Rod Pocket Curtains & Frill Header Window Drapes: A Complete Guide

Rod pocket curtains


Exuding simple elegance with their uncomplicated construct, rod pocket curtains make a heart-warming addition to any setting that wants to look ‘homely’. With casual ruffles and a gentle non-tailored beauty, rod pocket curtains make their aesthetic statement with simplicity.

If you’ve been looking for a place to find all the information about rod pocket curtains, know that you’re at your destination. We’ll take you through every nuance of this curtain heading style and share ways to make the most of them when ordering made-to-measure curtains in rod pocket style from The White Window. Stay with us. 

What are Rod Pocket Curtains?


Rod pocket curtains & drapes


Drapery construction can’t ever get simpler than with rod pocket curtains! These are fabric panels with a pocket sewn on the top for the drapery pole to be fed through. When the panel is hand-gathered on the pole, the fabric forms pleats or lovely frills organically. 

Depending on the width of the curtain panel relative to the window, rod pocket curtains will vary in their appearance. As the pleats are formed by the manual gathering of the fabric, a wider curtain panel will yield densely packed pleats and a narrow one - on the same length pole - will offer sparsely laid-out pleats, with a relatively ‘flat’ look. Thus, this style offers flexibility around the visual beauty you’re trying to create.

With its simple construct, this drapery style has a lovely country charm to it that makes the space feel homely and welcoming. Unsurprisingly, they are highly preferred for the casual warmth they offer in country-style and farmhouse decor, beachside houses and cottages. 

For those who would want a pronounced embellishment that accentuates the rustic elegance, we also offer a subtly varied frilled-header version of rod pocket curtains:

Rod Pocket Curtains with Frill Headers


Rod pocket curtains with frill head


Simply put, a rod pocket curtain with a frilled header is a rod pocket panel with a 4cm long upstand/frill above the pocket. When the panel is gathered on the pole, the fabric ruches both upward and downward creating closely packed shallow pleats or ruffles around the drapery pole. The double-way ruched header gives it a more feminine/softer feel that makes it a popular choice for girls’ bedrooms, kids’ rooms, shabby chic spaces and rustic kitchens.

Both styles of rod pocket curtains cancel the need for any additional hardware accessories like rings as the curtain hangs from the fabric pocket directly. Since they sit tight on the pole in this manner, they make for great choices in places where privacy is of utmost importance. However, since the fabric pockets don’t glide as easily on the pole as rings and grommets do, care must be taken to avoid rod pocket style for heavyweight fabrics and oversized panels for large windows. 

What are the Reasons to Choose Rod Pocket Curtains?


Curtains as bed  headboard


Curtains are functional accessories that also perform a decorative role. From defining the colour palette of the room to relaying the decor style, curtains contribute greatly to the aesthetic ambience of the home. Rod pocket curtains suit certain decor styles and functional requirements especially well owing to their style of construction. They can be a perfect match for your home if you’re looking for these traits:

RUSTIC APPEAL: Rod pocket curtains have a traditional bearing, a country-style laidback appeal that suits right for rustic homes thriving on simple elegance. They don’t feature tailored pleats or an architectural appeal, nor do they flaunt statement fabrics or accessories. But with an uncomplicated structure and refined simplicity, they convey a gentle homely feel. Count on them to relay the unpretentious charm of country, farmhouse, coastal, shabby chic, or bohemian decor.

OPTIMAL LIGHT CONTROL AND PRIVACY: As the curtain header ‘wraps’ over the drapery pole, rod pocket drapes provide seamless coverage, unlike some other styles like tab tops, for example, that let light in through the intervals between their tabs. Hence, rod pocket curtains provide light control and privacy to the highest possible degree. 

ECONOMICAL: Rod pocket curtains are relatively cheap when compared to more tailored styles like pinch pleats. In addition, the drapery pole does not have to be show-worthy as it will be concealed, so you can go for economical options. Besides, you also save the money that you would otherwise have to spend on hardware accessories like rings and drapery pins. All in all, it’s a big money-saver.

EASY INSTALLATION AND UPKEEP: Rod pocket curtains can go straight from the box to the pole (after a hot press). There’s no need to go through the hassles of pricking pins into the header or attaching rings. And you experience this ease every time you take down the curtains for a wash and put them back.

WIDTH FLEXIBILITY: As rod pocket curtains are not sewn with fixed, pre-stitched pleats like in the case of pinch pleat headers, they offer a certain amount of flexibility on ‘pole coverage’. A 300cm wide panel can be mounted on a 100cm long pole, providing lush pleats and dense gather, or over a 200cm long pole thereby yielding shallower pleats and sparse gather. This means that you can interchangeably use these curtains for different windows if you need to do so at some point in time. You can also be less anxious about getting highly precise width measurements as a shortcoming will hardly make any difference.

What Are the Factors to Consider When Shopping for Rod Pocket Curtains?


Bedroom curtains


Rod pocket curtains offer many good things to fall for, but like every heading style, they fulfil their functions in a unique way and speak a certain aesthetic language. When dressing any space with rod pocket curtains with or without the header frill, factor in the following so that the drapes integrate seamlessly with your decor style and render the highest level of satisfaction function-wise too:

SUITABILITY OF HARDWARE: If your house is furnished with curtain tracks (not poles) rod pocket curtains will not be compatible, as rod pocket curtains can only be mounted on poles/rods. You may either select a style that goes with tracks or swap the tracks with drapery rods. 

Furthermore, when placing the order, pay special attention to the diameter of the drapery pole. If the pocket fits too loosely on it, the panel will not gather to form dense evenly spread out pleats;  rather it will dangle loosely and keep sliding on the pole. 

In addition, if you’re planning to use your curtains primarily as stationary, decorative curtains, the pole must fit the pocket snugly so that the curtain stays anchored tightly on the pole. Our rod pocket curtains come with a 6cm pocket by default but the pocket can be customised if you need. 

SUITABILITY OF FABRIC: A laidback style should ideally be complemented by laidback fabrics. So instead of statement fabrics velvets and silks that are better suited to formal spaces, opt for linens, cottons or their blends that look less dressy and more homely. Take our Golden Glaze curtains or Day Spring semi-sheers, for example, that exude an everyday feel in their natural colours and textures. If you’re up for patterns, consider choosing prints that are traditionally detailed or of a feminine personality such as florals, plaids or country themes. A fabric like Fiery Sunset speaks of rustic splendour in its windowpane checks while Calm Birds’ feathered beauties are a throwback to nature’s brilliance. These low-lying themes combine beautifully with the relaxed appeal of rod pocket curtains.  

COMPATIBILITY WITH DECOR STYLE: The simplicity of the rod pocket curtains makes them instant picks for some decor styles and a hard pass for others. Where rusticity is celebrated and creating a homely feeling is the goal, rod pockets find a ready stage for their act. Therefore, country, farmhouse, cottagecore, shabby chic, coastal and boho decor styles make great friends with rod pocket curtains. However, owing to their somewhat feminine appeal, especially the ones with frill headers, rod pockets are not quite in tune with masculine decor styles. Also, their simplified construct is typically not found in  rhyme with maximalist spaces, elaborately decorated glamorous settings and dressy formal spaces. 

FABRIC WEIGHT CONSIDERATIONS: Rod pockets don’t glide on the pole readily like curtains with rings or grommets do. When stitched with lightweight and medium-weight fabrics, rod pockets can function freely. However, avoiding heavyweight fabrics and extra large curtain panels on large windows is better as their movement will be somewhat compromised. 

Since rod pocket curtains tend to stay put, they are strong candidates for windows where you wish to keep the curtain panels stationary, like over the sidelights or for sheer curtains that are generally left closed for privacy.

VALANCES: Rod pocket curtains can beautifully pair up with valances as they will give them a decorative topping. But, if you plan on adding valances, it is better to stick to the simple rod pocket style because the beautiful frilled headers of the more ornate version will get concealed.



What are the Hardware Options for Rod Pocket Curtains?


Kitchen curtains


Rod pocket curtains are mounted on drapery poles and do not need any other hardware accessories like drapery pins or rings as the pole is directly fed into the pocket of the header. And since the curtains cover the hardware, they negate the need to necessarily invest in show-worthy hardware.

Note that rod pockets are not compatible with curtain tracks. If you already have installed tracks in your home and would prefer to not have to swap for new hardware, we recommend considering drapery designed in other heading styles like our flat panel top curtains or pinch pleat drapes. 

How to Hang Rod Pocket Curtains


How to hang rod pocket curtains


The stitched-in pole pocket or sleeve of rod pocket curtains makes hanging them easy as a breeze. Here’s how you go about it:

Feed the drapery pole through the header pocket starting from one end to the other. Once you’ve inserted the entire pole through the sleeve, spread out the curtain evenly and adjust the drapery gather or ruffling as desired. 

That’s all about it, really! Your next step is to simply put the rod in place and after checking its centring, tighten any screws to secure the pole on brackets and add the finials to complete the equation.  Stand back and admire!

How are Rod Pocket Curtains Measured?

For curtains to look their very best, it is important to get the measurements right. And while measuring for your drapes may seem unnerving at first, we’re sure our detailed step-by-step guide will ease you into the simple maths of measuring for rod pocket curtains.


The length measurement will vary slightly depending on the type of rod pocket drapery you order. Nothing complicated though, just a simple addition here and there. 



Measuring curtain length


For this style of rod pocket curtains, measure the length from the top of the drapery pole to the desired endpoint. Just be careful to measure the length from the top of the pole, not the underside of it. And that's it, that simple. You’ll have the final length to specify in your order for rod pocket curtains (without header frills) from us.




 Rod pocket curtains measurement guide


Start by measuring the length from the top of the drapery pole to the desired endpoint. To that figure, add 4cm to account for the ‘upstand’ (the frill portion that stands above the pole) of your rod pocket curtains with frill headers. And you’ll have the final length to specify in your order from us. 

As to what the endpoint should be (for both styles), you may choose between any of the standard sizes of short curtains that stop at the sill or go for long curtains that reach the floor. The choice is entirely personal based on your preferences and requirements.


As rod pocket curtains are not sewn with fixed, pre-stitched pleats like in the case of pinch pleat headers, they offer a certain amount of flexibility on ‘pole coverage’. 

A 300cm wide panel - for example - can be mounted on a 100cm long pole, and gathered into lush pleats and dense fall, or stretched over a 200cm long pole yielding shallower pleats and sparser gather. 

Since you can adjust the look/gather of the pleats for rod pocket curtains, they are much more forgiving with width measurements than styles like pinch pleats that require precision in measurement. So, if you’ve chosen rod pockets, you’re in a better position already. 

Now, let’s get to the math of specifying width for your panels:

For rod pocket curtains, we advise clients to order panels with 2x fullness. 

What does ‘2x fullness’ mean? Let us take you through the steps to measure panel width and explain.  

Start by measuring the width of your pole, finial to finial. Then, for 2x fullness, double this number. This should ideally be the width of your rod pocket curtains altogether.  

To explain with an example, if your pole is 100cm long, then doubling that figure to 200cm, we recommend ordering a pair of curtains with a panel width of (roughly) 100cm each, or a single panel close to 200cm.

This extra width is to ensure that the panels have enough fabric to achieve the signature opulent ruffle look, and not look sparse or flat like a sheet. 

If you want to economise, or simply prefer a less full look for your curtains, you may go as low as 1.5x fullness resulting in less dense pleats, without compromising your drapery’s elegance heavily. 

However, we do not recommend going below 1.5x fullness for rod pocket drapes because they may end up looking ‘stingy’ and hang like a flat sheet when drawn shut.

In Closing


Bed canopy curtains


Rod pocket curtains are about effortless beauty and enchanting rural aesthetics, not about stately pleats or high-end add-ons, but about the quiet elegance of simple refinement and delicate embellishment. Design them in voiles or sheers, and they spread out their gentle charm or dress them in nostalgic floral prints for a dreamy delight. And, no matter the style or looks you’re going for, you’ll find the perfect drapery to rhyme with it in our collection. So browse our site for more inspiration and start shopping for curtains online now! The White Window’s 3000+ rich catalogue of designer drapery fabrics, free samples and styling advice are at your disposal to further your creative vision for your home.

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