How to Hem Curtains Without Sewing
A few years ago, I figured out a foolproof (and oh-so-simple!) method for hemming curtains. But that method uses a sewing machine, which I realize isn’t an option for many people. So today I’m going to show you how to hem curtains without sewing. This is a slight adaption of my original sewing tutorial, perfect for those of you who don’t have a sewing machine (or just hate dragging it out!)
Raise your hand if you looked at the pictures in my wallpapered floor post and thought, “Is Megan really going to leave the shower curtain that long?”
Of course not! It just took me a
little while to get around to hemming it!
Why is my shower curtain so long and in need of hemming, you ask? I prefer our shower curtains to touch the floor, so I bought this extra-long version. When I went to raise the shower curtain rod to accommodate the last few inches, I discovered it was screwed into the wall. Gah! Since the screws were fairly rusted over, I decided to leave the rod in place and hem the curtain instead.
Although I will be demonstrating how to hem curtains without sewing on a shower curtain, this method can be used on ANY curtain around your home! Let’s get to it!
Here is what you need to hem a curtain without sewing:
- A pre-washed, too-long curtain…already hung (I’m hemming this extra-long white shower curtain)
- Heat-n-Bond Ultra Hold Tape – Hean-n-Bond tape comes in a variety of strengths. Because fabric can be heavy (even a small hem), I highly recommend using the “Ultra” version.
- FriXion Ball-Point Pen – or other removable fabric/chalk pen
- Iron & Ironing Board
A Quick Word About Your Curtain(s)
Notice that my supply list indicates that your curtain needs to be pre-washed and hung. The method I’m going to teach you today results in a curtain that perfectly kisses the floor. To get that result, you need to start with the curtain hung exactly where you want it. Additionally, since curtain fabric tends to shrink, I suggest you pre-wash your curtain(s) before hemming (so you don’t end up with “high-water” curtains after your first wash!)
Find & Iron Your Hem Line
With your curtain hung, gently pull the panel taught toward the floor. Using a FriXion pen, mark a spot on the curtain where the floor and wall meet. This might be at the base of a floor board or trim; for me, it was the grout line on the bathtub.
Work your way across the entire width of the curtain panel. Continually pull the curtain straight down (gently), and mark a line exactly where the floor meets the wall. Do not worry if your marks are not 1) in a straight line across the curtain, or 2) equidistant from the curtain’s edge.
Here is one of my favorite curtain hemming hacks ever! Don’t even bother taking your curtain down. Instead, set up your ironing board right alongside your curtain. When you place the bottom of your curtain on the ironing board though, make sure that the wrong side is facing up. This might mean you have to twist your curtain, as I have shown below.
NOTE: You are most certainly welcome to take your curtain down for the next few steps. I’ve just found that leaving it up saves me so much time and energy, meaning I am much more motivated to actually do it! And yes…I do this when I’m hemming with my sewing machine too!
With the wrong side of your curtain facing upwards on your ironing board, flip up the bottom edge to find your pen marks.
Finger-press a fold right along those pen marks across the entire width of the panel. In the image below, notice how my blue pen lines are visible along the fold line.
NOTE: Again, it does NOT matter if your marks are not in a straight line or equidistant from the curtain’s edge. Because you made marks along the floor, your curtain hem WILL end up even! Just follow your pen marks!
NOTE: Yes, my iron is cordless…and it’s life changing!!!! I highly recommend one if you do a lot of ironing/sewing!
A Word About Hem Thickness
How deep your hem is (i.e., how much fabric is folded up toward the back of your curtain) will greatly depend on how “too long” your curtains are. My curtain was only 1-2″ too long, so a single fold was sufficient (as shown below).
However, if you have 5+ inches of fabric to hem up, you might want to fold your hem twice before proceeding. For example, if you have ~8″ of fabric to take up, fold your hem over 3-4″ (and iron), and then fold again to your pen mark line. You can also opt to cut away the excess fabric to shorten the amount you need to hem…just make sure you leave at least 1-3″ to fold toward the back to make a nice hem.
How to Hem Curtains Without Sewing
To hem your curtain without sewing, you will use Heat’n’Bond Tape, which is essentially heat-activated, double-sided tape that holds strong on fabric. As I mentioned before, for a wide, thick hem, I highly recommend using the Ultra hold.
NOTE: The Ultra Heat’n’Bond Tape usually results in a permanent hem.
Start by cutting a length of Heat’n’Bond tape that will stretch the full width of your curtain panel. Before heating, I recommend placing the tape underneath your ironed hem to make sure it fits. Below, you can see a tiny bit of tape peeking out over my hem edge.
This might not seem like a big deal, but it can gum up your iron with adhesive when you remove the paper covering. If you have a narrower hem (like I do), simply trim the tape’s width with a scissors so that it fits comfortably within your hem. If you have a deep hem, you will not need to trim your tape.
To add the hem tape, open the folded hem back flat.
Lay the Heat-n-Bond along the edge of the curtain, tape side up, textured side down. Next, run a hot iron (with no steam) along the tape across the entire width of the curtain panel.
The iron will activate the glue between the paper and the curtain panel, fusing the tape in place.
When the tape cools to the touch, peel off the paper backing.
When you remove the paper, you will be able to see the heat-activated bonding material left behind on your curtain panel (the shiny strip shown below).
The final step is to fold your hem back up and iron it into place!
Fold the hem back up along the original crease you made in the beginning. Just as before, run a hot iron (no steam) along the curtain’s original edge. (This time, the Heat’n’Bond is sandwiched between the curtain’s edge and the curtain’s wrong side.) With the paper tape gone, the glue is exposed and the iron fuses them hem in place.
Press the newly hemmed edge a few more times to really set the adhesive. Once cool, remove the ironing board and let your perfectly-hemmed panel fall to the floor!
I hope this tutorial thoroughly explains how to hem curtains without sewing. Although I often prefer to sew my curtain hems in place (since stitching is easier to remove than adhesive), this is still a handy method when you just need a curtain hemmed up fast or you don’t have a sewing machine. Give this process a try the next time your curtains are too long. I’m certain you’ll love how easy it is and how great your results are!