How To Shorten Curtains – Even Without Sewing

Curtains are not only aesthetic; they are used for practical reasons too. Curtains can change the whole look and feel of a living space! However, making sure you buy the right length for your curtains can be tricky, as you might already know. Don't fret! If you've purchased curtains that are too long, there are ways to shorten curtains even without having to pick up that pesky needle and thread. We've researched in depth the ways you can shorten curtains, even without sewing, and have some tips for you.

Your curtains might need to be shortened if you accidentally purchased curtains that are the wrong length for your windows, or you might need to shorten them because you have furniture that sits below your window frame. You can shorten them by:

  • Sewing
  • Fabric Glue
  • Iron-on Fusible Tape

Fabric glue and iron-on fusible tape are two ways you can shorten your curtains without sewing. 

So, how do you go about shortening curtains? Will the non-sew way work for you? Keep reading as we go into detail on how to shorten your curtains, whether it's cheaper to make your own, and how much it costs to shorten drapes.

An open door with fresh air and curtain on the wind, How To Shorten Curtains (Even Without Sewing)

Shortening Your Curtains

As mentioned above, there are a few ways you can shorten your curtains. You can shorten your curtains by hemming them. If you have a sewing machine, you may be willing to hem your curtains using that. If you don't, and the thought of sewing by hand is a little too intimidating, you can use fabric glue or iron-on fusible tape.

How To Begin

To hem your curtains, you will need either a sewing machine, fabric glue, or iron-on fusible tape, pins, an iron, and an ironing board. If you have a lot of excess fabric, you can trim the ends of the curtains using fabric scissors.

The first step is to decide how long your curtains need to be. Use a line of pins to mark the length you'd like your curtains to be. You can either do this with your curtains off the rod, using a ruler to measure how much to hem, or you can pin them while on the rod. Once you have marked the length you would like, remove your curtains from the rod.

Next, fold your curtains to the length you marked with the pins by folding the extra bottom material up and behind the curtain and pin again at the top of the hem. Iron your hem to make a neat crease.

The final steps will depend on which method of hemming you chose. 


Woman hands sewing on a machine

If you chose to hem your curtains by sewing, finish hemming your curtains by sewing along the top of the hem with a matching thread around 1/4" from the edge. 

Fabric Glue

If you chose to use fabric glue to hem your curtains, finish hemming your curtains by applying the glue to the edge of the fabric at the top of the hem.

Click here to see Aleene's Quick Dry Fabric Fusion Permanent Fabric Adhesive on Amazon.

Iron-on Fusible Tape

Fabric curtain being ironed on pink carpet as background

If you chose to use iron-on tape, place the tape under the edge of the hem and use a hot iron on top of the fabric to secure the bond, making sure to follow any directions on the packaging. Do not move the iron back and forth, but hold the heat on the hem for a few seconds before lifting and moving onto the next section.

Click here to see SINGER 00240 Heavy Duty Iron-On Fusing Web on Amazon.

How Much Of A Hem Should Be On Curtains?

The size of the hem depends on the size of the curtain. The hem on a standard length curtain is 3-4 inches. The hem on a shorter curtain is typically around 2 inches, and a hem on a longer curtain can be up to 5 inches wide.

When shortening your curtains, make sure to leave enough fabric to account for the hem. In other words, cut your curtains 6-8 inches longer than the length you would like them for a standard curtain, 4 inches for a shorter curtain, and 10 inches for a longer curtain.

How Do You Join Two Curtains Without Sewing?

Modern apartment domestic room interior of utility room with wide window striped curtain and ironing board

If length isn't the issue you're facing with your curtains but width is, it IS possible to join two curtains together without sewing. If you have a large window, you may need multiple curtain panels to cover it, but pulling every single panel across individually can get tiresome. You can use either of the non-sew methods below to join multiple panels together. 

Iron-on Fusible Tape

Using an ironing board and iron, apply the fusible tape to the edge of one of the curtain panels from top to bottom, once again making sure to follow any directions on the packaging. Make sure to leave the opening for the rod free!

Line up the second panel on top of the tape. Make sure an even amount of fabric is overlapped all the way down, so you don't have crooked curtains. Apply a hot iron on top of the fabric to secure the bond.

Hold the iron in place for a few seconds before moving to the next section of fabric, gradually working your way down to the end of the curtain panel. Make sure the seam is secure and completely fused before hanging your curtains.

Fabric Glue

Lay the side of the panels together on a large flat surface. Measure about half an inch from the edge of one of the panels and use fabric chalk to mark the distance from the top of the panel to the bottom. Apply the glue as directed on the packaging. Fabric glue dries fast, so make sure to attach the other panel a little at a time. Let the glue dry completely before hanging your curtains.

How Much Does It Cost To Shorten Drapes?

Shortening drapes or curtains yourself is actually pretty inexpensive. All you'll need to pay for is the cost of your supplies. Depending on the strength and brand of fabric glue, the price ranges from around $3 to $12. For fusible tape, expect to pay $10 to $15 for a heavy-duty tape and around $5-$8 for a lighter weight tape. The price for a professional to shorten your drapes will vary depending on your location, how many drapes you'll need shortening, and whether your curtains have a lining. 

Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Curtains?

Whether it is cheaper to make your own or buy curtains from a store really comes down to the type and style of curtain you want. Generally, it'll be hard to make curtains for less than what you can buy them for in-store, so if the cost is the only reason you're considering making your own curtains, buying them in-store is likely the more practical solution.

However, assuming you have the skillset and equipment you need, making your own curtains is a great option if you want to customize your room. Patterned fabrics, especially for children's rooms, can add a special touch to your decor. 

Colorful child room design

For more reading, check out our post, "How To Choose Curtains For The Bedroom."

Final Thoughts

Curtains can really add to a room, and if you've found a style you love but they are not the right length, shortening them might seem like an intimidating task, but as we've shown, it doesn't have to be! If sewing seems scary or a little too much work, use one of our no-sew methods to shorten your curtains with ease. It'll look just as good, and you'll have the right length curtains in no time! 

Contemporary living room with sofa, curtains, table and vases

For more reading on choosing curtains for your home, check out "How To Choose Curtains For Your Living Room."

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