How to Train Drapes to Hang Perfectly

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Hi friends!  Today I am sharing how to train drapes to hang perfectly. Have you purchased curtains online or in-store, only to hang them and realize that are not hanging at all like the window treatments in the photos?  That’s because drapes often need to be “memory trained” in order to hang in the beautiful waves that we see in magazines and Pinterest images.  

This is an easy, quick method I’ve found that you can most likely do using what you already have on hand. Win-win! Here are the simple steps I take in making our drapery hang perfectly. 

What is curtain training? 

If you order high-end custom curtains, the drapery panels may already come “memory trained” by the company. Meaning, they will hang perfectly in beautiful and tidy rows with no effort on your part. But these can certainly come with a high price tag! 

If you are trying to make more affordable curtains (maybe you purchased from Target, Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc.) hang like “custom” curtains, you may want to train the fabric! This is one of my best tips for curtains and is a trick that can truly save you a lot of money – as it gives the look of a much more expensive panel with a professional look.

Training curtains involves a few different things, but today I will be discussing how to help “form” the fabric panel so that it falls in a neat, uniform way and looks like high-end, custom curtains.

Our beautiful linen blend, pinch-pleated curtains are from Nicetown. These are affordable and high-quality with a liner for a full look. I have a whole post written up on them here.

Why do I need to “train” my drapes? 

I want to start this by saying, it’s not a necessity! You can hang the curtains directly from the store and never look back. But my guess is that if you’re here, it’s because your curtains are not hanging like you hoped they would. 

Training your new curtains will help to give you the custom, quality look of high-end drapery. 

How do I train my curtains? 

I cannot stress enough how simple this is! There’s no sewing machine needed (whew! I don’t sew). You just need curtain panels, the right hooks/rings, a steamer, and tape/string/or clips. Bam! This could not be simpler, and I will break down the exact process for how to train drapes below.  I cannot guarantee you that this is the proper way, but I CAN guarantee you that it works 😉 

Other things to consider for a “custom drapery” look: 

If your curtains are not pinch-pleat curtains, consider adding pleat hooks and curtain rings/curtain hooks for a high-quality, designer look. While I do not have one of my own, there are many DIY pinch pleat drapes tutorials out there that would be perfect to follow for this step.  This can be done pretty easily with pleat tape and pleat hooks, and I know there are no-sew tutorials available. 

For the best results and a fuller, more defined look, I highly suggest purchasing curtains wtih a liner (also known as blackout curtains). In my opinion, unlined drapes do not gather as well as curtains with a liner. 


1. Steam the fabric.

The first step after your curtains have been hung on your curtain rod, is to take the time to use a handheld steamer and remove all wrinkles. This is the most time consuming part in my opinion, but even this is pretty quick! 

I use this cheapie little steamer from Wal-Mart and it does an amazing job. 

After filling the machine with water and allowing it to heat up, you will simply hold the steamer a few inches away from the fabric, and slowly move the steamer down the length of the curtain. 

2. Gather fabric and arrange the panel in your hands as you’d like it to hang. 

After steaming to remove wrinkles, your next step will be defining your fabric folds by gathering the curtain panel in your hand and arranging the pleats how you’d like them to hang.

3. Steam the pleats how you want them to hang. 

Using your steamer, steam top to bottom and side to side of each fabric pleat. This will help it to hold its shape. 

4. Ra-gather the pleats how you’d like them to hang, and then tape to hold.

Fold the pleats evenly and position them exactly how you want them to hang – hold them firmly in place – and then tape them together with painter’s tape. This is such neat trick that works every time! 

I suggest taping your curtains in three different areas – top of the curtain, middle, and bottom. 

Alternatively, you could use hair clips, ribbon, or string for this. Honestly, anything that would gently hold the fabric without causing too much creasing. 

5. Keep the restraints in place for at least 48 hours. 

Allow your curtains to be taped/tied/clipped for at least 48 hours before removing. This will ensure the curtains keep their new shape! 

6. Steam specific spots that might have become wrinkled. 

This may not be a necessary step for you, but  I had a few small wrinkles around the tape line when I removed it. No problem though, the steamer quickly took these right out! 

Voila! Perfectly trained curtains with minimal effort! 

I hope this tutorial for how to train drapes to hang perfectly every time works for the curtains in your own home!

Until next time,


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