What is Curtain Gather or Fullness? And How do I Measure for Curtains and Nets?

We are often asked the following questions; ‘what is curtain gather?’, ‘how much net fullness is right for me?’ and ‘can I save money by choosing less gather for my voiles?’ and although we like to stress to our customers that this is a personal choice based on what your desired look is in your home, we do have some rules we like to follow, that in our opinion creates the perfect window dressing for curtains, voiles, sheers and blinds.
So, to answer the first question. When we speak of ‘gather’ or ‘fullness’ we are talking about the finished width of your curtain, including the soft folds  that you will traditionally see nets, voiles and curtains have. This means the curtain does not lie flat against the window or door, although this is something you can choose to have.
To create these folds we use your window width (or track/pole width if your curtains are going outside your window) and multiply this by your desired amount of gather, generally varying from 1.5x to 3x.
As we said above, everything is personal choice but we do have our own rules for gather, which over the years we have tried and tested and found to be the best option for fullness. We advise for nets and voiles that you choose 2.5x gather, this means that your window width will be multiplied by 2.5. Below we have shown three of our most popular net and voile curtains with 2.5x gather to give you an idea of the look you will achieve with this fullness. (L-R Sapphire Cream, Alice White, Botley White)
There are many advantages to including gather in your curtains, and here at NCD we recommend having 2.5x or above to create the fullest and most luxurious window treatment, the more gather selected also means the more privacy you will have as well as better insulation. Plain fabrics, such as Sapphire or Botley look great with as much gather as possible, so these can even be selected as 3x gather if you desire, however patterned fabrics such as Alice will suffer with more gather as the pattern will become more obscure, see images below. (L-R Sapphire Cream, Alice White, Botley White)
There is an increasing trend for less gather in curtains, a sort of minimalist, less-is-more approach and there are many fabrics that do look great with 1.5x gather or even as a flat panel! However, think carefully about what look you are trying to achieve, for example, if you are after privacy a flat panel is not going to offer this as well as a 3x gather, unless the fabric is a 4 or 5 on our density rating or is perhaps a lined voile or curtain. As you can see below, the pattern on our Alice curtain, is a lot more visible with less gather, however the Sapphire and Botley are looking a little thin.
We would always recommend at least 2.5x gather, but we are often asked by customers on a budget whether dropping to 2x or 1.5x gather will save them money, and the answer is obviously yes! The less gather you select, means the less fabric we will need to create your finished curtain, however, our rule of thumb would be to always select the maximum amount of gather you can afford, and as you can see from our images the differences between each stage of gather can look strikingly different.

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