Gluing curtain hems

My wife died recently, half way through our moving house.
We were planning to take and re-use many of our curtains, all of which
were sewn by my wife. But many of them need re-sizing, especially
width-wise, being far too wide for the windows here, even allowing for
I have it in mind to simply cut the relevant curtains vertically to
the appropriate width, including 50% extra for gather, but then I'm
left with un-hemmed edges that will fray.
Although my wife had a nice little sewing machine (Lotus Elna, don't
know the model, but she rated highly and used it a lot), I haven't a
clue how to use it, nor any wish to learn. I wondered about gluing the
hems, but I'm not sure how I would go about it or the best glue to use
to keep the hem flexible and avoid a stiff edge.
Any suggestions on what to use and the best way of going about it
gratefully received. IIRC she used to use Copydex for some things, but
whether fabrics, I've no idea. Would that be suitable?
Reply to
Chris Hogg
Lots of blokes use sewing machines and sew magnificent clothes and all sorts of things so don't be too intimidated if you do decide to use t to do a bit of hemming. If it's any consolation, IMO, they are much easier to use then most power tools or lawn mowers. Lots of Youtube vids will show you how to sew if you decide to go there.
Having said that, you could go to a sewing shop and buy iron in hemming tape but do check that the curtain fabric can take the heat of the iron when you apply the hemming tape.
Reply to
Thanks for your quick reply. I'm not sure about trying the sewing machine: I can see myself getting my fingers all stitched up, and red stuff everywhere! But the tape sounds the way to go.
By the way, what's an iron? ;-)
Reply to
Chris Hogg
No, just a new widower trying to make light of his situation. Of course I know what an iron is, hence the smiley.
Reply to
Chris Hogg
On the off chance you are serious, I'll offer a little advice.
My father tried the iron-on adhesive route (Stitch Witchery IIRC) on some washable slacks shortly after my mother died. He could have asked me to hem them for him, but he had always depended on Mom and he "didn't want to be a burden". The tape was wrong on many levels: his slacks stood out around the hem as though wired, and the first time he washed those pants, the adhesive failed.
Sewing is not brain surgery. Seriously, if you still have your wife's machine, pull it out, thread it up (best to also clean and lube it according to the manual) and do a test on some scraps until you feel confident about stitching a straight line. Then sew a proper hem on those curtains.
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But add a second narrow folded edge to the raw edges before stitching for a nicer finish.
If you find after the test drive you still don't want to attempt it, find a willing friend or neighbor. Provided that the curtains are ones you want to live with for several years, you won't regret making the effort.
Beverly (widowed 16 years ago, and still learning to do many of the jobs my DH used to do)
Reply to
BEI Design
My condolences for your loss. My wife died suddenly six weeks ago and I'm still struggling to take it in. We were half way through moving house and would have been forty years married later this month. The best thing that ever happened to me was marrying her; the worst thing was when she died.
Thank you for the advice. I still think I'll try the iron-on tape, though. I've located some off-cuts of the curtain material that I can practice on. If that's not satisfactory, I'll have a go at stitching, again on the off-cuts. Failing that, I'll try and find a nice lady to do it for me.
Reply to
Chris Hogg
Sorry to hear of your loss.
If you decide to sew the hems, may I also suggest this video:
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It teaches two very important things at the beginning of the video: 1) how to properly start a seam and 2) how to hold the fabric to control how it feeds into a machine.
(for the purposes of curtains, you can stop after the sewing the strip demonstrations.)
If you just lay one ply of fabric on top of another and push it into the machine, the feed dogs underneath the fabric try to drag the bottom ply of fabric under the needle, while the presser foot (particularly if you don't have the pressure nicely adjusted) tries to hold the top ply back. As a result, particularly on long seams, the top layer winds up being longer than the bottom layer, and the seam twists -- not a good look for curtains.
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Holler if we can help you learn.
Reply to
Kay Lancaster

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