Traverse rods work by using tracks filled with carriers. Drapery hooks attached to a curtain are slipped through holes in the carriers. When the cord is pulled, the carriers move along the track, opening or closing the curtain.
Tab-top, tie-top and rod-pocket headers aren't suitable for use with traverse rods. Their fabric doesn't allow the carriers to move and fails to cover the mechanism. Smocked, shirred and pleated headers are the best choices. They easily attach to the carriers and cover them, creating a full look even when closed.
Traverse rods work best with drapes that have buckram sewn onto the header. Buckram is a stiff fabric that maintains crisp pleats and keeps the fabric from drooping between the hooks. Fabric should be approximately three times the width of the rod.
The traverse rod also performs better when additional weight is added to the curtains. Weight provided by a fabric lining achieves an attractive flow to the curtains, as well as adding extra warmth in the winter months and coolness in the summer. Extra weight can be added to the curtain by using chain-style weights in the fold of the bottom hem and by using disk-style drapery weights in the mitered corners.