How to perfectly hem curtains

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Although I’m a big fan of handmade curtains, sometimes you can find a really great pair for less than you can make them. Of course, if you do choose store bought curtains, they will more than likely need to be hemmed. Think of it like tailoring clothes to perfectly fit you and make you look your best. Tailoring curtains is the exact same thing. But, if you’re a little short on measuring the perfect length, my no-fail hemming method just might be the trick you need on how to perfectly hem curtains.

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I started with a pair of curtains from Ikea, which were only $15 a pair. I can barely make dinner for $15, let alone curtains. See, sometimes it’s just better to buy them!

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I started by putting them on the rod where I wanted to hang them. I held up each end, so that it was just touching the floor, then folded up the excess and pinned it. Once both sides of the ends were pinned, I took it off the rod, smoothed it out to get the middle points lined up properly, then pinned it down. When all the pinning was complete, I ironed a crease where the hem should be.

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Now here comes the “non-measuring measurement” part. I take 2 yard sticks and lay them side by side, using the freshly ironed seam as the edge. I mark it down the length to get a mark for cutting.

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Then I cut right along the line with regular scissors. Well, sewing scissors… you knew what I meant.

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Using the ironed edge as a guide, I turned under 1/2 of the cut into the fold, so that the hem would be even.

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If you’re using hem tape, use it between now, just under the newly turned seam.

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If you’re sewing the seam, run a straight stitch down the top edge of the hem.
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And you’re done! See, it’s so easy – and now they look perfect, like they were made for the windows.
Looking for more curtain ideas? You can find them in my DIY Curtain Ideas Gallery.

About Gina Luker

Gina Luker is a writer, photographer and lover of all things quirky. She's usually found with a drill in one hand and a cocktail in the other while blogging along the way. She's addicted to coffee, polka dots, rock stars, Instagram, and everything aqua.


  1. I am glad you showed how easy it is to sew. I think it is so funny the lengths people will go to avoid sewing when it would take less time to sew in the first place.

  2. I have sewn almost my whole life and never thought of this great trick! Brilliant! Thanks for the tip!

  3. Perfecting timing with this post. I made some curtains, but the hem needs to be taken up. I like your tips, they certainly will help me fix my curtains.

    Have a Terrific Tuesday!

  4. This is a great idea. It’s always hard to get the hem straight. Thanks so much for the tip. I am making curtains for a bedroom even as we speak. : )

  5. I love the fabric of these curtains. Do you have the bit of fabric that you cut off? Would you be willing to part with it? If you do not mind giving it a new home, I would love the two pieces. Thankyou, Gina. I do enjoy your blog so much.

  6. great tip! Wondering if anyone knows where inexpensive curtains can be found besides Ikea? (not target/walmart) Even fabric these days cost about $20 Per panel!! $40-$50 per window is just too much. We bought at ikea before and they wouldnt let us return them because the package was opened!! How else do you tell if they work?

    • Mary thrower says:

      Try using sheets! I use them the ones with the designed bottomed pillow cases make beautiful curtains!

  7. Haha! Thanks for the tip, Gina! I bought a set of curtains from Ikea ages ago but just avoided cutting them. I finally bought a new pair on clearance at Target because I didn’t want to get involved hemming the Ikea ones!

  8. Great hint … Thanks for sharing.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  9. I just hemmed some IKEA curtains and only hung one up, then made the second one the same as the one I hung up to pin. It didn’t work. I now have one curtain that is just a bit longer than the other. I should know better, I’ve been sewing for 50 years and store bought curtains are usually not even. I don’t want to take them down again though. You are right though about buying instead of making. I never could have made them for what I paid.

  10. Stupid question. If you crease the curtain where it should end, then cut it along the yard stick and them hem it, won’t it then be a good half inch shorter than your desired length? I want to be sure I don’t chop too short!

    • The cut should be two yard stick widths below your crease, not on the crease, so you are creating room to hem the curtains and get them at the right length. Good luck!

  11. I don’t know how to sew, SO…. THANK YOU! I have bookmarked this page, this website, this pinterest link. I’ll be back!!

  12. Dear Shabbycreek queen,
    Your curtaintutorials are heaven, thanks a lot. They remind me of everything I learnt by myself 20 years ago (yes, before we got internet over here!) and that I forgot! New curtains hanging and more on the way. But what I find vital is something one better does first, before hitting pins, machine and rod: do take time to gently wash and dry and iron if necessary your curtains…This will avoid shrinkage tars!!!

  13. sorry, shrinkage tears!!!

  14. What a great and simple method to get the right length! Thanks for sharing this!

  15. I was just wondering how you sewed the top. I can’t really see how they are designed to attach to the rod…….Love the look. I am about to start my curtains this week and really wanted so advice..thanks so much.

    • Gina Luker says:

      It’s the pocket rod from the original store bought curtains on top. If you don’t have them, you can turn it down and then run a hem – easy peasy.

  16. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.

    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By the way,
    how could we communicate?

  17. Exactly what I needed. Your lazy hem-measuring was perfect!

  18. MoniqueDC says:

    In addition to the recommended washing of the curtains, I recommend that you pin them up and leave them pinned for at least a month.

    This will allow gravity to stretch the fabric (if there is any stretch in them) so that you have to reposition the hem, but it will be so much better tailored to the space. Let time to the work for you.

  19. Hi, Just wondered if you knew how I can solve this problem. I make my own curtains but every time I hang them the edges appear shorter than the rest even though I measure them from top to bottom three times before I cut and stitch them.Any ideas?

    • Make sure you have a hem that’s at least 4″. The weight helps keep it even. I cut mine 5″ longer (at the bottom) and fold it over 1″. It works really well. I do prefer lined curtains. The time and effort is worth it.

    • hi I have the same problem it is so annoying I have tried weights in the bottom ends and still appear shorter then the rest of the curtain I have solved it when making sheers or plan fabric by just cutting slighter off towards the edges but cant do that if using a patterned fabric but this still doesn’t explain WHY this happens ???????????

  20. Serena R says:

    I just used Google on “How to hem Drapes”. Your article came up and too funny… I’m hemming the EXACT same curtains.

  21. lovely! Thanks for sharing the step by step, which is going to really help me out around my own home. I have about 10 windows to cover an no idea where to start, lol.

  22. So funny. I Googled “hem curtains fast” and this article came up. Those are the very same curtains I am about to hem. I just got them at IKEA. LOL


  1. […] the two raw edges I had just created by making cuts including making a rod pocket.  See how Gina folds her hem in twice in this tutorial?  You will want to do that to eliminate raw edges.  Just fold over about 5 inches at the […]

  2. […] How to Perfectly Hem Curtains ………. The Shabby Creek Cottage […]

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