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Friday, January 9, 2015

The RIGHT Way to Measure/Hem Store-Bought Curtains!

Are you confused about how to hem/shorten store-bought curtains? Here's some help....

Here's the thing about store-bought curtains....most are NOT EVEN. Not remotely close to being even. Why is this a problem? If you rely on the seams and folds, your hemming will be off and your curtains will be uneven!

Here's the problem. It seems logical to measure from the top of the curtain to the floor. We take that measurement and add about 4" for the hem. What you'll end up with are some curtains that don't hang straight; the panels don't line up with each other.

Why? The curtains don't hang from the top. Most have grommets or a casing that the rod slides into. And that's the issue. Store-bought curtains, from my experience, have uneven hems or misplaced grommets. AND...the curtains rest on the rod at the casing or grommet top. 

I have been helping a friend settle into his new house. He purchased two curtain panels for his daughter's bedroom - she's got two windows: one wider than the other. There's a weird ledge, so they needed to be shortened - to almost half the length. His idea was that I could (1) shorten the two panels for the bigger window and (2) use the excess fabric to make another panel for the other window... Sure. We'll get to that in another post.

So we hung the curtains on the rod and I measured; I placed a pin at the appropriate length. I took the curtains home and laid them out on my table and measured:

But I didn't do this. Why? when I stacked the grommets on top of each other, they didn't line up. Some were closer to the top than others.

SO DON'T DO THIS or you'll have uneven curtains. Mine were up to a 1/2" off!!

DO THIS! The curtains hang on the rod from the top of the grommet (or the top hem in the casing). So I measured from the top of the grommet to my pin (the correct length) and got 40".

I added 4" for the bottom hem (40" + 4" = 44")

Using my tape measure, I measured 40" and 44" from the top of the grommet opening and marked with a pen. 

I went to my cutting table and cut off the excess fabric at the 44" mark. OH...this fabric was a pain to work with! It shifted all over the place...thank heaven for painter's tape!

I pressed at 40" and tucked 1" under for a seam allowance. 

I measured again. I held them up and looked. Were they even? Yes! I sewed the hem using my walking foot and a 4mm stitch length.

They turned out great. I'll have pictures soon! Here they are!

When it comes to making curtains, check out the tutorials at Sew4Home!



  1. I have question. Just bought some curtains and they are perfect, but too long. The problem is that they are banded on the bottom and I have to take about 10 off. Suggestions? I can't lose the bottom but my problem is how do I measure accurately?

    1. So you'll have to re-hem the top of your curtain rather than from the bottom. Some of this depends on the diameter of your curtain rod. So give or take a few inches.
      Rip the top seams out and press flat.
      (1) You'll want to take a tape measure (I use a metal one from the hardware store) and measure from the top of your rod to the floor. Remember that number!
      (2) Measure up from the bottom of your curtain and mark at that number.
      (3) Add about 6" to 7" to that number - and cut off the excess.
      (4) Measure about 1" to 1 1/2" above the mark and fold over and press. This fold is the top of your curtain.
      (5) On the 5 1/2" to 6" that's folded over, you'll want to tuck under about 1" to hide the raw edge. Press flat.
      (6) Create your rod pocket by sewing on that fold that you just created.
      (7) Then sew on the very first mark that you created...this will make the rod pocket.
      The rod pocket it created by sewing two parallel seams - the rod rests on the top one, so that's why you measure from there.
      Hope this helps!

  2. I am very much glade to read the content unlimited guide to curtains. Last few days ago I bought some curtains for my home from sanderson curtain fabric. That was perfect but next time I must flow your instruction.


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