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How to Shorten A Curtain - Sew, Hem, and No-Sew Techniques

14 Mar 2024 0 Comments
How to Shorten A Curtain

Hey there, curtain crew! My name is James, and I'm the proud owner of, a store that makes custom curtains for all you home decor out there. 

Today, we're going to learn how to shorten curtains. Maybe you just got new windows installed, or perhaps you want to switch up the look of a room. Sometimes curtains can start looking a bit too long and messy on the floor. Or maybe you want to make a room feel bigger by creating the illusion of higher ceilings. Whatever your reason, changing the length of your curtains is an easy way to totally transform a space!

Now, don't worry - I've got two super simple methods to share with you all. We'll cover:

  1. Sewing a new hem

  2. Using a no-sew technique with special hemming tape

Both options are totally beginner-friendly, so even if you're new to sewing or DIY projects, you'll be able to follow along easily. Let's get started!

Understanding Curtain Lengths

Elegant Curtain Hanging

Before we dive into shortening those curtains, let's talk about ideal curtain lengths. The standard lengths are 63 inches, 84 inches, and 96 inches - but the perfect length really depends on the look you want and the room itself.

For a clean, modern vibe, many decorators like curtains that just skim the floor with little to no pooling. This helps make a space feel taller and more open. If you want a cozier, more traditional feel, you may prefer curtains that puddle slightly on the floor.

The length you choose can really change the whole ambiance of a room. Shorter curtains draw the eye upwards, while longer, puddled curtains add warmth and drama. Think about the overall aesthetic you're going for as you decide on your new curtain length.

Check our curtain size calculator for help.

Measuring and Preparing Before Shortening Curtains

Okay, now that we've covered curtain length basics, let's get prepped for shortening! Here's what you'll need:

  • Tape measure

  • Tailor's chalk or fabric pen for marking

  • Sharp scissors

  • Iron and ironing board (for sewing method)

  • Hem tape (for no-sew method)

First, measure from the curtain rod down to where you want the new hemline to hit. Don't forget to account for about 1-2 inches of hem allowance! Mark this measurement with pins or chalk at both corners and across the panel.

Having the right supplies and properly marking the new length will ensure nice, even hems. Take your time with this prep work - it'll make the actual hemming way easier.

Sewing a New Curtain Hem

how to shorten curtains

How to Sew a Straight Hem

For a traditional sewn hem, you'll want to:

  1. Fold the fabric under twice at the marked line to create a double-folded hem. The first fold should be 1-2 inches and the second fold should encase the raw edge.

  2. Pin the folded hem in place every 6-8 inches. This keeps it nice and crisp as you sew.

  3. Using a simple straight stitch on your sewing machine, sew along the edge of the folded hem. Reinforce the beginning and end with a few back stitches so it doesn't unravel.

Doesn't that sewn hem look beautiful and professional? For sewn hems, I always recommend giving it a good press with the iron when finished to get it extra crisp.

Avoiding Common Sewing Mistakes

When hemming your curtains, go slowly and check your tension to avoid puckered or uneven stitching. Always do a test swatch first on a scrap of fabric from your curtains.

Shorten Curtains Without Sewing Method

heming tape

Don't have a sewing machine or just prefer a total no-sew life? No problem! You can use iron-on hem tape for an easy, no-stitch hem.

  1. First, choose an iron-on hem tape suited for your curtain fabric weight. Some are for delicates while others work better for heavier fabrics.

  2. Just like sewing, you'll want to fold the fabric under twice at the marked hemline.

  3. Then lay out the hemming tape underneath the folded hem and follow the product instructions for heat setting it in place.

The tape creates a nice, clean, no-sew hem that'll stay put! Just be sure to carefully follow the heating instructions so it adheres properly.

Creative Hacks to Shorten Curtains Without Hemming

Let's see how to hem curtains without sewing

Using Curtain Clips to Adjust Length

Curtain clips or rings offer an easy way to instantly shorten curtains without any sewing or cutting! Just clip the fabric at your desired length.

The Art of Folding: A No-Cut Solution

Tie back curtains in a stylish fold or knot at the length you need - no trimming required! Get creative for an effortless way to shorten curtains.

Adjustable Curtain Rods: Altering the Drape Without Alterations

Adjustable double or triple rods allow you to change how high or low your curtains hang simply by moving the rod positions.

How to Hang My Curtains After Shortening: Tips and Tricks

Ensuring an Even Hemline for a Professional Look

When rehanging shortened curtain panels, take a step back and check that the new hemlines are straight and even across each panel. Adjust as needed for a tailored finish.

Choosing the Correct Rod and Hooks for Your Curtain Weight

Use sturdy rods and drapery hooks that can support the weight of your curtain fabric, even after hemming and shortening. Flimsy rods may sag or pull.

High and Wide: Making Your Room Look Bigger

For an illusion of taller ceilings and a more open, spacious feel, hang your shortened curtain rods 4-6 inches above window frames. Let the panels extend a few inches past the window edges.

Finishing Touches

Whichever method you used, give your newly hemmed curtains a good once-over with the iron if needed. This sets the hems and leaves them looking crisp and polished.

Then it's time for the best part - rehang those curtains and admire your handiwork! See how changing up the length totally transforms the look and feel of the space?

I'm so proud of you all for tackling this simple curtain update. You've just leveled up your home decorating skills big time! Let me know if you have any other burning curtain or drapery questions.

Get Custom Curtains Made Just for You at

Design your dream curtains at! Choose from tons of fabrics, colors, patterns and header styles like grommet, ring top or pinch pleat.

The best part? Provide your exact window measurements and we'll make panels custom-sized for a perfect fit.

Our made-to-order curtains start at just $26.99 per panel. Plus, get free shipping on orders over $199 and 10% off for new customers!

Don't settle for ill-fitting window treatments. Create boutique-quality custom drapes made precisely for your windows at amazing prices. Shop today!

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