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How to take up curtains

Updated February 21, 2017

Curtains affect the mood and feel of a room, and sometimes just taking up the existing curtains will give your room the boost it needs. If you are looking for new curtains, pre-made sets are readily available in department, speciality and online stores, often at exceptional prices. Knowing how to alter the length, or take the curtains up, gives you the freedom to choose curtains off the shelf and customise the length.

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  1. Determine the cut length by adding 15 cm (6 inches) to the length you want the finished curtains to be.

  2. Lay the curtains out flat and straight with the wrong side of the curtains facing you and the right side facing the table.

  3. Measure from the top of the curtain to the cut length along the left outside edge and mark on the curtains. Continue measuring from the top of the curtain to the cutting line, marking the curtain every 10 cm (4 inches).

  4. Join all the cut length marks by drawing a continuous line using the ruler and cut the curtain on this line.

  5. Open the side hems from the cutting line up toward the top of the curtain 30 cm (12 inches).

  6. Fold the bottom edge of the curtain up 3 inches and press the fold. Turn this folded edge up 7.5 cm (3 inches) again and press. Pin the hem in place.

  7. Fold the side hems back into place and press. Machine sew the side hems as they were before being opened. Machine sew close to the top edge of the folded hem from side edge to side edge.

  8. Tip

    Don't sew over the pins. Always measure from the top down. The curtains may not be exactly square and straight, and measuring from the top down helps camouflage that.

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Things You'll Need

  • Metal tape measure
  • Fabric marking pencil or fabric marking chalk
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread to match the curtains

About the Author

Linda Erlam started writing educational manuals in 1979. She also writes a biweekly newspaper column, "Design Dilemmas," in the "Lakeshore News" and has been published in "Design and Drapery Pro" magazine. Erlam is a graduate of the Sheffield School of Interior Design and is a practicing interior decorator and drapery workroom operator.

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