The most basic drapery style uses the rod pocket header. It’s also the most commonly found across homes, thanks to its convenience and budget-friendly price.

But what exactly is a drapery pocket? It’s simply a casing on top of the back of the drapery that the curtain rod can slide through. It’s most often called the rod pocket. The most common rod pocket size is 3 inches, although it’s possible for some draperies to be made with smaller or larger rod pockets.


Rod Pocket Drapery in Toile Fabric

Rod pocket drapery in blue and yellow French toile fabric, custom-made.


How Thick Does the Curtain Rod Need to Be for a Rod Pocket Drapery?

The diameter of the curtain rod is very important. A heavy drapery needs hardware that will match its weight and scale. Not only does a heavy drapery require a sturdy curtain rod that can hold its weight up, but it’s also best if there isn’t too much empty space between the rod and the rod pocket. Your drapery should look something like this…


3-Inch Rod Pocket Blue Toile Drapery And if your drapery has an additional header on top of the rod pocket to create a ruffle, you’ll definitely want a tight fit. Otherwise, the fabric won’t be able to gather like this:


Blue Toile Drapery with Ruffled Header Here, we used a drapery rod with a 1-3/8-inch diameter for a 3-inch rod pocket drapery. As you can see, this created the proper gather on the top of the drapery, leaving very little room in between.

There are exceptions to this rule.

You may use a thinner curtain rod on this type of drapery, but ideally no smaller than one with a 1-inch diameter. This will create some space inside the rod pocket, so your drapery won’t gather as nicely as the pictures shown above.

You will, however, be able to slightly move the drapery. Keep in mind, though, that the rod pocket drapery is intended to be decorative only. If you’re looking for a functional drapery (meaning that it can be opened and closed easily as needed), consider a pleated drapery instead.


Are There Wide Pocket Draperies?

Of course, there are draperies with a wider pocket, although you may have to have them custom-made. A 4-inch rod pocket is also found sometimes. You’ll need a curtain rod with a 2-inch diameter to achieve results similar to the ones shown here.


Other Drapery Header Examples

Lastly, I’ll leave you with some alternative headers besides the rod pocket for inspiration.

Silk Plaid Drapery Hung on Wrought Iron Flower Medallions

Two-finger pleated silk drapery hung on round medallions.


Euro Pleat Drapery in Light Blue and Gold

Euro pleat drapery.


Tie-Up Custom Drapery with Shoestring Ties, in Gray Metallic Fabric

Tie-up top drapery.


Flat Panel Drapery in Ivory with Greek Key Embroidered Tape

Flat panel drapery.

Need more design inspiration? Check out more draperies in our custom department.

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