The top hem of a curtain, known as the heading, can help define the overall look—casual or formal, feminine or sleek—and also play a part in functionality (allowing the panel to slide easily or not). Here’s a quick rundown of common options.
1: Basic Heading, With HooksA traditional flat heading that attaches to the rod via rings stitched into its top hem or, sometimes, drapery hooks (the rings attach to the hooks). With either setup, the curtains move easily.
2: Rod-Pocket HeadingA channel along the top holds the rod and creates a casual, gathered effect. A nice choice for curtains that will stay put, because shimmying the fabric back and forth can be difficult.
3: Pleated HeadingThere are many styles, from narrow pencil pleats to wide, flat box pleats. Because they’re structured, these panels read more formal than do other types. Pleated curtains generally operate with drapery hooks and rings.
4: Tab-Top HeadingFlat loops of fabric hang on the rod. This can look relaxed with sheers or buttoned-up with stiffer fabrics. A variation on this theme is tie-tops, with bows instead of flat loops—still casual but more feminine and romantic.