I probably need to stop with the overly wordy posts, but I think you may thank me for this if you decide to use the tutorial to make your own Roman Shades. To date, I have made 8 Roman Shades and each time I figure out how to do it a little less expensively. This version is also nice because it doesn’t require pulley’s, cord locks or other hard to find shade hardware. You should only have to make two trips! The fabric store and hardware store will (more than likely) have everything you need.
This tutorial works great for shades that are not overly large. The dimensions of the shade I made is 22 1/4″ X 34 1/2″. I tried to keep the instructions generic enough so you can make any size. If you are doing a shade that is a lot bigger than mine you may need to add some ribs, shade chord, etc.
Things you will need
- Decorator Fabric (this is what I call the pretty fabric you will use, in my case chairs)
- Lining Fabric- What you chose will depend on how much light you want to come through, thicker fabric will yield less light
- Fabric Pen
- Iron/Ironing Board
- Thread to match (I used invisible)
- Dustboard- a piece of pine works well it should fit just inside the width of your window, be about an inch thick, and just wide enough to fit without sticking out. Usually a 1 X 2 will work and you just have the store cut it to your desired length.
- 3 pieces of Roman Shade Tube Tape (width of shade +1 inch)
- 3 Ribs one inch less than width of shade (dowels work well and are easy to cut to size)
- Weight Rod (width of shade – 1 inch)
- Cleat (optional)
- Cord Condenser (options, you could also use a pretty bead.
- Roman Shade Cord- Add Length and width of your shade together, multiply that number by 3 and add 30 more inches
- velcro- 3/4″ is good, you will need the width of your shade
- 3 Eye Hooks
- 2 Screws- screws need to be long enough to go through your dustboard and into the window frame
- Velcro glue (I used super glue once and it also worked)
1.) Press wrinkles or creases out of the Decorator and Lining Fabrics before measuring and cutting
2.) Measure and Cut your Decorator and Lining Fabric Panels
Sizing The Panels:
First measure the window in the exact dimensions of where the shade will be. Remember your dustboard will attach to the inside of your window jamb, whatever that width measurement is should be the width of your shade. The length will depend on how long you want it. So once you know the dimensions of your finished width and Length, use the formula below to determine the size you should cut.
Decorator Fabric- add 2 inches to the width and add 5 1/4″ to the length.
Lining Fabric- add nothing to the width add 5 1/4″ to the length
My Finished Width is 22 1/4″ and the length is 34 1/2 ” so here are the measurements:
my decorator fabric will be 24 1/4″ X 39 3/4″
my lining fabric will be 22 1/4″ X 39 3/4″
Cutting the Panels:
Getting a straight cut is, in my opinion, the most important part. If your off the finished product will look messy and it will cause problems the entire way through. I get a straight cut by lining the selvedge up to the long side of a table and edging it up against a yardstick held in place by my bod. See pic.
Hold yardstick against table with your legs and edge the selvage up straight against it
Being very careful not to move the fabric, measure the width and mark it with a fabric pen. Next, Line up a T Square (I believe this is a drywall T Square) with the mark and cut the line with a rotary cutter.
Top of T Square should be against the short end of the table, make cut along the long end of the T Square
You should have perfectly straight edges on the long sides. The short edges are easier, I fold the fabric in half and use my rotary cutter, mat and slotted ruler to trim them to size.
Line up straight edge of fabric on your mat then use a slotted ruler to cut the edge off
Viola! Perfectly straight panels! You may notice a little wrinkle at the bottom, you really should iron the fabric before cutting. Momproject oops!!
Ignore the wrinkle… it is straight…I think….I hope…
3.) Cut 3 Pieces of Roman Shade Tube Tape the width of your finished shade plus 1 inch (you will fold the edges over)
4.) Cut Your Shade Cord into 3 pieces and label them.
Cord one- Length of panel + Width of panel + 10 Inches
Cord two- Length of panel + Width of panel + 20 Inches
Cord three- Length of panel + Width of panel + 30 Inches
1.) Place the lining panel on top of the decorator panel with right sides together. Pin along the length of the lefthand side and stitch a 1/2″ seam. Remember your decorator panel is 2 inches wider than the lining panel.
Place Lining Panel on Top of Decorator Panel
Stitch 1/2″ Seam
2.) Move the Lining Panel to position it on the lefthand side so that it lines up with the lefthand edge of the decorator panel. Pin it into place.
Line up lining fabric with lefthand edge of decorator panel
Pin It In Place
3.) Stitch a 1/2″ seam along the lefthand side. Press both seams open
Press Both Seams Open
4.) Center the lining panel so a 1/2 inch fold of decorator panel is on each side of the lining and press. Stitch a 1/2″ seam across the top and trim the top corners. Press the top seam open.
1/2″ Fold of Decorator Panel is on each side of the lining
Stitch 1/2″ seam across the top
Trim the top corners CAREFULLY
Press Top Seam Open
5.) Turn right side out. With the lining panel face up, press across the top seam and down each side forming a 1/2″ decorator panel border on lefthand and righthand side of the lining panel.
Excuse the blurry Photo but you can see how the border should look
Non Blurry Close up of the border…sew pretty
6.) To form the hem casing for the bottom weight rod, fold the raw edges of the fabric and lining towards the lining side 1/2″ and press. Stitch close to the pressed edge.
press and stitch a 1/2″ hem sewing close to the edge
7.) Turn bottom hem up 2 inches and pin into place. Stitch along the hem edge leaving the lefthand and righthand edges open to insert the weight rod later.
Pin a 2″ Hem at the bottom
Stitch the 2″ hem near the top edge
8.) Starting at the bottom, measure up 7.5″ in 3 different spots and draw a straight line across. This will be where you will place the Roman Shade Tube Tape. Measure up 10″ from that line and draw another line across. Do this one more time another 10″ higher. The picture isn’t great, my fabric pen is running out of ink….if anyone has read this far, my birthday is in a couple weeks and this would be a really inexpensive yet beloved gift!
If you look closely you can see the line I drew with the blue fabric pen
9.) Pin or tape your Roman Shade Tube Tape along each line. Turn under 1/2″ of tape on each side edge of the shade panel. I chose to use masking tape covering all but 1/8″ of the upper edge of the tube tape. The masking tape makes a good stitching guide as you have to be very careful to sew along the very top edge or you may stitch the cord slots closed. A note on the tube tape- the working side is the side with the raised stitching. You stitch it to the shade panel in the area 1/8″ down from the top edge of the tape through all of the fabric layers. The rib pocket should always be on the bottom.
Tube tape attached with masking tape
Close up of Tube Tape
Example of shade with all the tube tape ready for stitching
Stitch very carefully at the very top edge
10.) The last sewing step is to stitch the soft loop side of the sew on velcro to the very top of the lining side if the finished shade panel. Run a stitch along each long edge as close to the edge as possible.
Note: You will attach the hard hook side of your velcro to your dust board.
1.) Attach 3 eye hooks to your dust board. I put one in the middle and then one on each end, about 1 inch in. This is also a good time to partially put the screws in. I put them a couple inches from the end eye hooks.
Eye Hooks and screws in dust board
2.) You will attach the hard hook velcro piece the the dust board now. At this point it is helpful to hold the shade up to the window and adhere the velcro to the dust board so that bottom of the shade just hits the bottom of the window frame when it is velcroed on. Ideally some of the shade panel will be on the top of the dustboard so that when you screw it on the fabric is tucked neatly under.
3.) With the shade attached to the dustboard you are now going to thread the shade cord through each of the 3 pieces of tube tape.. You want to make sure you line up with the eye hooks. Take the longest piece and start with that one at the left edge. The middle length cord will be in the middle and the shortest will be on the right. Use tweezers or I took a wire with a loop at the end to help work the cord through. Knot each cord at the lowest loop to secure it in place.
Thread the cord through the slots using tweezers or a wire
Tie in a knot
Shade with 3 cords treaded through tube tape
4.) Thread the cord through the eye hooks so all 3 pieces are coming out on the right side. Tie all three together in a knot on the other edge of the eye hook.
Thread cords through eye hook (mine come out on the left but I would recommend the right
Tie all 3 cords together in a knot
5.) Find a slit at the bottom of the tube tape nearest to one end and insert a rib, Repeat for each tape. Sew a lower corner of each end of the tube tapes to hold them in place and keep the ribs from falling out.
Insert ribs into tube tape
6.) Place a weight rod into the bottom hem casing. Sew each end of the hem casing closed to keep it from coming out.
Insert Weight Rod into hem casing and sew shut
7.) Using the mounting screws you installed on your board, screw the mounting board to the inside top of the window frame. be sure the board is straight in the frame. you will probably be making holes through your fabric (depending on where you attached the velcro) where the shade covers the top side of the dustboard. Be careful to move the cords out of the way when installing the screws.
I installed cleats on the side of my window frame and wrapped the cord around them to hold the shade up to the desired position. You may also chose to use a cord condenser to keep all of the cords together neatly.
So excited! My alcove is finally complete and I can sit there and read, write more blog posts or light some candles and pretend I am at a spa waiting for my massage. I made the candle holders for the wall and ordered the precious little deer print from one of my favorite etsy store’s enrouge. Karla, the owner, is super sweet and such a talented artist. The print was packaged so adorably I almost didn’t want to open it.
Deer Print By Karla at Etsy Shop Enrouge
Candle Holders Made by Yours Truly