Plain Topped Curtains

The tops of a plain curtain are usually held together using a triple drawstring that when pulled gathers the fabric into ripples or partial pleats at the top. If they form very exact pleats at the top then don't undo the drawstring when cleaning them, as getting them back into the right position will be a time consuming job. 
These strings have a horrible tendency to tangle  while washing if they're left untied. If this happens you'll spend ages unraveling the string. It's consequently a good idea to tie them up before cleaning and if you can find a neutral coloured cloth bag place the ends in the bag and tie it up.

Finishing (Ironing)

Here we have a representation of ironing a plain curtain. There is likely to be some gathering left in the top, even if you've undone the cords at the top. There's no need to iron the tops themselves as there's a band at the top and ironing it could cause damage to the face of the curtain. Instead move the curtain head off the board and be prepared to iron up to but not over it. Then, working from the lead edge and pulling the curtain towards you iron the top section, making sure any lining is flat before you start or you may cause a shine. Move on a section at a time making sure you do the next section that hasn't been done.
Remember as the top is gathered there's more material width below the top than actually at the top. This means your going to have to maneuver the curtain to ensure you don't miss any of the fabric. Continue moving section by section until you've completed the whole top section then, if the curtain is longer than the ironing board, shift to the bottom section starting once again with the leading edge, pulling the curtain towards you. Now you don't have to worry about stretching as the fabric will naturally lay flat, but you still need to be aware of any linings that may crinkle underneath.
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