Illustrated Guide to Ordering Curtain Rods For Curtains and Draperies

Rod Measuring Starting Point
Conventional Traverse Rod
Decorative Traverse Rod
Conventional traverse rod - top of rod
Decorative traverse rod - bottom of rings
Cafe Rod
Shirred Rod or Pole
Café rod - bottom of rings
Shirred rod or pole - top of header or top of rod if no header

Rod Placement Guideline

  • Conventional traverse rod - 4" above edge of glass
  • Decorative traverse rod - 4-5" above edge of glass
  • Café rod - drapery heading and ring clear edge of glass
  • Shirred rod or pole - rod width clears edge, allows for supports

Drapery Height - The distance from the finished installed edge to the finished installed bottom edge of the drapery panel.


Finished Height - Final top to bottom length of treatment including allowances for rod take-up, poufs, etc. Allowances are added to drapery height to determine finished height


Take-up - Distance the drapery is shortened when shirred through a rod pocket.


Rod Width

  • Rod WidthNo Stackback - equals window width
  • Stackback Two-Way Draw - equals window width + stackback

Stackback - The amount of space required to completely draw open the drapery to clear the glass without obstructing the view. A general rule is to add one-third of window width to allow for stackback.

Stackback Two-Way Draw      No Stackback

Drapery Finished Width -
Finished Width = Rod Width + Overlap + Returns


Overlap - The part of a pair of draperies which hides the master carrier and overlaps in the center when draperies are drawn. A general rule is to allow 2-1/2" - 3-1/2" per drapery panel on a two-way draw traverse rod. Overlap allowance not needed for one-way draw or shirred pocket installation.Two-Way Conventional Traverse


Returns - The amount of drapery that covers the distance from the face of the rod to the wall. A general rule is to add 1/2" to projection to avoid fabric binding. Exact return distances are given for each traverse rod.

Fullness - Fullness defines the amount of fabric that is pleated or shirred for a given drapery finish width. Treatment fullness can be expressed as a percentage (e.g. 100%) or a ratio (e.g. 2 to 1). Fabric weight and personal preference determine fullness. Consult workroom for specific guidelines.