How To Shorten And Hem Curtains

You don’t need to go to the expense of buying new curtains when you move - save money by just shortening the ones you already own. Or, look for secondhand curtains in good condition, and shorten these to suit your windows.

By Kirstie Allsopp

You Will Need
Tape measure
An iron
Needle and thread

Measure The Curtains 
Step One: Measure The Curtains

With your curtains hung in place, measure the required drop. Mark the position where the curtains should fall using pins. Always double check your measurements before cutting and sewing.
Separate The Curtain From The Lining 
Step Two: Separate The Curtain From The Lining

Take the curtains down and unpick the stitches that join the lining to the curtain, going high enough to allow you to work on the main curtain fabric and lining separately. Make a note of the measurements of the existing curtain and lining hems, so you can make the new hems the same size. These will often be double hems.
Stitch The New Hems 
Step Three: Stitch The New Hems

Unpick the curtain hem, and trim excess fabric, allowing enough fabric to create a double hem for the new hem if necessary. Turn it up to the marked length. Check that it is level using your tape measure, then press. Slip stitch in place. Repeat with the lining hem. Slip stitch the curtain and lining to rejoin them.
Alternative Method 
Step Four: Alternative Method

Sometimes it can be easier and quicker to shorten a pair of curtains from the top of the curtain. Remove heading tape, cut to the required new length and finish by turning in the cut edges and slipstitching closed. Then replace the old heading tape or if the heading tape has already been pulled, you may prefer to add new heading tape.

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