Dictionary of Terms

Arched Valance

A valance treatment that is arched along the upper or lower edge.

Austrian Shade

A fabric window covering with soft draping scallops which run the length of the shade. They move up and down by a series of cords threaded through rings.

Balloon Shades

Fabric shades with deep inverted pleats that fall into airy, rounded poufs at the bottom.

Bottom Up shades (sometimes referred to as Top Down)

Shades that sit at the bottom of the window (on the sill) and are raised up to the top when closed. They have an automatic built-in valance and you will see narrow cords the length of the window when the shade is open (or sitting on the sill).

Blackout Lining

A three-layer fabric consisting of two layers of cotton and one layer of opaque material. This lining helps completely block out light.

Box Pleats

Inverted, tailored pleats which are flat on the right side of the drapery to create a classical boxy look.


A minimal amount of additional length (1" or so) added to the curtain to allow it to rest, but not lay on the floor. This is a way to add richness and luxury.


Thick, fleece-like cotton interlining added to curtain panels to give additional body and weight.

Cafe Curtains

A window treatment that covers only the bottom half of a window. A cafe rod is most often hung at the halfway point of the window, at sash level


Also called glides. Plastic devices used to hook the draperies to the rod. They are “carried” along the rod when the drapery is opened or closed.


Pleated side panels usually under swags or festoons. Side panels taper down to nothing to mimic a waterfall.

Combination Rods

Two or three drapery rods sharing one set of brackets. They are used when installing draperies with sheers, or to create any layered look.

Continuous Cord Operation (CCO)

Clutch system which raises and lowers your horizontal blind or shade. This system has a continuous loop at the bottom and must be anchored to the wall with the latest safety hold down. A clutch system is featured along the top of the shade to lower and raise the shade effortlessly.

Cord Lock

Cord locking system at the top of a horizontal shade. Gold teeth grab shade cords to lock into place when cords are pulled to the side.


A decorative wooden, fabric, or foam header placed above a window to conceal drapery hardware. Also known as a Lambrequin.

Double-Hung Draperies

Two sets of draperies, usually a sheer fabric under an opaque fabric; both operating separately.


A technique of looping and securing fabric in graceful curves and folds.

Draw Draperies

Draperies which hang from a traverse rod and can be drawn to open or close over the window by means of a cording system.

End Brackets

The projections at the ends of the rod that attach the rod to the wall.


See Swag.


A decorative piece (commonly found in quantities of two) attached to the ends of drapery rods. Made of wood, metal or resin.


Product applied to fabric as a protection against water marks and fading. Also refers to the finished color or colors of hardware (wood, metal or resin).


Refers to the width of the fabric in relation to the curtain rod. Most window treatments are two to three times fullness.


The top portion of a drape which is pleated or ringed for attaching to a rod. The header in a pleated drape will contain a stiffener; in a rod-pocket the header will often have a short ruffle which gathers up when on the rod.


A layer of cotton flannel placed between the curtain fabric and the privacy lining. Interlining lends extra body and shape to the curtain, while offering more light control and protection than lining alone, and additional insulation properties.

Kick Pleated Valances

Constructed like box pleats, but the pleats are spaced further apart.


Cornices, usually made of wood, which extend all or part of the way down the sides of the window. They are often padded and upholstered.


A vertical measurement—up and down, top to bottom. The length you enter is the exact measurement to which the curtain will be constructed—from the top edge to the very bottom of the curtain.


Fabric used as a backing for drapery panels. Lining can provide body and fullness, light control, and privacy.


(Visual) Long Point –Longest point measured on a shade or drapery.


A diagonal seam that joins two pieces of fabric at a corner.


Various types of low voltage and battery operated motors depending on the treatment and the design; draperies, shades or blinds. Shutters and wood blinds can only be motorized to “tilt” the slats. Romans and other lightweight horizontal shades can be raised up and down, and draperies can be opened and closed by motorization.

Pin Setting

Distance from the top of the drape (where the curved part of the hook hits).


To make lining as a pillowcase where lining and drapery meet at hem and side seams. This is sometimes necessary to accommodate short fabric yardages.


An ornamental drapery or board fixed above a window to conceal the curtain rail.

Pleat Fold

To fold along pleat linesand stack six to eight inches wide to prepare for packaging.


The distance from the front of the drapery rod to the wall on which it is mounted.


A Puddle is additional length added to a stationary drapery, to make it longer than floor length. The additional length creates a pool or puddle on the floor, adding a luxurious richness to your room.


Refers to using fabric horizontally rather than vertically. Fabric without a nap or a directional design can be railroaded easily. Used to avoid seams in long lengths of fabric (as in dust ruffles).

Repeat (or Pattern Repeat)

How often the pattern is duplicated at intervals down the fabric or wall covering. One repeat is one full pattern.Knowing the distance between the pattern repeats on the fabric is vital in order to join patterned fabric and is also key in determining how much extra fabric to buy.


The portion of the drapery that turns the corner at the outside edge, to return to the wall, enclosing the brackets of the drapery hardware.

Rod Pocket

This is an opening or pocket in the heading of a drapery through which a decorative rod is threaded. The pocket is larger than the rod to allow the extra fullness in the drapery to gather onto the rod.

Roman Shades

Fabric shade drawn up from the bottom by means of cords and rings, to create horizontal folds when raised. A Roman shade panel is flat when lowered and covers the window glass completely.


Extremely tight gathers used as a decorative top finish to a panel.


A drapery panel made of sheer or translucent fabric, sometimes used underneath an outer drapery.

Smocking Tape

A tape with woven-in cords used to create pleated and shirred curtains.


SP or VSP = (Visual) Short Point. The shortest point created when looking at a balloon or full shade.


The stacking of the fabric on either side of the window, when the draperies are opened. Pair Draperies stack on both sides of the window.Panel Draperies stack to either the left or right side of the window.

Stackback (or Stacking Space)

The area of the wall where a drapery comes to rest when it is opened and the window is exposed. Draperies are sometimes installed so that the stackback clears the window frame, allowing an unobstructed view.


Stationary curtains don’t move, and are primarily a decorative finishing touch whose purpose is to frame a view, or to add balance, color or pattern to a room. They are often made to be less than the entire width of the window. Stationary curtains can be tied back to either side of the window with a decorative holdback.

Stretch Panels

Curtains stretched tightly and gathered on rods at both the top and the bottom of the window.


One or more pieces of fabric draped over a rod, typically used at the top of a window treatment with cascades. Also known as a festoon.

Tension Rod

A curtain rod which stays in place inside the window frame through spring tension.


Fabric bands, cords, or other material that shape the curtain or drape and holds them back from the window, usually attached to the wall.

Top Down, Bottom up shades (TDBU)

Shades that can be raised from the bottom, or lowered from the top, with automatic built-in valance. Exposed cords run the length of the window when shade is not completely closed.

Traverse Rod

Adjustable drapery rods that open and close the window treatment by pulling a cord.


Decorative cording, braids, or fringes applied to the edges or hems of draperies, to match or contrast the panel fabric.


A window treatment that covers the top of the window and the drapery hardware. A valance is made of matching or contrasting fabric, attached to a board or rod.

Warp and Weft

Refers to the direction threads or fibers in a fabric. Warp threads run the length of the fabric. Weft threads run from selvage to selvage across the width of the fabric.

Width Fold

To fold draperies from edge to edge several times until drapery measures six to eight inches wide, to prepare for packaging.