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How to Create the Perfect Curtain Hem

How to Create the Perfect Curtain Hem

If you read my recent Make a Conduit Pipe Curtain Rod post, you’re aware of my current curtain craze. I’m finally getting around to hanging some curtains in the new apartment…heavy thermal curtains over the heat-sucking sliding glass doors and regular curtains over the living room windows.

brown curtains in an apartment

Today I’m going to show you how I hemmed these curtains (they’re hanging on the conduit pipe curtain rod!). I wanted to hang my curtain rod very high to fill up some wall space and make the doors look larger, so I had to buy the curtains very long and hem them.

I spent an entire Saturday morning dreading this project, but the hardest part of it was actually ironing the curtains after hemming them, not the actual hemming process itself! Here’s how I did it.

What I used:

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  • Curtains, we have these thermal curtains in a few different colors throughout the apartment, and we love them!
  • Iron and spray starch
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine

Step 1: Mark where you’ll cut your curtains. You can use a measuring tape, but the easiest way to do this is by hanging your curtains and placing a few pins to mark where you want the curtains to fall. This is exactly what a tailor would do to your pants if you were having them hemmed. You don’t have to run pins along the entire curtain. I only used two.

pinning the bottom of the curtains to hem it

(I couldn’t disturb Blanche while she sunbathed in one of her favorite sunny spots.)

Step 2: Take down your curtains and measure the length from the bottom of your curtains to the pin markers. My length was 5.5 inches, so I folded the entire curtain bottom up 5.5 inches. The wrong sides of the fabric should face one another.

If you have more than 6 inches from the bottom of your curtains to your pin markers, I’d trim the excess before the next step. You don’t want your hem getting too long.

measuring and sewing the bottom of the curtains

Step 3: After you fold up the excess fabric, you can pin it in place, but I think it’s easier to skip the pinning and just press as you go. If you give it a good shot of spray starch before pressing, you’ll get a neat fold that stays in place without pins.

ironing the bottom of the curtains

Step 3: Sew a straight stitch along the top of the folded-over piece to secure it in place.

seam on the curtain hem

If you want a no-sew hemming option for your curtains, add iron-on hemming tape in step 2 after you press your entire fold. For this project, I’d recommend Stitch Witchery Super. Then, instead of sewing in step 3, follow the instructions on your hemming tape’s packaging to permanently bond the hem.

And here is what my new hem looks like! The hemmed curtains had an immediate impact on the room, especially since we have white on white walls and carpet. The brown helped fill up the space nicely. Plus, these curtains are also functional. They block the light out very well!

seam on the hemmed curtain

And it wouldn’t be a project if my little guy didn’t sneak in:

cute tabby kitty
pinnable graphic with text that says the perfect curtain hem learn how to shorten curtains including images of the process
  1. Ellen says:

    You should measure from the top down as ready-made curtains are often not of even length. Also, you should never straight stitch the hem on curtains. If you don’t have access to a blind hemmer, stitch them by hand.

    • Thanks for the tips Ellen 🙂 Great point about measuring down–I guess I’ve been lucky so far! I think a straight stitch was fine for these–maybe some day I’ll have the patience to stitch by hand.

  2. d roach says:

    you may want to tell people to let the curtains hang for a couple of days before measuring them to hem, as they can lengthen from the weight.

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