You know that feeling when you find the perfect set of drapes or curtains? They’re the perfect fabric, perfect design, perfect print. So you take them home and hang them up on your lovely curtain rods. Except, there’s a problem. They’re too short.
We all know that the best way to hang drapes are as high as the ceilings allow. However most stores usually carry 84″ or 96″ drapes, not allowing us to hang them that high. Sometimes we can get lucky and find some that are 108″ but those are harder to find and can still be too short depending on your ceiling height. The only option is to go custom but custom can be very, very expensive.
Luckily for me, my mom is an expert seamstress and has been teaching me how to lengthen curtains. All of the curtains in our homes are lengthened in one form or another. Here is a step by step guide on how to lengthen curtains to receive the maximum effect a beautiful curtain can offer. But first I have attached a photo of how the back of the curtains should like when you’re done to give you a sense of what we’re trying to accomplish.
Step One: Undo the bottom hem of the existing curtain as well as the side of the hem. You can use a small razor but be careful so you do not cut the fabric and make a hole.
Step Two: IRON! You want the bottom of the curtains to be as flat and straight as possible.
Step Three: Measure the length of the curtains you want as your final product. This is where you decide if you want them to pool the floor or graze the floor. DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE THE INCHES YOU GAINED AFTER UNDOING THE HEM. Measure out how much more fabric you will need. **Once you measure it out, add an additional 8 inches for the hem.
Example: I need curtains at a length of 112″ but only had 84″ curtains. After undoing the hem, it gave me another 7″ leaving me with 91″ in total. I still need 17″ of fabric plus an additional 8″ for the hem, making it a total of 25″.
***Check and double check that the width of the fabric you are adding is the same as the existing curtain. Lay everything out on flat surface with the fabric and curtain up against each other.
Step Four: Hand stitch. This part is important. Doing a hand stitch first insures that the added fabric will be straight and neat when you move on to the sewing machine. It’s much easier to fix a hand stitch than a sewing machine stitch. Stitch the piece of fabric to the curtain on the inside.
Step Five: Sewing machine time! Following your hand stitch, carefully and slowly sew the two fabrics together.
Step Six: If you have a serger, now would be the time to use it. A serger is a machine that makes an overlock stitch. An overlock is a kind of stitch that sews over the edge of one or two pieces of cloth for edging, hemming, or seaming.
***If you don’t have one, simply cut off whatever excess fabric is hanging off the seam and stitch directly over the seam using the zig zag stitch option on the sewing machine. Our goal is to get rid of the loose string and clean it up a bit. you can see in the photo how the seam was done with the overlock stitch.
Step Seven: Now take 3.5″ off the bottom and fold. Take another 4″ and fold again into itself. You can see the two folds in the photo below. The first fold is slightly see through behind the second fold which makes the hem.
Step Eight: IRON! This step is VITAL to achieve a straight and careful hem. Iron the folds and hem.
Step Nine: Repeat step four and five. Carefully hand stitch the hem and then stitch over with the sewing machine.
Step Ten: Next go to the sides. Fold the original curtain back to its original side fold whilst including the newly added fabric. Stitch using your sewing machine carefully. In the photo you can see how we folded over the sides of the curtain and the new fabric into one.
Step Eleven: LAST STEP! IRON! Iron the seam where the two fabrics were connected and the hem and sides.
Ta-da! You’re all done! Now hang up your newly lengthened curtains and enjoy your work! Long curtains hung at the ceiling elongate your windows and make your ceilings appear higher while dramatically changing your space!