Shortening a curtain…

31 May

Just a quick tip…

A friend asked me to shorten shower curtains for her.  She thought she needed a serger to hem it and she doesn’t have one.    The good news is when there is enough room and you have a straight curtain, it is one of the easiest things to do with your sewing machine and a few tips 🙂

1. When you know the length you want, mark it with a pin.

2.  Using a seam gauge or ruler you measure from the place you want the hem to be to the existing hem.   If it is over 6″  just cut some off.  If not you lay your curtain on your ironing board wrong side facing you .

Below is a picture of a 6″ seam gauge if you haven’t seen one, they can be purchased on the notions wall at your fabric store….

3. Start at the end and take the measurement you got in step 2.  set your gauge to  that measurement.  For example..2.5 inches.

4. Lay your gauge on the curtain with the old hem facing toward you and the pinned hem facing away.  The curtain will be wrong side up to you but the hem turned up will be the right side of the fabric facing up to you.  Let the bulk of the curtain hang off the ironing board between you and the board.

5.  Go along from right to left, if you are right handed… press a crease at the designated length you need.  This crease will be your new hem line.

6. Go to your cutting surface or just stay at your ironing board and cut off the unneeded fabric.  To determine how much to cut off I use the length of the former hem.  What the manufacturer of the curtain used.  In my friends case it was about 5/8″ .    Double that, so you have fabric to turn under. So, 1 1/4″ .   Now you can eye it or use your gauge and go along and cut off the unneeded fabric containing the old hem.  You are measuring from your newly ironed in crease line.

7.  This is how her curtain looked after I cut the old hem off.

The stripe in the fabric makes it a little difficult to see, but down by my thumb you see the crease ironed in and my cut edge.  I eyed this one.

8. Now for a beginner you can turn 5/8″ from your cut edge and press wrong sides of fabric together.  Pin if desired all along the hem.     If you are more comfortable you can just go to your machine and turn under and sew as you go.

9.  You already have your other crease line so, actually you will fold your new crease line over once and then over again in toward the first hem marking crease line.

10. Now you have an enclosed edge.  And are ready to stitch…

There are two schools of thought on how to stitch,

1. some say- stitch with the hem up facing you so you can see what you are doing.  This is a great way if your machine has good bobbin tension and your bobbin seam looks as good as your top seam.   I haven’t always  had that so I adopted this second way.

2. I have always top stitched.  I trust my measurements and the seam allowance I choose.  for 5/8″ I would choose 1/2″ or so for a seam allowance.  The top stitching always seems to look better to me.

Do what makes you most at ease at your work and what will give you the best result.

I hope this helps!  This simple tip takes quite a bit of explaining but once you get the idea and practice a few times you’ll be so glad you know the iron in the new hem trick!!

Off to life…Chrissi

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