How to Hem Curtains – Best Guide

Whether you’ve purchased curtains that are too long for your windows, or you’ve moved into a new space with curtains that need adjusting, learning how to hem curtains can save you the expense and hassle of buying new ones. Not only will hemming curtains make your windows look better, but it can also give your room a more polished and cohesive appearance. We’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to hem curtains, including measuring, cutting, sewing, and finishing touches.

Measuring and Cutting

Before you can hem your curtains, you’ll need to measure and cut them to the correct length. To measure your curtains, start by determining the desired finished length. Measure from the top of the curtain to the desired hem length, making sure to measure from several points across the width of the curtain to account for any irregularities in the window.

To get accurate measurements, use a tape measure that is at least as long as your curtains, and have a friend assist you in holding the curtain in place as you measure. It’s also important to keep the tape measure level to the ground, and to double-check your measurements before cutting.

When it comes time to cut the curtains, use a pair of sharp fabric scissors and be sure to cut in a straight line. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and cut slightly longer than needed, as you can always trim off any excess fabric later. Once your curtains are cut to the correct length, you’re ready to move on to the next step of hemming.

Preparing the Fabric

Preparing your curtains for hemming is an important step to ensure a professional-looking finish. Before you start hemming, you’ll want to choose the right hemming method for your fabric. Some fabrics, like sheer or delicate fabrics, may require a different hemming technique than heavier, more durable fabrics.

Once you’ve determined the right hemming method, the next step is to pre-wash your curtains. This is especially important if you plan to wash your curtains in the future, as it will prevent shrinkage and ensure that the hem stays in place.

After pre-washing your curtains, it’s time to iron them for hemming. Use a steam iron on a low to medium heat setting to remove any wrinkles or creases. Make sure to iron the fabric flat and smooth to make hemming easier and to prevent any puckering or bunching. Once your curtains are washed and ironed, you’re ready to move on to hemming them.

Hemming Techniques

Basic hemming techniques

When it comes to curtain hemming by, there are a few different techniques you can use. The basic hemming technique involves folding the raw edge of the fabric under twice and sewing it in place. This is a simple and effective method for heavier fabrics.

Blind hemming technique

For a more invisible hem, you can use the blind hemming technique. This involves folding the fabric under in a specific pattern and then sewing it with a blind stitch. This technique is particularly useful for sheer or delicate fabrics where a visible hem would detract from the overall look of the curtains.

Rolled hemming technique

Another technique is the rolled hemming technique. This involves rolling the fabric under several times and then sewing it in place. This method is great for lightweight fabrics and can give your curtains a more delicate and feminine look.

Double-fold hemming technique

Finally, there’s the double-fold hemming technique. This involves folding the fabric under twice, similar to the basic hemming technique, but with an extra fold to create a wider hem. This method is useful for heavy or bulky fabrics, as it provides extra weight and stability to the hem.

Each of these techniques has its own benefits and drawbacks, so choose the one that best suits your fabric and desired outcome. With the right technique, your hemmed curtains will look polished and professional.

Sewing the Hem

Setting up your sewing machine

Once you have chosen your hemming technique, it’s time to set up your sewing machine if you plan to use one. Begin by selecting the appropriate needle and thread for your fabric. Be sure to test your machine’s tension and stitch length on a scrap piece of fabric before starting on your curtains.

Sewing the hem using a sewing machine

To sew the hem using a sewing machine, begin by folding the fabric under according to your chosen hemming technique. Then, starting at one end of the hem, carefully guide the fabric through the sewing machine, making sure to keep the fabric flat and even as you sew. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the hem to secure the stitches.

Sewing the hem by hand

If you prefer to sew the hem by hand, begin by threading a needle with the appropriate thread for your fabric. Fold the fabric under according to your chosen hemming technique, and then use a small whipstitch to sew the hem in place. Make sure your stitches are small and even to ensure a professional-looking finish.

Whichever method you choose, take your time and work carefully to create a neat and tidy hem. With a little patience and practice, you’ll have perfectly hemmed curtains in no time.

Finishing Touches

Pressing the hem

Once you have sewn the hem, it’s time to give it a final touch by pressing it. Use a steam iron on the appropriate heat setting for your fabric to gently press the hem flat. Be sure to iron both sides of the hem to ensure that it lays properly.

Trimming excess threads

After pressing the hem, trim any excess threads with a pair of sharp scissors. Be careful not to accidentally cut any of the stitches, as this can compromise the integrity of the hem.

Hanging the hemmed curtains

Finally, it’s time to hang your newly hemmed curtains. Make sure that they are hung evenly and at the desired length. Step back and admire your handiwork – you now have beautifully hemmed curtains that will add a touch of elegance to any room.

Tips for Success

Tips for achieving a professional look

  1. Take your time and work carefully, making sure to measure and cut accurately.
  2. Use the appropriate hemming technique for your fabric to ensure a clean and polished finish.
  3. Press the hem thoroughly to ensure that it lays flat and neat.
  4. Trim any excess threads and make sure that the hem is even across the entire width of the curtain.

Common mistakes to avoid

  1. Rushing through the hemming process, which can result in uneven hems or mistakes.
  2. Choosing the wrong hemming technique for your fabric, which can result in a visible or bulky hem.
  3. Skipping the pre-washing and ironing steps, which can result in a poorly finished hem.

Troubleshooting problems

  1. If the hem is puckering or bunching, you may need to adjust the tension on your sewing machine or use a different hemming technique.
  2. If the hem is too short or too long, carefully remove the stitches and re-hem the curtain, making sure to measure and cut accurately.
  3. If you are having trouble sewing a straight line, use a ruler or measuring tape to guide you as you sew. Learn more tips here at forbes magzines


What type of fabric is best for hemming curtains?

The best fabric for hemming curtains is one that drapes well and is easy to work with, such as cotton, linen, or silk. Avoid fabrics that are too heavy or bulky, as these can be difficult to hem and may result in a visible or uneven hem.

How much should I hem my curtains?

The amount you should hem your curtains will depend on the desired length and the chosen hemming technique. As a general rule, most curtains are hemmed to be about 1-2 inches above the floor. However, you may want to hem your curtains to a different length depending on your personal preferences and the style of your room.

Can I hem curtains without a sewing machine?

Yes, you can hem curtains without a sewing machine by using a hand-sewing technique, such as a whipstitch or a slipstitch. Keep in mind that hand-sewing can be more time-consuming than using a sewing machine and may require more patience and skill.

Do I need special thread for hemming curtains?

While you don’t necessarily need special thread for hemming curtains, it is important to choose a thread that is strong enough to hold up to regular use and washing. Use a thread that matches the color of your fabric for a seamless and professional-looking finish.

How do I fix a hem that is too short or too long?

If your hem is too short, carefully remove the stitches and re-hem the curtain to the desired length. If your hem is too long, you can trim off the excess fabric and re-hem the curtain, making sure to measure and cut accurately.

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