A means of holding back curtains when open. Usually made from a stiffened hessian known as buckram and covered in the same fabric as the curtains themselves (or a contrasting fabric).

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