Hemming a curtain sounds like something straight out of a 1950s show, but it’s actually a smart skill to have in your arsenal. This is especially true if the windows you have aren’t a standard size due to air conditioner use or similar. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a master seamstress to be able to hem a curtain properly. Did you ever wonder how 50s housewives made it look so easy? Well, there are tricks to it…
To hem a curtain, start by measuring how much curtain you want to reduce in size. Pin the curtains to the length that you want it to be, adding plenty from the outside edges in. Remove the curtain from the rod and iron it, ensuring that all the pins are the same length. Then, cut the current seams and fold your material over. Use a sewing machine to sew along the pin lines. Keep the line straight, and you will end up with shorter curtains.
If you want to hem your curtain it can be a little daunting at first. If you are new to sewing, we’re going to break it down for you in this article…and maybe also give you some smarter, easier ways to hem that curtain.
The first thing that you will need to do is get the right supplies. After all, hemming a curtain is not something that is typically done by hand unless you’re really good at sewing. We suggest you go out and get the following:
- A Tape Measure
- A Bunch of Straight Pins
- An Iron
- An Ironing Board
- Thread to Match Your Curtains
- A Sewing Machine
Now that you have all the supplies ready, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how to hem your own curtains, shall we? Just follow the steps below.
How To Hem A Curtain Without Sewing Machine
1)Start by measuring how much you need to hem. You should always try to leave room for a double-folded hem. Traditional hems will have a three-inch width. This means that you should remove six inches rather than 12 if you want to get a reduction of a foot. When measuring your curtains, keep them hung up and pull them taut.
2)Cut the excess curtains off, then start to fold over your curtains. You want to aim for a double-fold. As you fold, stick pins in the curtains so that they can retain their shape and retain an even measurement from end to end.
3) Remove the curtains from the rods, and double-check the measurements again. Always measure twice before you start sewing.
4)Put your curtains on the ironing board, and iron the crease. This ensures that you get the perfect hem when you sew.
5)After ironing the curtains, place them on a sewing machine and start sewing. When you sew your curtains, try to get as close to the folds as possible. Remove your straight pins as you sew.
6)Rehang your newly hemmed curtains. See, that wasn’t so bad, was it?
Is There An Easier Way To Hem Your Curtains?
If the idea of trying to sew sends a chill down your spine, I totally understand. It does that to me too, which is why I prefer to go with a hem alternative, such as iron-on fusible bonding web or hemming tape. Both of these are products that do not require a sewing machine (thank God!) and can still offer an amazing hemming job.
About Iron-On Fusible Bonding Web
This is a bonding web that is primarily made of glue that activates in the presence of heat. While it can be used for other clothing items, the truth is that it’s often best used for hemming. Using it is a cinch. Just fold your hem, place some webbing inside close to the edge, and iron the hem.
As long as you folded the hem in a straight line and added enough webbing, you should have a tight hem. If you want to make sure it’s a straight line, use pins to mark off the straightness while the curtains are on the hanger—just like in our tutorial above.
About Hemming Tape
Hemming tape is a little different, but not too different. It’s a double-sided tape that is placed between two fabrics you want to hem. All you need to do is activate it by ironing. The glue binds the two fabrics together, while the tape keeps everything in a straight line. If you want to do this method, I suggest doing it in sections. It’s easier that way.
About Fabric Glue
If you have some extra fabric glue lyin around, you might be in luck. Fabric glue works well and doesn’t even require an iron. Just fold your hem the way you did in our tutorial, apply your glue in evenly-spaced beads (or a thin stripe) and press your hem together. Let it dry, and you’ve got some hemmed curtains.
Does Gluing Your Curtain’s Hem Work Well?
One of the reasons people still hem their curtains the old-fashioned way is because it’s the best way to handle almost any material. This is even true about certain shower curtains. Seams stick together. They’re mechanically bonded, which is what makes them so durable.
Glue, even the strong Gorilla Glue you can’t get off fingers, will eventually wear out. When those bonds loosen, your hems will start to fall apart. So, you may need to maintain your hems if you go for a no-sew option. It’s something to be aware of, at the very least.
Should You Call A Professional?
Yes, it’s the old fashioned “bougie” way of handling things that need hemming, but it works. Truth be told, the vast majority of people will not need to call up a professional for any kind of curtain hemming. It’s money that could be used elsewhere, but if you want to get stellar results and are DIY-averse, it could be an option to pursue.
It will cost between $15 to $35 to get unlined hems on your curtains from a professional. If you want to have lined hems on your curtains, the price will be higher—$30 to $70, depending on the size of the curtains. Obviously, this costs a pretty penny, but labor is not cheap. That’s why DIY usually makes more sense.
Is hem tape permanent?
While hem tape may eventually unglue after years of use or exposure to warm, moist environments, you shouldn’t treat it like it’s temporary. Hem tape is a permanent solution and will not come off your curtains without a serious fight. You should not use hem tape without measuring and careful consideration. In this sense, it’s a lot like traditional sewing hemming.
If you want a more temporary option, using sticky double-sided tape meant for wall decorations (like Command strips) could be a better option for you.
Does hemming tape or fabric glue come off in the wash?
The awesome thing about fabric glues, hem tapes, and iron-on webbing is that it’s not a regular bond type. These are chemical bonds that are meant to fully sink into the fabric. This means that most items that you hem with these methods will be able to withstand multiple washes, so you can always launder your curtains in the wash like you did before.
If you think about it, hemming your curtains with glue-y substances does mean that you will eventually see some wear and tear. Thankfully, glues these days are pretty strong, so you won’t have to worry about that for a long, long time.
Do you really need to hem curtains?
It all depends on what you want to do with your curtains. It’s possible to have curtains that are so long, they touch and even run over the floor. This style of curtain maintenance is a very feminine, old-school way of handling things and it’s also a pretty easy way to ensure that you don’t have to hem curtains.
Unfortunately, this curtain hanging style has its own issues. For example, you will have to clean your curtains more frequently due to the dust that will inevitably get tracked on them. It’s up to you to choose this option.