Inexpensive costume jewelry can add style and secure a new hemline.

How to Shorten Drapes With No Hemming

by Kathryn Hatashita-Lee

Attaching inexpensive accessories to your drapes will help you shorten them without sewing a new hemline. For example, folding down the header and securing it with a row of decorative brooches or pins will create a new length. Display a collection of pins honoring your favorite sports team, club or charity near the upper edge to create an eclectic border out of reach of small children. Visit a dollar store, flea market or craft shop that sells inexpensive brooches and add a touch of sparkle to your resized drapes.

Hang the prewashed and pressed drapes by folding the top edge down on the drapery hardware. Stand back to view how much higher you want to raise the lower edge. Decide the best length and proportions.

Insert straight pins along the upper edge to help keep the new upper hem width in place. Use a yardstick to help keep the lower hem at a consistent height off of the floor or window sill, or measure down from a low ceiling.

Remove the curtain panels from the rod and place the panels on a large, flat surface. Keep the straight pins in place.

Insert decorative pins or brooches to keep the upper hem in place to form a new rod pocket. For example, the pins can be placed at regular intervals on a straight horizontal line aligned with a yardstick. For a more eclectic look, try arranging the pins in a geometric pattern, such as diagonal lines. Remove the straight pins.

Hang your resized curtain back on the rod and stand back to see the effect from both inside and outside your window. Adjust the decorative pins to improve the hang, if necessary.

Items you will need

  • Tailor’s chalk or removable pencil marker
  • Yardstick or straight edge
  • Straight pins
  • Iron, ironing board
  • Decorative pins or brooches
  • Scissors
  • Fusible hem tape
  • Iron, ironing board


  • As an alternative no-sew hem, cut strips of fusible hem tape and apply them to the folded-down hem and the panel back to secure it in place. Some strips come with a paper liner that you remove before the final pressing. Slip this fusible webbing between the upper back of the panel and the folded-down header. Remove any pins. Press with a preheated iron according to the package instructions. The hot iron will not be in direct contact with the fusible strips. Let the curtain cool on the ironing board to form the bond.


  • Keep your children and pets away from the scissors, needles, pins, iron and ironing board. Never leave a plugged-in iron unattended.
  • When you are ready to hang or remove the curtains, do not allow your children to stand on any chairs or stepladders near the window.
  • Take care if you need to step up on a chair or stepladder. Ask a friend to help you balance the rod at the other end and keep the curtain from slipping out. If the drapes are large, ask the friend to hold up the middle to ease the weight.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images