What's the Easiest Way to Hem Already Hemmed Drapes

aloha2009January 14, 2014

I'm finally getting new drapes for throughout the house. I love the floor to ceiling look and am striving for that (or very close).

As close as we can measure, it's 108", I purchased 108" drapes but they are just a tad too long (I want them to be just above the floor to hand freely). I've resigned myself, that I will have to hem.

For some reason, I'm too nervous to take out the old hem, not knowing what I'll end up with ie, a previous hem line etc. I fold the existing 3" hem up and which left a 1.5" space at the top and bottom which was acceptable. Then I thought, what if I just folded it over 1.5" but it's a bit thick. The drapes didn't seem to fold right as it was all bunched up.

Is there any easy way to get around, not cutting, and just folding these under and still have them lay right. I am clueless to all this.

Here is a link that might be useful: Drapes purchased

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Take them to the Korean drycleaners...and don't do them yourself. Not to be rude, but if you don't know what to do, you're not experienced enough as a seamstress to do it properly.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 12:18AM
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Can you hang them just a bit higher since you say you like the floor-to-ceiling look. If they are only 2 inches too long and your rod is not at the ceiling, could you just raise it a couple inches, or is it as high as you will tolerate?

As Vedazu stated, taking it to someone who is experienced in this area is the only way to correct this. Unless you are very experienced in this craft, you would ruin your lovely drapes.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 7:11AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I can't tell from the link...are they lined? Or is just the face fabric the black out material?

I too was going to suggest raising the rod if possible....

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 8:36AM
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I sew. You need to take out the existing hem. There will be a crease, but it won't show. If you don't take out the hem, you will have a bump where you rolled the new hem that has double thickness. That will prevent your curtains from hanging correctly as we'll as look funny.

Then you need to measure the new hemline and pin. If the current hem is top stitched, you could do that again. If it is a blind hem, then you should do the same. You would have to do it by hand if you don't have a machine that will do the blind hem.

A pro will have the machine. My mom gave me one and I can't wait to try it.
I've made a bunch of curtains and altered more. It's a pain in the bum.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 10:53AM
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I had the same problem with some extra-wide heavy velvet drapes. I knew i *could* do them myself, but that it would be a real PITA with the fabric weight.

After putting it off for months, I finally decided to take them to my neighborhood tailor who usually seems wildly overpriced. I was shocked when the did them all-perfectly, beautifully-for $30.00. I guess this a very quick and easy thing to do with the right machine, wheras of course tailoring is fussy, time-consuming, and requires a great deal of skill.

Check with a tailor. Don't risk ruining them.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 12:29PM
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Definitely check out a tailor, seamstress, or even a dry cleaner in your area. A machine is used, rather than by hand, which keeps the cost down. Don't try doing it yourself. You'll just end up frustrated. ;)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 12:54PM
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If you aren't comfortable taking out the hem and re-hemming, take them to a dry cleaners or somewhere who can do it for you.

It's SO worth it if you are going to have these a long time. You'll be so happy when it's all done and they look beautiful

Hanging them a little higher is a GREAT idea, but I know my DH would be grinding his teeth if I wanted him to move something up just one inch.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 1:09PM
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As a dry cleaner and a lover of beautiful drapes, I would highly reccomend bringing them to a professional. If you do them yourself, they might be just fine, but if you don't have the experience, why take the risk. It might be a bit expensive to have them done professionally, but it's totally worth it..

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 2:11PM
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Some thermal fabric drapes are near impossible to get a needle through by hand because the weave is so tight.

Raising the rods seems much easier.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 4:05PM
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Thanks for all the feedback!

My DH has no problems moving it up BUT even if it's to the ceiling, it will need to be hemmed about 1/2-1"....grrrr

These drapes are unlined, and the weave makes them thermal. They don't have the rubbery backing I've seen on some thermal drapes.

1929Spanish - I appreciate you're explaining the bump problem, I'm likely to incur. I was afraid of that.

I hate to invest a whole lot more money into the drapes as they were only $50 in the first place for a 100" panel. They are quite nice for the price. I called around tonight and got a blind estimate which was very reasonable. I'll likely go this route.

Thanks for all your help!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 8:17PM
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You coud use a fabric glue for hemming, and not even take them down. You will first need to take the old hem out. Lay the fabric on an ironing board, and with a pair of small *sharp* scissors, cut at the threadline. You may first want to iron the old hem flat before cutting. Determinine how much to cut off. After you've done that, decide how much to hem. Mark every 6" with a ----------(line), and fold fabric, bringing the edge up to the line~this will be your finished length. Press. Open the part that you've pressed, and lay on a line of glue, then spread with your fingers so it won't be a blob. Use Aileen's fabric glue since it dries quickly. FYI, yes I've done it, and it works, but you can't wash/dry clean the drapes or the hem will come out.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 8:46PM
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What about washing/drying and see what shrinkage you end up with - might just be enough. Just a thought....
maybe not a good one!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 10:38PM
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It would be nice if I could shrink them, but as we all know polyester doesn't shrink.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 11:48PM
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