Pencil pleat curtains feature tightly gathered fabric at the top which is held by a cord on the heading tape. The pleats resemble a row of pencils, hence the name. A pencil pleat finish is good for hiding the curtain rail with a more formal appearance.
Tab top curtains feature fabric loops that hang from the curtain rail. The curtain rail is exposed, which results in a more contemporary look. Tab top curtains are most commonly made from lighter fabrics.
Eyelet curtains feature metal rings set into the top of the fabric, which a thin curtain rail can feed through. The reinforcement of the eyelet allows heavier fabrics to be used than a tab top finish. The gathering is typically not as formal as a pencil pleat curtain.
Pocket curtains simply have a pocket sewn into the top through which the curtain rod feeds. This is a simple finish, best suited to lighter fabrics.