How To Shorten Drapes The Easy No Measure Way

Does the thought of having to shorten store-bought drapery panels make you nervous? All that measuring, cutting, sewing, and holding your breath that they hang straight after you're done. The struggle is real and exactly where I was after a frustrating hour trying to shorten mine. But I discovered a much easier way and figured you might appreciate learning how to shorten drapes the easy no measure way too. Seriously, I had my panels hung perfectly straight within 20 minutes!

How To Shorten Drapes The Easy No Measure Way

A Clever No-Measure Hack For Shortening Drapes

Shorten Drapes The Easy No Measure Way

I began shortening my drapes old school style. You know; hang them on the rod, fold and pin the length, take them off the rod, measure-pin-iron-sew the new hem, hang them back on the rod only to discover they look crooked as hell.

Scratching my head I grabbed the seam ripper and started all over again.

Ditto the second time.

By this point, there is some colorful language spewing from my mouth and I'm ready to throw the panels out the window. What the heck? I measured...twice! Does this sound familiar?

Ready to throw in the towel I went searching for answers on Google and found this brilliant idea HERE for shortening curtains. Except instead of pins, the magic happened with tailor's chalk and a straight edge.

Shorten Store Bought Drapery Panels The Easy Way

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

What you'll need to shorten the drapery panels

Step Ladder
Tailors Chalk Pencil
Omnigrip Ruler (or straight edge)
Sewing Stick Pins
Fabric Scissors
Sewing Machine (or hand stitch)
All-Purpose Thread

How To Shorten Drapes Without Measuring

First, hang the rod. Here's a tip for hanging drapery rods so it gives the illusion that the window is much larger than it actually is.

Drapery Rod Tip

Mount the rod so the panels hang either at the ceiling or a maximum of 4 inches from the ceiling. To make the window look wider extend the rod out from the window trim on both sides.

Once you have the drapery rod installed, hang the curtain panels and close the drapes.

So are you ready to have your curtain hemming mind blown by this amazing hack? 

1. Pull the drapes taut and place a straight edge where the floor and wall meet (pictured below).

Quick No Measure Tip To Shorten Curtains

2. Work in sections and draw a crisp line with a washable tailor's chalk pen (pictured below).

How To Shorten Drapes In 20 Minutes

Brilliant, right? The panels have no choice but to hang perfectly straight with this method!

Take the drapery panels off the rod and now we're ready to sew the new hem. Depending on how long the fabric is will determine what type of hem you do.

Hemming drapery panels with a six-inch or less hem

  • Simply fold the drapes under along the chalk line and pin in place. 
  • With the steam setting, iron a crease along the chalk line and hold in place with pins placed vertically. 
  • Sew the hem with a straight stitch on your sewing machine using a matching all-purpose thread about 1/4 inch from the top of the original hem. 
  • If you don't have a sewing machine you could hand stitch the hem. I've included a link to a helpful video tutorial that I found on YouTube.

How To Shorten And Hem Curtain Panels

Hemming drapery panels with six-inch or longer hem

  • Fold the drapes under along the chalk line and pin in place.
  • With the steam setting on your iron, make a crease along the chalk line.
  • If there are more than six inches of fabric from the fold and the original hem, you have one of two options for hemming the panels:

Blind Stitch

Sew the hem with a blind stitch (video tutorial in the previous section). The excess fabric in the hem will not be noticeable with this stitch. Plus, hemming the panels this way is great if you end up moving the drapes to another room because you'll have enough fabric to adjust the hem accordingly.

Straight Stitch

If you plan on doing a straight stitch like pictured above, the excess fabric will need to be removed otherwise you'll have a noticeably large hemline.
  • Cut the drapery fabric 7-inches below the chalk line.
  • Fold the raw edge 1-inch and with the steam setting on your iron make a crease.
  • Fold the fabric again at the chalk line crease and you'll now have a six-inch hem.
  • Hold the hem in place with pins placed vertically.
  • Sew the hem with a straight stitch on your sewing machine using a matching all-purpose thread about 1/4 inch from the top.
  • If you don't have a sewing machine you could hand stitch the hem (video tutorial in the previous section).

Easy Way To Shorten Drapes So They Are Perfectly Straight

I'll never shorten store-bought or hem DIY drapery panels any other way again. How about you?

If you have any questions about this tutorial, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top. I love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this easy drapery shortening trick, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and saved it on Pinterest.

The Quick and Easy Way to Shorten Drapes

I share my projects at these inspiring link parties. For more window treatment ideas visit my DIY Linen & Window Treatment page.



  1. I don’t think builders can ever come out with a straight wall anymore. Because of that is why this method would work so well. Instead of making a straight hem (like it should be) it is going with the flow of the wall. Hope you can understand what I mean. I truly love this method!

    1. I completely understand what you mean and yes you are so right about that. But also what I discovered is that you can't count on measuring from the existing hem of store-bought drapery panels either because they can be all wonky too. This method for hemming guarantees a nice straight hem at floor level.

  2. Is there nothing you cannot do!!!! This is great. Going back to read through some of your other posts. Happy Weekend. Stay safe and well.

    1. Well I'm stubborn, determined, and resourceful when I have my mind set on something. Those drapes were going to hang perfectly straight come hell or high water! LOL Happy weekend back to you - it's nice and sunny here today.

  3. Brilliant!!!!! Just brilliant and it makes so much sense too. I could have saved myself so many grey hairs if I'd seen this before. Pinning to my tips and tricks board to save someone else from going through hell :D

    1. Right! It does make so much sense. It only took me 61 years to figure this brilliant tip out and yes like you, it could have saved me many grey hairs over the years. Thanks for sharing! xo

  4. What a clever idea! I definitely need to do this on my living room drapes!

    1. You'll be amazed at how quickly you'll get those living room drapes shortened using this method, Stephanie!

  5. Ooohhhhh! What a game changer! Pinned for later - thanks!


    1. Right!!! I couldn't believe how quickly the drapes were shortened using this method. Thanks for the pin!

  6. Thank you so much. This was a big timesaver.

  7. I've been staring at my too-long living room drapes for almost three months because I've been dreading the inevitable frustration of hemming them. Your method is amazing and now I'm actually looking forward to doing this as soon as possible!

    1. I am so glad you found this hemming drapery panels tutorial helpful. Happy hemming!


Post a Comment

Don't be shy, I love reading your comments and reply to every single one! If you want to be notified when I reply back to you, click the "Notify Me" button below the comment box.