You can easily hem curtains or drapes to exactly the right length for your window with just a needle and thread. Watch the step by step video.
I’m excited to share my first video post with you: a step by step guide to hemming your own curtains. Whether you made your own curtains or bought them, this video will show you how to sew them by hand so they hang exactly to the floor.
Can I just say how hard it is to sew on camera?! This is a stitch I’ve done thousands of times, but you might notice I fumble with the needle a lot! And there are tons of other flaws that I hope no one notices, but I guess feel that way with all of my posts.
If you like the curtain rod holding up my curtains in the video, check out this post on refinishing your curtain hardware.
If you don’t feel like watching the video or you just want the directions written down, here’s the script of what I planned to say. It didn’t come out exactly like this in the video because it’s a little nerve-wracking being in front of the camera, but it’s basically the same:
The script from the video: How to Hem Curtains
Hi. I’m going to show you how to hem your curtains. Whether you made your own curtains or whether you bought them from the store, hemming your curtains to the perfect length for your window and room will make them look custom-made. I love the look of floor to ceiling curtains. It makes the windows look bigger and the curtains looks more luxurious, so I’ve hung my curtains up to the ceiling, now I need to hem the bottoms so they just reach the floor.
Removing an old hem
I’m hemming curtains I made, but if you are hemming curtains you bought, you may need to take out the old hem first. Use a seam ripper and cut the thread every half inch to inch. Then pull the hem out as long as it will go. Finally iron all of the creases out. You could even sew a matching or contrasting strip of fabric onto the bottom, if you need it to be longer.
Pin the fabric
To hem my curtains, first I pin them to exact length I want them to be. Just pull the curtain straight down and fold up the bottom, then pin. It’s important that the fabric is straight so it doesn’t end up too short or too long.
Every so often, step back and check that the curtain looks like it’s pinned to the right length.
A lot of people who hem curtains say to measure the length you want them to be, then hem them before you have ever hung them up. I just don’t trust that the ceiling, floor, curtain, and curtain rod are all perfectly straight. Something always ends up a little off. So, I find that curtains come out much better hemming them while they are hanging.
Iron the hem
Next, I iron. I leave the curtains hanging while I iron, so I don’t have to deal with all of that fabric. The curtain rod holds it nicely for me.
I take the pins out as I iron because the crease will show where the bottom of the curtain needs to be.
If the ends are folded in, like these, you can fold them out and iron it, or just leave it folded and iron it.
You can’t just sew the hem like this because this raw end will show, and shed lots of thread, so I need to fold over the top and hide away that raw end.
I’ve found it’s easiest to just fold it in half and iron, but it looks more professional to have big hems that are all the same length, so I’ve cut this piece of cardboard to the length I want my hems, and I will iron down everything that goes beyond it. You choose which way you’d like to fold it.
As I iron, I also put the pins back in. You can wait until you iron the whole hem before you put in the pins if that feels more comfortable, this just seems easier to me.
Once I have the ends iron up how I want them, I will fold them back in and iron the whole corner and stick a pin in it.
Now I check to make sure the curtain is the right length and looks how I want it to. Is it even along the bottom? Does it just kiss the carpet?
How to sew a blind hem stitch by hand
Now I hem. You can take the curtains off at this point, but it’s a pretty simple stitch, and putting the curtains back up is a lot of work. Normally, I would just sit behind the curtain and sew with the fabric on my leg, but I’m going to sew it on this cube so that you can see.
Thread you needle with about 2 feet of thread. If you use too long of a piece, you’ll get knots. Too short, and you’ll spend a lot time threading your needle. Tie a knot in the longer end of the thread.
Stick through the back of the fabric, not the front. This is just to get the knot to hold. Now do a small stitch through all the layers of fabric. The smaller the stitch, the less it will show on the front. Move make another stitch 2 inched over. Go into the single layer of fabric and then up through the folded fabric. Remember, the smaller the stitch, the better it will look on the front. Once I pull the thread through, I loop it back through the beginning of the stitch, just to make it stronger. Don’t pull the thread too tightly, or it will gather the hem. It should be just tight enough that the fabric lays flat. Now I do another stitch 2 inches over.
If you want your stitches perfectly spaced, you can use a ruler. I find they are good enough just estimating 2 inches.
After a few stitches, I tie a knot just in case some day the hem gets pulled and the thread break, this way the whole hem won’t come undone, just a small section. After making my stitch, I make another small stitch just through the top of the folded fabric, pull it part way, then stick the needle through the loop. Pull tight and there’s the knot.
Now I continue with my stitches.
When I have just a little thread left, I tie another knot, then sew through the fold of the fabric and out lower down. I cut the thread and hide it inside the fold. This extra thread inside the fold keeps the knot from coming undone.
Now I get another length of thread, tie the end, stitch through the fold, then stitch through the front fabric, and continue as before.
When I get to the end, I tie a knot just like before, cut the thread and hide it inside the fold. The hem is sewn.
I iron it one final time because I’ve found the more you iron your sewing projects, the better they turn out. This last time, sets the stitches.
Here’s my finished curtains. Floor to ceiling and custom made for my windows. I hope you seen how simple it is to sew a custom hem on your curtains.
For more home projects I’ve done, visit my website as SimplePracticalBeautiful.com
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