How To Make Roman Shades for Windows
By: Chelsea Lipford Wolf
Watch this video to find out how to make and personalize Roman shades to add a decorative touch and reduce the amount of sunlight coming in your windows.
- 1/4” dowel rods (number depends on length of shade)
- Fabric glue
- Coordinating thread
- Liner fabric
- Plastic rings
- Drapery cord
- Decorative fan pull
- 1×2 cut to window width minus 1/4”
- Latex paint
- Fabric medium
- Screw-in eye hooks
- Corner brackets
- Plastic cord cleat
- Staple gun
- Sewing machine
- Tape measure
How to Make Roman Shade:
- Measure the width and length of your window.
- Add 2” to the window width and 8” to the length, and cut the shade fabric to size.
- Add 1” to the window width and 8” to the length, and cut the liner fabric to size.
- Fold the bottom of the fabric over 2”, press it flat with an iron, and stitch to form a hem.
- Repeat the hemming process above on the liner fabric.
- Lay the shade and liner fabric on top of each other with the good sides of the fabric facing in toward each other.
- Pin the edges of the two pieces of fabric together, and stitch both sides and the bottom of the fabric, leaving the top unsewn.
- Mark the fabric from the bottom on both sides at 9”, and then every 8” after that.
- Cut ¼” dowel rods to length 4” shorter than width of the window.
- Use permanent fabric glue to attach the dowels to the fabric parallel with the bottom at each set of marks.
- After the glue has dried, turn the shad inside out.
- Mark the back of the shade (liner) 5” in from each side at the bottom dowel rod. Repeat on the 3rd and 4th dowel rods from the bottom.
- Hand sew plastic rings to the back of the shade (liner) at the dowel marks. Make sure at least one of the threads goes through both layers of fabric and around the dowel rod.
- Cut a 1”x2” board ¼” shorter than the width of the window.
- Attach eye hooks to one edge of the board 4⅞” in from each end of the board.
- Attach a 3rd eye hook to the same edge of the board 3” in from one end on the side you want the pull chord.
- Measure the height of your window up from the bottom of the shade, and mark the fabric on the back (liner) of the shade.
- Place the board on the marks, fold the fabric over it, staple the fabric to the board, and cut off any excess fabric.
- Run a drapery cord through the rings on each side of the shade, and then tie each cord to the bottom ring.
- Run the chord through the eye hooks, so they both end up on the same side of the shade.
- To add a decorate pattern to the shade, mix 1 part fabric medium to 2 parts latex paint.
- Paint the desired pattern on the shade, and allow the paint to dry.
- Hold the shade in place on the window, and mark the bottom of the board on the window facing on each side of the window.
- Attach metal “L” brackets to the window facing at the marks on each side of the window.
- Slide the board onto the brackets, and screw the board in place from the bottom.
- Attach a cleat to the window on the same side as the pull cords, and use it to secure the shade when it is pulled up.
Watch this video to find out more.
- Using Shade to Reduce Energy Bills (video)
- Insulating Windows and Doors from the Inside Out (article)
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Creating your own roman shade requires minimal sewing skills to achieve great results. Start by measuring the length and width of your window. Before cutting your fabric, add two inches to your width measurement and eight inches to your length.
For this style shade, we’re using a liner as well. Add the same eight inches to the length as the shade fabric, but only add one-inch to the width of the liner for cutting.
To hem your fabric, fold the bottom up two inches and press with an iron. Stitch it with your sewing machine or use no-sew iron-on hem tape. Repeat the process with the liner.
Lay out the shade fabric on a flat surface and place the liner on top—right sides together—making sure the hemmed bottoms meet up. Then pin them together with straight pins before stitching. Repeat for the other long side, leaving the top un-sewn.
Now, lay it out with the inside of your good fabric facing up. Starting at the bottom, measure and mark at nine, 17, 25, 33, and 41 inches—a few inches in from the edge of each side. Continue at eight-inch intervals if your shade is longer than 51 inches.
Cut ¼-inch dowel rods to four inches less than the width of your windows. Using a permanent fabric glue, attach the dowel rods parallel with the bottom along each mark you just made. You may need some heavy items on top while the glue dries. After the glue has dried, slowly and carefully turn the shade right-side out.
On the back of the shade, mark about five inches from the edge on each side on the bottom, third and fourth from bottom dowel rods. Depending on the length of your shade, you may want to also mark an additional alternating dowel rod or two. Don’t mark on the top dowel rod if it is within 10 inches of the top of your finished shade.
Next, hand sew plastic rings at each mark, making sure at least once to sew your thread through the front and around the dowel rod. Repeat until all six rings are intact.
With a one-by-two cut to a quarter-inch less than your window width, attach three eye hooks on the same side. Two should be four-and-seven-eights inches from the edge, and the third should be about three inches from the edge on the side you want your pull cords to be on.
Then measure from the bottom of your fabric and mark a line at your window length dimension. Using a staple gun, attach the one-by-two to the back of your shade at that line. Cut off any excess fabric.
For the pull cords, run drapery cord down through the rings on one side, tying it well to the bottom ring. Run it through the hooks at the top and leave a foot or so to the side. Repeat for the rings on the other side.
Cords from both sides should end on the same side just like a set of mini blinds. Attach a decorative fan pull to the end of your cords.
If you’re adding a decorative pattern to your shade, mix one part fabric medium with two parts latex paint and apply to your fabric with a brush. Once the paint is dry, you’re ready to hang your roman shade.
Hold the shade in place in the window, mark the bottom of the one-by-two on each side. Attach a corner “L” bracket where the bottom lines up with your mark. Then set the one-by-two on top of the brackets and screw it in.
Before you can pull up your shade, attach a cleat to the frame on the same side as your pull cords.
Now you have a fully-functional designer roman shade without the high price tag.