Heading Tape Tieback

  • Image of a finished heading tape tie backCurtain tie backs made from heading tape give a pleated effect, are very easy to make and need no template.
  • They need 2.5 times the finished length and the pleats can be enhanced with hand stitching to create a smocking effect.
  • These tie backs are ideal to team up with Smocked Curtains which are featured in our e-book.
  • The instructions below are for a pair tie backs using 3” (7.5 cms) wide heading tape but a wider one can be used if required.

Image refers to colour code key for the diagrams


  • 2 lengths of 3" pencil pleat heating tape, 2.5 times the finished length of the tie back plus 2" (5 cms) for neatening.
  • 2 pieces of fabric, 5.5" (14 cms) wide by 2.5 times the finished length of the tie back plus 2" (5 cms) for hems.
  • Embroidery thread for hand stitching the smocking effect (optional).
  • Matching thread.
  • 4 curtain rings or D rings, approximately 1" (2.5 cms) in diameter.
  • 2 tie back hooks.
  • Fabric marker, optional.

Making a Heading Tape Tie Back:

  1. Turn in a 1" (2.5 cms) hem on all sides of the fabric, mitring the corners and press.
  2. Knot the cords at one end of the heading tape, on the wrong side, and free the ends of the cords at the other end, to the right side.
  3. Lay the fabric on a flat surface, wrong side up.
  4. Turn 1" (2.5 cms) under at each end of the heading tape and place it centrally onto the fabric. Pin in place along both edges.
  5. Machine stitch along the end where the cords are knotted and down each side but leave the other end open. Stitch both sides in the same direction to avoid puckering.
    Image refers to step 5 of making a heading tape tieback
  6. Pull up the cords to the required length and secure. Roll up the excess cord and tuck it into the end of the tie back between the fabric and heading tape. If the tie backs are to be smocked, secure the ends with a knot and trim off the excess.
  7. Image refers to steps 6 and 7 of making a heading tape tiebackAdjust the pleats evenly.
  8. Oversew a curtain ring at the centre of each end 0.5" (12 mm in from the ends).

To Create a Smocking Effect:

  1. Measure the centre point across the width of the tie back and mark the top of each pleat with a pin or fabric marker.
  2. Measure 1" (2.5 cms) either side of this and mark the top of each pleat with a pin or fabric marker.
  3. Image refers to creating a smocking effectStarting at one end, oversew the end pleat to the flat fabric at the centre point using the embroidery thread. Work 2 oversew stitches taking no more than 0.25" (6 mm) of the depth of the pleat and taking care not to pull the stitches too tight so as to pucker the pleated fabric.
  4. Oversew the first and second pleats together at both of the outer marks.
  5. Oversew the third and fourth pleats together at the centre mark.
  6. Oversew the third and forth pleats together at both of the outer marks.
  7. Continue in this way along the whole length of the tie back stitching the last pleat to the flat fabric.
  8. Position the tie back hooks at the required height at each side of the window and hang the tie backs.

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