How to Add Lace Trim to Curtains (pt 1 of 2)

What You'll Need
Curtains or sheers in desired length
Lace trim
Sewing shears
Sewing needle
Thread to match lace trim
Sewing machine (optional)
Tape measure
Dressmakers chalk
Straight pins
Fabric glue (optional)

Adding lace trim to existing curtains is an easy way to change the look of a room. It also adds value to your curtains without the cost of replacing them. Updating and embellishing your old curtains, or even a set of new curtains, requires some simple tools and materials, and a little time.

Step 1: Choosing the Lace

The first step is to decide on the finished look that you wish to achieve for your curtains. There are many different styles of lace trim. There are also lace trims available in a multitude of colors, widths, and price ranges. Visit your local fabric or craft supply store to familiarize yourself with the options available before committing to one type of trim.

Step 2: Deciding on a Style

Whatever lace trim you choose can be used in a variety of ways in the embellishment of curtains, new or old. You may wish to add a simple row of lace along the bottom edge. You could also run trim along the edges of curtains lengthwise for a different look. Lace cut to fit the width of the curtain edge will give a cleaner, more tailored appearance than lace which is gathered along the edge. Gathered lace adds a more romantic and informal look and feel to a room.

Step 3: Measuring

After you have chosen your trim, you will need to determine how much to purchase. This measurement will depend upon the style you chose in the step listed above. For a lace edge made to fit the curtains, you will need enough lace trim to fit the edge with an additional 1 to 2 inches for finishing. If using a gathered style of trim, you will need at least 3 times the length of the curtain’s width. For a more ruffled look you can increase that measurement as desired. 

Step 4: Cutting

Using the sharpest shears that you have available is important here. Dull scissors will not cut straight. They can also result in a ragged edge, leading to unraveling. This will make it more difficult to sew the trim into place and may affect the overall appearance of the finished project.

Step 5: Reducing Length in Case of Wide Lace Trim

Adding a lace edge to the bottom of your curtains will add to the overall length of the panels. If the lace trim that you have chosen to use is very wide, you may need to reduce the length of the curtain panels to accommodate it. To do this, begin by placing a layer of cardboard on your table or work area to ensure a flat surface and avoid scratches. Measure the panels very carefully, placing straight pins or marking with dressmaker’s chalk at the desired length. Fold the fabric, wrong sides together, along this line and press. Measure again before cutting away excess fabric or sewing the new hem into place, making certain that the hem is perfectly straight, and that it is the correct length. If necessary, cut the excess fabric away, again using your sharpest shears, cutting as straight as possible. It may be helpful to press the fabric along the cutting line before using the shears. Finish the raw edge using a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine, or fold and press 1/8 inch to the wrong side, then fold again, forming a 1/4 inch finishing edge, and sew into place using a straight stitch. Alternatively, fabric glue can be used to hold the new hem into place, although sewing will provide more durability when your lace trim is applied.