Tie Top Curtains & Window Drapes: A Complete Guide

Tie top curtains & drapes


Casual elegance par excellence - that’s tie top curtains in a nutshell for you. Harnessing the beauty of a thing as simple as a knotted fabric loop, tie top curtains bring a lighthearted moment to the decor. These curtains hang on slim fabric strips that are tied to the drapery pole, offering an unstructured dreamy elegance especially fitting for rustic spaces, laidback environs and feminine decor.

Most commonly found gracing the headers of lazy linen drapes and easy-breezy sheer curtains, tie tops bring home a laid-back whimsical charm with their light-friendly styling and low-body panels. If you’re looking for custom curtains that invite diffused daylight and relay a bohemian vibe with woven textures or country decor’s homespun charm, this is it!

Tie tops are for those spaces in the home that don’t necessarily need foolproof privacy and light control, and are dressed right when in casual attire. Flaunting an infectious lazy charm and delicate embellishment, they are often stitched as cafe curtains and are favourites in kids’ rooms, rustic kitchens and country-themed homes. If you would love to introduce these delicate beauties to your home decor, here are some details and tips to help you style them suitably.

What are Tie Top Curtains?


What are tie top curtains


Tie top curtains feature headers with narrow strips of fabric positioned at equal intervals which are knotted onto the drapery pole. So, the curtain panel is hanging from these loops rather than rings or grommets. The fabric used for the loops is typically the same as that of the curtain panel itself. 

The knots and the standing ends of the loops resting down organically are the highlight features of this drapery. Add a traditional wooden drapery pole and tie top curtains will flaunt them proudly. And that’s all about the hardware requirements.

Tie tops don’t need additional accessories like rings, pins or grommets. They can go straight from the box onto the drapery pole. It is neither decadent pleating nor heavy statement fabrics that make this style of drapery impressive - tie tops do the job with modicum pleating, casual fabrics and simple knotted loops! 

But knotted loops don’t provide the same functional ease as rings or grommets; they may tend to snag on the pole when operated. Therefore, tie tops are generally used as stationary decorative drapes or over small and less-frequented windows or stitched with lightweight fabrics. 

What are the Reasons to Choose Tie Top Curtains?


Tie top curtains


Owing to their simplicity and raw elegance, tie top curtains immediately make your home feel very warm and welcoming. And they add a one-of-a-kind elegance to the space. But that’s not the full list of good things that come with those whimsical knots; there are more reasons to love tie top curtains, like:

COMPATIBILITY WITH DECOR STYLES: Candidly folksy and charmingly rustic, tie tops are a default choice for decor styles that employ country themes and simple elegance. From shabby chic to coastal, farmhouse to country, cottagecore to boho, every style that hones in on homespun appeal benefits from this style of drapery. 

SIZE FLEXIBILITY: Tie tops offer flexibility around their final length and width because of the way they are constructed. This allows you to customise the length and width of the curtains according to the window size and personal preference.

The length can be adjusted by a few centimetres by simply changing the position of the knot which will lengthen or shorten the loop accordingly. So, if you have ordered floor-length curtains, you may be able to tie the knot higher and let them puddle gently on the floor or tie the knot lower and let them float above the floor.  

Similarly, you can increase or decrease their coverage on the pole by gathering them closer or farther. When you bring the loops closer, you’ll get deeper pleats with lesser coverage on the pole. On the contrary, if you position the loops on the pole as far apart as possible, you’ll have a flat-looking curtain panel covering more of the pole. 

Thus, you can create two different looks with the same curtain panel. And, you can decide ahead of placing the order what level of coverage and looks you are going for so that you can specify the length and width accordingly.

Size flexibility enables you to adapt these curtains to new settings or different windows as the need arises. It also takes away the burden of being extremely precise with the measurements when you place the order. 


Canopy bed tie top curtains


EASY TO INSTALL: Tie tops won’t make you go through the hassles of pricking pins into the header or measuring repeatedly for clamping the hooks/clips. All you need to do is tie the loops at the same drop points and feed the pole into them. You will experience that same ease every time you take them down for washing and maintenance.

ECONOMIC: If you already have drapery poles installed in your home, you can rest at ease that nothing more is required to hang these curtains. As you don’t need additional accessories to hang tie tops, you save aplenty. Besides, tie top curtains are typically stitched in low fullness to ensure easy functionality and to avoid bunching together of the tied loops. Thus the volume of fabric involved is also reduced, cutting down the cost further. That offers great relief if you’re working on a tight budget.

DECORATIVE & CASUAL: Tie tops have a pronounced lightheartedness to them owing to their simplified yet decorative construction. You can also become more creative with the way you tie the knots and create a different look with the same curtain panel each time. From the single loop to the crisscross knot and simple bows to ruffled bows, tie tops can be made as chic as your imagination allows.

What are the Factors to Consider When Shopping for Tie Top Curtains?


Sheer curtains & drapes


Curtain heading styles have a direct impact on two aspects of the curtains: the visual appeal and the functionality.  Hence, when evaluating tie tops, consider whether they will sync with your decor style and fulfil your functional requirements. Here, we have enlisted a few factors to consider before you shop for them:

FUNCTIONALITY: As mentioned earlier, tie tops may be slow to glide on poles compared to curtains that hang on rings as the fabric loops don’t slide as easily as smooth metal/plastic rings. That’s why tie tops are typically stitched with lightweight fabrics to reduce the load-bearing on the loops and facilitate a slicker glide. 

In addition, they are also stitched with less ‘fullness’, that is relatively less panel width, to further keep the weight of the drapery to the minimum. If however, they are stitched with heavier fabrics, they are used only for decorative purposes or for low-use windows where they will mostly or always be stationary. 

Also, note that they are not the best standalone treatments for rooms that need total light control, such as nurseries, kids’ rooms, bedrooms and media rooms. Therefore, we recommend mounting blackout shades or blinds as the back layer to provide for room darkening and the tie tops can serve as the aesthetic element as the second, front layer. 

SELECTION OF FABRICS: Tie top curtains are typically meant to look ultra-casual and let in light and air. Notice how the loops allow light to peek in, unlike most other heading styles. Every design decision regarding these curtains revolves around this main agenda - accessibility to light and fresh air without compromising daytime privacy. 

So, complement this airy look by selecting lightweight fabrics or sheers that filter in the sunlight softly and allow air circulation through their loose weave. A crinkly linen drapery or lightweight cotton will do this effortlessly and also take the homely vibe of the drapery to the next level. Also, consider leaving them unlined so that the maximum amount of light can be filtered in. 

This is not to say that tie tops cannot be made with heavier fabrics if that’s the look you’re aiming for. But do keep in mind that the operational ease of the curtains will be minimised. So, if you’re keen on a heavy fabric, we’ll recommend tie tops only for decorative use as stationary side panels rather than for full coverage of the window to avoid clumsiness in operation. 

CASUAL DECOR: Unlike styles with stitched-in pinch pleats that look sculptural and tailored, tie tops form their pleats when hand-gathered on the pole. They are collected loosely with sparse pleats and are ideally meant to look like a rather flat curtain panel hanging on fabric loops when in use. For this reason, they are typically stitched as low-width panels with roughly 1.5x fullness, instead of 2x fullness which we recommend for most other styles. To explain with an example, for a window that is 100cm wide,  the tie top’s ideal panel width should be 150cm (100cm x 1.5). This can be ordered either as a single panel of 150cm or a pair of roughly 75cm per panel.  

With a smooth fall, light-filtering body and decorative loop knots, tie tops are the epitome of casual aesthetics and as such limited to informal settings. 

For formal and maximalist decor settings, curtains with a highly tailored appeal, shapely pleats, and uniform gather serve better. These are also typically stitched with statement drape-weight fabrics that can be shaped to hold pleats well and give off a luxe vibe by their very essence. So, if you’re looking for curtains for formal spaces, we recommend exploring other alternatives.

HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS: The hardware requirements for this drapery are minimal. But, the drapery pole is completely out for display, hence you might want to invest in poles that complement the rustic charm of the drapery. A distressed wooden drapery pole or a farmhouse-style black drapery rod may serve a better pair than a polished shiny metal pole.

MEASUREMENT CONSIDERATIONS: While this aspect of tie-top curtains is elaborately explained in the ‘How to Measure’ section below, here’s a word to draw attention to the point. Fabric loops add to the length of the drapery. And, the final length of the drapery will vary depending on the way you will tie the loops on the pole. So, do keep that in mind when you measure the length. And start measuring from the point where you want the curtain panel to begin. More on this below, so read on!

SINGLE PANEL CONSIDERATIONS:  If you have a long drapery pole with a centre support bracket, you will have to consider how many panels to order since tie tops cannot glide over the brackets. A one-way draw, single curtain panel is not an option with a pole that features a centre-support bracket as the panel will not travel over the middle bracket.



What are the Hardware Options for Tie Top Curtains? 

 Rustic wooden drapery pole


Tie tops are decorative heading styles that unquestionably command attention and direct the gaze toward the curtain header and the hardware chosen. And if people are going to look, it’s best to serve them a view.

Tie-top drapes find their heaven-made match in show-worthy poles that can live up to their dressy headers’ look. Consider a white-washed drapery pole for the quaint shabby chic style look or invite home the celebrated couple - tie top curtains with rustic wooden poles.

And the great news is that if you have such poles installed already, there is nothing more you need to invest in - no rings or pins or hooks. Since the curtains come with fabric loops, all you need to do when you get your tie-tops at hand is to tie the loops and hang them. 

Note that tie tops 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 Tie-Top Curtains


How to hang tie top curtains?


Since tie top curtains do not require any prep like pin insertions or clips, hanging them is quite easy. 

You simply need to tie the fabric loops in pretty ties along the length of the pole, and mount the pole up with brackets and finials. 

However, what’s more important when tying and placing the knots of a tie top curtain is the distance at which you tie the knots to achieve your desired end look.  


Tie top curtain measurement


If you want a relatively flat look without a lot of deep pleating, opt for wider gaps between the ties. But if you’ve planned your drapes to hang with a dense gather, reduce the gap between the ties, allowing the fabric to gather into deep folds between the knots.  

Most clients intend their tie top curtains to primarily serve a decorative purpose. Therefore, once you’ve found a gap and pleat density you like, your drapes can continue to hang in that perfect position until you change your mind.    

The Top Tie-Top Trick: Turn to Drapery Rings


Hanging tie top curtains with rings


Transform the way you experience tie-top curtains with this nifty trick. Before hanging, simply attach curtain rings to the tie-top loops, as shown in the image above. This not-so-secret-anymore trick ensures smooth gliding along the curtain rod and also allows you to adjust the fullness of the curtain pleats to some extent, providing functional flexibility while maintaining an elegant aesthetic. 

How to Measure Tie Top Curtains & Drapes?


Nursery curtains and drapes


For curtains to look their very best, it is important to get the measurements right. Tie top curtains, being distinct from all other heading styles in their construction, have a very specific method of measuring too. Here’s how it goes:


How to measure tie top curtains


Tie top curtains provide some flexibility around the final length when hung. This is because you may tie the loops at varying heights on the curtain rod, allowing you to adjust the final hanging length based on your preference to some extent. 

The fabric strips sewn to the header of your tie-top curtains from The White Window are 25cm long. Keep in mind though that the length of the tie-strips is not included in the panel length you specify in your order with us. 

To measure the length of your tie top curtains, simply measure from the point where you would like your curtain panel (not including the strips) to start until the desired ending point.

You may choose your drapery to stop at the window sill, or at a recommended length of 10-15cm below the window sill, or even better, as the stylists tout, go for floor-length drapes that match the tailored look of the style. 

Ultimately, the curtain fall length comes down to the taste of each client. While any curtain is best donned in long lengths, one may choose other endpoints based on the space available, or personal preferences.


Tie-top curtains are designed to have a relaxed, slightly rippled appearance. To achieve this look, clients are recommended to order 1.5x fullness for their tie top curtains to achieve this.

So, what does ‘1.5x 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, to achieve 1.5x fullness, simply multiply the number by 1.5 to determine the end-panel width. Ideally, this should be the total width for your tie-top curtains.

For example, if your drapery pole is 100 cm long, we recommend ordering a single drapery panel with a width of about 150 cm (100 x 1.5 = 150 cm), or a pair of curtains with a panel width of (roughly) 75cm (150 cm/2) each.

You may also order up to 2x fullness if you have chosen lightweight fabrics and want the standard gathered look that other drapery styles render. For 2x fullness, you need to double the number that you get after measuring your pole. 

For 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. 

Do note that we recommend not going below 1.5x fullness for tie-top drapes. If you order a curtain panel with a width that is the same length as your drapery pole, it will hang like a flat sheet when drawn open to cover the entire window. Also, avoid ordering more than 2x fullness for non-sheer and heavy fabrics because that will challenge easy movement on the pole.

In Closing


Canopy bed curtains


Incredibly laid-back and unpretentiously charming, tie top curtains catch attention with their elegant header. They know how to make anyone who steps in feel instantly at home. Adorn a lazy sunroom or a pretty kitchen window with these whimsical curtains for that little element of je ne sais quoi that you are missing now. Browse our fabric collection to find the right drapery online to nail the aesthetic of a warm and inviting country home. No matter the taste, you are sure to find the rarest colour, the most soothing texture and the loveliest of patterns at The White Window. So, head on!
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