Sign up to get your daily dose of Miss Mustard Seed:

The totally wrong way to hem curtains



I took the tree down a couple of days ago and it left me staring at my unhemmed curtains that I finished about two years ago.  I came to the realization that I am never going to hem these curtains.  There is always something more fun to do than pinning, measuring, ironing and sewing straight lines.  They don’t look bad without a hem, but I have to fluff them a lot to position them right and they puddle on the floor in an unattractive way, so the curtains don’t hang as well.


As I was looking at them I realized that they have not frayed at all.  The fabric is indoor/outdoor canvas that hasn’t been washed, so it has a nice stiffness to it.  Well, I grabbed a pair of scissors and just cut them off.



I felt a little bit like Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation when he chopped off the wobbly newel post with a chain saw.  “The curtains needed to be hemmed, so I hemmed them.”  (Hacked them off with scissors.)  “Problem solved.”  I knew it was the totally wrong way to hem curtains, but they look so much better!  I went ahead and did it to the living and dining room curtains, too, and they look so much better!



I kept hearing the voice of The Nester in my head.  “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”  Well, any proper seamstress who turns over these curtains and sees my lazy shortcut to a real hem might pass out, but I’m at peace with it.

Well, I’ve had a lot of fun with my boys over the break building Legos & forts, spinning Bey Blades and playing games…





…but I’m ready to get back to my routine.   Anyone else?

The winner of the $100 True Value Gift Card is…

Nanette Hill from Attracting Different.

Related posts:


  1. They look great! I got curtains in my bedroom that need a trim….they puddle in a bad way.
    We go back to work and school tomorrow. So glad to be getting back into my routine.

  2. I’m in love w/Stitch Witchery (aka iron-a-hem). I don’t recommend, however, using your dining room table in lieu of an ironing board. At any rate, they look great and if anyone is close enough to your floor to know the difference well, as Sarah would say – they get a cookie! ~ Dee

  3. I think I went about hemming my curtains in the WRONG way… I moved the hardware up so I didn’t have to hem!!! hehehe! I guess we do what we have to do! Thanks for sharing, it made my day!

    • That’s a great thing to do Pendra- it’s always advised to hang the rod as high as possible- to elongate the windows!
      You did good- there is more than one way to “skin a cat”! Ewww- I know- not good!


  4. This sounds EXACTLY like something I would do! Hey, whatever gets the job done totally works for me! So glad I’m not alone :-)

  5. Playing with your boys instead of sewing???
    The SMARTEST thing you have ever done!!!!
    And the curtains look PERFECT!!!
    We won’t tell your neighbours, lol!

    • YAY to playing w/ your boys instead of sewing!!! But a little patience would have been MY choice — either procrastinate the whole job until the kids go back to school (or bed) OR iron a hem & measure/cut off just enough to hem later & then finish w/ stitch witchery or thread & needle later. Depended on how much time you had to invest.
      Playing with the kiddos is ALWAYS the right choice — they don’t stay little for long & you’ll have lots of free time when they leave home (or just go back to school after break)

  6. You might try running a little fray check along the bottom of the curtains. The website says it hold up to washing and dry cleaning.

  7. My curtains have been like that since we moved in here. I don’t mind to fluff them to position, but my husband hates it. He thinks it’s totally ridiculous, haha. So everytime he opens or closes the curtains I rush to the window to take over and fluff everything to position. It’s a terrible routine :-). So I think I’m going to hem them very soon. Unfortunatley it’s linen so I’ll have to do it the right way.

  8. That is so me! I hem my scrub pants for work with tape-in fact, I am so at peace with it, I just wash them with the tape on- that way I don’t have to remeasure the hem every time! What tape comes up, simply gets taped back over… and I’ve never had someone tell me I can’t work or take care of them because my hem is crooked! :-)

    I would totally just wack off my curtains!! Go girl!

  9. Ha! I love it! I often want to do that to sewing projects because I feel the same way about sewing a hem…I just haven’t had the courage to do it. :)
    I picked up a swatch of this same fabric the other day at Hobby Lobby and was thinking of using it in my dining room…your pictures make me think I might need to go for it. Maybe I’ll even use the same method for hemming! lol

  10. Nancy Carr says:

    I couldn’t believe you did this. You of all people. And, I love it. You give those of us who are not as talented, creative, etc. as you the permission to be less than perfect. Thank you so much. I needed this. You helped us who are the less skilled people.

  11. Love it! I’d do the same and not tell anyone.
    By the way,
    You’ve been an inspiration to me since I moved in August to my Mom’s NJ farm house with husband and daughter that graduated from college. We have 4 kids and we sold our big house in NJ and are now renting a farm house from my mom. All of my “STUFF” I love, is in storage and I’m adapting to the farmish lifestyle.
    I am a decorative painter specializing in high end finishes but they are not so popular out here in the country. I started searching for vintage finds, barn windows and such and started and etsy shop. FREshREstorations.
    Again, you have inspired me!
    Thank you.

  12. OK, I don’t love it. Seems like I’m the only one! Just wondering what will happen when you wash/dryclean the curtains?

    That said, I do like the length so much better. And what is most important is that you love it!

  13. I have curtains that I need to hem too. Unfortunately I don’t think I can just cut mine and call it a day. I wish! I’ll get around to it eventually…. =]

  14. I so appreciate that you wrote about this – the temptation when one is presenting something is to cover up the imperfection (either of the project or the finish-work). That hem IS something I would do, but I’m not sure I would be “at peace” with it. If someone comes into my home and admires something I’ve done, I tend to show them how it isn’t perfect – haha. Thank you for the openness – and I think your curtains are lovely! =)

  15. Gerri says:

    That’s what I love about your blog….. your honesty. It’s okay if something isn’t perfect. Just start.

    It’s funny that you mentioned Bey Blades. I hadn’t heard of them before this Christmas. We got our 6 y.o. son a couple and he loves battling with them. Inexpensive, no batteries and hours of fun. My kinda toy :) Happy New Year.

  16. Rebecca Moss Brovont says:

    Call me the curtain nazi or old fashioned or just plain old, all of which apply, but I think that “a job worth doing is worth doing well” …. at least as well as you are able. I have watched your videos on slip covering, I know you can do better than a raw edge on the bottom of your curtains.

    And now for the technical aspects of a hem…. A double turned hem adds weight to a drape and makes it hang better, besides, what else are you going to do with the fabric you just cut off? Over time the cut edge will ravel, not launder well and heaven forbid if you have any shrinkage as there is no good (or quick) remedy for high water drapes with no hem to let down. You will end up replacing those drapes and the time spent to make new ones is a lot more than the time to hem the current ones. That brings to mind another old adage, “a stitch in time saves nine”.

    P.S. T pins are great for holding slipcover pieces in place until the seams get pinned, much better than a knee.

  17. Susan Irene says:

    Sorry Marion, you hit a nerve. As a costume designer and scene designer and teacher, I delight in teaching my theater students who are so afraid of sewing how fun and easy it really is. Also, it makes me crazy to see curtains on a set that are not done right. The hem at the bottom helps them to hang correctly because of the weight. If you don’t want to take the time to sew them, there are other options such as fusing which will allow you to later clean your drapes. I just hope that all who have not had a good introduction to sewing won’t give up. I love most of your suggestions, this one just hit home with me.
    agreeing to disagree,
    Susan Irene

  18. walker says:

    I love this fabric! Can you tell me it’s name?

  19. Hi,
    Yes, I just about fainted when I read this! But honestly, being the Curtain Lady, I have some unhemmed fabric on my living room windows- and I MAKE DRAPES FOR PEOPLE!!! No one else would allow this- if I took it to them unhemmed- but I have been able to live with it- as a temporary measure- for at least 8 yrs. now!!! lol!!! Actually it is two lengths of fabric and not even lined so far!!! oh well- worse things have happened I guess?

    No honestly, I enjoyed the post!


  20. Kellie says:

    I too would love to know where you got the fabric. It’s exactly what I’m looking for in my front room. Hemmed correctly or not – they still look great =)

  21. This is so funny…I’ve got eight curtain panels hanging that I sewed…a year and a half ago? I forget why, but I was in a desperate hurry to finish, thus: four have blind bottom hems and four do not!

    I’ve been tripping on them far too long (I serged the raw edges so they woudn’t fray, and left extra length for eventual hemming) and was thinking about finishing them – in situ! – with Stitch Witchery (iron on adhesive tape) when I read your post.

    The fabric of your curtains is gorgeous…I feel compelled to offer a small tip: Apply Stop Fray or Fray Check to the bottoms. Otherwise they are eventually going to fray, and since they’re the perfect length right now there’s no margin for error! 😉

    Put a blob of product on a piece of tin foil, and draw the bottoms through horizontally ever-so-slightly (if you apply it too deep you’ll see a darker “stain” coming up from the bottom). Goal is an even application no further than 1/16″ “up” towards the top of the curtain.

    Thanks for reminding me that perfect isn’t necessarily…necessary!

  22. linda longenecker says:

    I am schocked, absolutely shocked………….Color me crazy but hemming with iron on is better………

  23. Haha I love it. There must be a lot of us out there! I have these beautiful curtains that I have had up for four years – everything but the hem. I thought they looked good puddled on the floor…um I just didn’t want to hem them.

Leave a Comment