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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to Make a Roman Shade

Want to make a curtain that looks professional? Try making your own Roman shade. Making curtains is simple and quick...this takes a bit more time, but you'll love the results.

This was my first attempt. I looked everywhere for an easy tutorial, but couldn't find one. My older sister sent me instructions from a book, but I modified them somewhat to my own taste and needs (read: laziness).

Most of the items you'll need are available at your local fabric store. (I go to JoAnn fabrics for all my sewing/decor/craft supplies.) Here's what you'll need to make your own inside-mount Roman shade:

  • fabric for interior of shade, cut to one inch wider and 7 inches longer than the measurements of the inside from of your window. Remember: measure twice, cut once.
  • lining fabric for shade, cut to measurements of your window
  • sewing machine
  • thread that matches your fabric 
  • scissors
  • sewing needle
  • staple gun
  • drill (and if you're not familiar with using one, you'll also need a husband/boyfriend/neighbor to operate it)
  • marking pen/pencil
  • ruler and/or t-square
  • drapery rings
  • drapery Velcro
  • drapery cording, pull cord, and attachable tie
  • wood, cut to fit your window (length depends on whether you mount it on the outside or inside of the window frame)
  • 3-4 long screws and washers to go through the fabric-covered wood into the top of the window frame 
  • Stitch Witchery (or some other tape-like fabric adhesive) 
  • 4-5 screw eyes (these are screws with a ring on the end)

  1. Measure the window. I measured the inside of the frame for an inside mount. If you do an outside mount shade, you'll need to determine where you want the shade to sit in relation to the length and width of your window frame.
  2. Cut the fabric one inch wider and 7 inches longer than your window measurement. This will give you a 1/2 inch of seam allowance on both sides and nice finished fold at the bottom. You will be wrapping the fabric around the lining and attaching the sides with Stitch Witchery.
  3. Cut the lining to exactly the width and 1 inch longer than the window.
  4. Cut fabric to wrap around you piece of wood. Wrap the fabric around the wood as though you're wrapping a present. Then, use your staple gun to staple the fabric in place. 
  5. Place the fabric-covered board inside the top of the window frame. While you or a friend holds it in place, drill holes the same length and slightly narrower than the long screws. Secure the long screws with washers into the board and window frame using the drill or screwdriver. (see photo #2 below)
  6. With right sides together and about a 1/2" overlap of the main fabric (the fabric you want facing the room when you hang your blind) on both sides, sew the top of the fabric panels together with a 1/2" seam allowance.  Reverse and press seam flat.
  7. Make sure there is an overlap of the main fabric on the sides (about 1/2 inch on each side). The fabric will be 7 inches longer than the lining. Fold up the bottom of fabric 4 inches and press the back part of the fabric under 1/2 to 1 inch. Then, sew through panel and lining fabric close to the fold you just pressed.
  8. For a seamless look, place the Stitch Witchery adhesive tape along the sides of the lining fabric. Fold over the main fabric and press, following the directions on the Stitch Witchery package to adhere the two fabrics. Repeat on both sides of the blind. Note: You can also sew this, but there will be a clear seam on your blind when it's not open. You can also use Fray Check here, but I didn't. Again, no one will see it. (see photo #1 below)
  9. Attach the Drapery Velcro to the board and your Roman shade. I put the hook side on the board and used the staple gun to secure it. Then, I stitched the loop side to the shade. (see photo #2 below)
  10. You're nearly done! Decide how far apart you want your guide loops to go. I put too many, I think. My window was only 30" wide and I did five guide loops. Use a t-square or other long ruler to mark where the loops will go.
  11. Hand stitch each loop in place. Make sure your thread matches your main fabric, so it will be as inconspicuous as possible. I placed the bottom loops up above the hem and moved up from there. This may take some time to figure out. Don't rush. Make sure you have it right before you start to sew. (see photo #1 below)
  12. Mark the location of screw eyes on the board mounted inside the window sill. Match up the measurements with the guide loops you just sewed on. Don't worry, though, if it's off because it really doesn't matter. No one will see and deduct points if they are not in alignment with the guide loops. Use a drill with a bit slightly smaller than the size of the screw eyes and drill the guide holes. 
  13. Once holes are drilled, secure the screw eyes. (see photo #2 below)
  14. Tie the drapery cording to the bottom guide loop and put it through each guide loop above it until you get to the top. 
  15. Once you have all the drapery cord woven through each guide loop, decide which side you want to pull from and thread the cord through the screw eyes on the board to that side. Attach the Velcro's and thread the drapery cord through. You will need a helper to hold up the shade while you do this. (see photo #2 below)
  16. Take all ends of the cord and put it through a drapery pull. Knot the ends securely and trim.
  17. Secure the tie for the cord inside the window sill with the provided screws. (see photo #3 below)
  18. Pull up your shade carefully, creasing it as you go with your hands. 
  19. Keep the shade up for a few days to let the creases set.
  20. Enjoy!

Photo #1 Illustrating steps 8 and 11

    Photo #2 Illustrating steps 5, 9, 13, and 15
    Photo #3 Illustrating steps 16 and 17
    If you have any questions, please ask. 


    1. Great post! I might have to try making a shade for my 95"x59" window that hates me...seriously, it totally does.
      I've read a few of your posts and I have to say, you a funny one. I love your humor. :)

      1. Gee, thanks Kristin!

        Do you really have a window that big? WOW! Good luck and post photos...I want to see what you come up with for your enormous window!

    2. I have told myself I will do this for 3 years now, poor kitchen still doesn't have a roman day!

    3. Good job! It really looks well-made. The process is quite long. Did you have a hard time making it? How long did it take? I see it involved a lot of measuring and cutting. That’s fine, although I am not good at sewing, much more with drilling. Err! Roxie @


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