Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tutorial. . .How to Sew a Roman Shade

This tutorial was posted last month on Remodelaholic.  I thought I would share it here on my own blog.
I've lived in my house for 5 years now and never had a blind in the laundry room - I thought it was about time I got busy and sewed one up.  I procrastinated for A LONG time because I thought it was going to be a hard project.  It really wasn't - I wish I hadn't waited so long!
- fabric (I used an upholstery weight)
- drapery lining (there will be several to choose from - light all the way to blackout; if your shade is going in a bedroom, you will most likely want to use blackout lining)
- 5/16" d. wood dowels (number will depend on the height of your shade; I use four)
- wood board for bottom of shade (1" w x 1/8" thick)
- header board for mounting your shade (1-1/2" x 1/2" or something similar)
- nylon cord (length of cording you need will be somewhere around 5 times the length of your shade)
- eye screws
- small plastic rings (you will find these in the drapery section of the craft or sewing store)
- angle brackets for mounting
- cord cleat
- staple gun and other misc. tools
1.  Determine what size to cut your fabric.  Measure your window and add 4" to the width and 8-1/2" to the length.  Cut fabric and lining to the same size.  For example, I wanted my blind to be mounted on the outside of my window and wanted it to cover the wood trim.  I also wanted it mounted 6" above the window to add a little height.  That dimension was 46" h. x 33" w.  So, I needed to cut my fabric 54-1/2" h. x 37" w.
2.  Use an iron and press a 2" hem on the sides and bottom edge of your fabric.
3.  Make mitered corners.  Unfold the hems you just ironed.  Fold up each corner and iron.  See photo below.
Refold hems.
4.  Now repeat hems on your lining except make hems 2-1/2" on each side.
5.  Lay out fabric, right side down.  Place liner on fabric, right side up, and pin together.  Place lining 2" above bottom edge of fabric.  Sew lining and fabric together.  You only need to sew along the two side and bottom edges.  You do not need to sew at the top edge.
6.  Now you need to determine how many dowels you need and how far apart you want them.  Dowels should be 8 - 12" apart.  According to directions I followed from, the position of the bottom dowel can be determined by dividing the distance of the dowel intervals by 2, and then add 1.  For example, if your dowels are placed 12" apart, the bottom pocket should be 7" from the bottom.  The top dowel should be at least 10" from the top.  The total length of my shade is 46" and I space the dowels 9" apart.  Once you determine location for the dowels, mark with a pencil.
7.  Now it's time to sew pockets for the dowels.  For each dowel you have, cut a strip of fabric 3" w. x the width of your lining.  Iron in half and then on the side opposite to the fold, fold down 1/2" and iron.  Sorry if that is confusing - see the pictures below!
8.  Lay the dowel pockets on the liner at each spot you made a pencil mark and pin.  Place the strips with the 1/2" folded side toward the bottom of the shade.
9.  Sew along the bottom edge of each dowel pocket.
The sewing is finished!
10.  Cut dowels and bottom board to size.  Insert each dowel into pocket and place bottom board at the bottom of the shade.  See photo below.
11.  Sew on plastic rings.  At each dowel sew, by hand, three plastic rings.  One in the center and one about two inches in from each end.  When you finish, you will have 3  vertical columns of rings.
12.  Divide your cord by three parts and cut.  Tie one end of a cord to the lowest ring and thread up through the vertical line of rings to the top of the shade.  Repeat with the other two ring columns and cord.
13.  Cut the header board to size (about 1/2" shorter than the finished width of your shade).  Wrap the header board with leftover fabric or lining fabric and attach with staple gun.  Now you need to determine the location of screw eyes on the header board.  Lay the board next to your shade and make a mark at each of the three ring locations.  Insert eye screw at each mark.
14.  Attach angle brackets to header board and then mount header board to wall.
15.  Hold your blind up to header board to check the length.  You may need to trim the top edge a little.  Leave enough so that you can fold over about 1/2 inch, like this:
16.  Use a staple gun to attach the shade to the top of the header board.
17.  Thread the cords through the eyes on the header board.  The first cord will need to go through all three eyes.  The second cord through two, and the last one only through one.
The underside of the shade looks like this:
18.  Attach a cord cleat on window frame so that you have something to wrap the cords around.  If you want, you can also buy a cord connector with will join all three cords together.

Your shade is finished!
Here are a few photos of my finished shade
Here it is shut:
And open:
* The fabric I used can be found right here.
.Linking to:
Frugalicious Friday
Funky Junk Interiors


amanda persinger said...

Is there anything you CAN NOT do???? ha!ha! This tutorial is awesome! So detailed...which I need!! ; ) Thanks for sharing!


Michele Pacey said...

Great tutorial Alissa! I MUST do something about the state of my windows and this blind is so clean-looking and pretty (and possbily even do-able for me!). Thanks so much for posting this!

kim said...

Very cool tutorial - roman shades have been on my list for so long but they're so pricey! And how funny - I'm using that exact fabric for a project in my home as well. I got mine at Jo-Ann during a 50% off sale. I think it came out to about $12/yd!

Kari said...

This really did turn out fabulous! I can't wait to try it!

Amy said...

Hi Alisa,
Tha shade is amzing! Thanks for the detailed tutorial...makes me think I could actually make this!

I am delurking to pose a question to you:
I have several windows (5) on the main floor of myhose. They range from approx. 28" wide to 83" wide (2 are this size), and are all the same length at about 64". It's basically an open concept room, so you can see all windows from every area of this room. I'm thinking that all of the windows should be done with the same fabric to be uniform. Would you consider a pattern or stick wih a solid color?
Also, for the two large windows (83"W x 64" L) would I better off to make two shades and hang side-by-side rather than attempting one large shade?

Thanks for your help!

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

We are still hoping to move, Alissa...and we are now redoing our current kitchen, in hopes that this house sells in the Spring. When we are in the new home, I am sooooo doing this! I just love it so much.

Erin said...

You make it look so easy! My MIL gave me all the supplies to make roman shades. I going to have to give it a try!

Ⓙaη @ ฿◎ßßƴ℘ḯη❝﹩ ℬ◎aґdẘαʟк ツ said...

What a great tutorial. Thanks for sharing. I came by from Jane's party!

lisaroyhandbags said...

Awesome tutorial! I've always loved roman shades and the fabric you chose is fab! :)

Carmie of the Single Nester said...

You are talented and I am scared :)

Bev said...

Impressive! Have been wanting to do this for months and your instructions are the most straightforward I've ever seen. Great motivator.
Thanks for posting this!:>)

alissa said...

Thanks everyone for all your sweet comments!

Amy - I tried to respond to your question, but you do not have an email associated with your account. In general, I would say that yes, the same fabric would be best for all windows, but it's very hard for me to answer with out seeing a photo of your room. Sorry!

Kate @ The Gaines Gang said...

THANK YOU!!!!!! I have bookmarked this to make for both my kiddos rooms. Thanks so much for reposting!

Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking said...

Beautiful! You did a great step-by-step... definitely saving this for the future.

Karen said...

I'm saving this tutorial for when I learn to use my new sewing machine. Love that fabric, too!!

southerninspirationsblog said...

Great tutorial! I am going to save this for when I get brave enough to pull out the machine thats been hiding in my closet for YEARS! You make this look like something a novice like me might could do. Thanks for sharing, your shade looks very professional!


Rose said...

Fabulous tutorial! I'm linking you in my Sunday Six most inspiring blogs list.

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

This shade is awesome. It would look so good on my windows. So I am glad that you did the tutorial.Thanks!

Carol@easytobeglutenfree said...

What a great tutorial! I have always wanted to make these. I think this is the inspiration I needed to get started.

l.alden said...

Thank you for posting this tut

LuLu said...

Great tutorial. I CANNOT wait until I move out of my rented little 2x4 house so I can try this out in something I can call my own! Definitely adding to my favorites.

Teri said...

Thank you for such a clear tutorial! We are about to become homeowners, and this is the perfect solution for my tall, narrow bedroom windows. I'll definitely revisit this once we have moved in and I can take some measurements! Thanks again! :)

nan said...

THANKS THANKS THANKS!! this is EXACTLy what I have been looking for. I needed to make shades for my daughters nursery and this is exactly it! super ! great photos, step by step instructions and very detailed. I LIKE :)

Pine Tree Home said...

I just bought this same fabric in green to cover an ottoman. Wish me luck.
Loving the clean lines of the shade.

blissful_e said...

You are a genius! This is the best Roman shade tutorial I have found, and I have looked at MANY! Thank you so much for the clear pictures at each step.

blissful_e said...

Me again... just completed a Roman Shade for my kids' room using your tutorial:

Thank you again for the fabulous, detailed post!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for such a clear and detailed post. I made two shades for my kitchen and they turned out fabulous. Now I want to make pleated, lined drapes for my dining room. Do you have a tutorial for this? Many thanks.
July 18,2011

Venetian Blinds said...

This article is extremely helpful! Thank you.

Tammy said...

Love this tutorial! I just got my lining and fabric pinned together. Alissa, my question is: How to you cut your fabric straight? I'm not an avid seamstress and this is one of my first BIG projects other than pillow covers. Like when you mitered your corners the fabric was cut perfectly square from the beginning so that you avoided any extra fabric to deal with when mitering.

When I get my project a little "off" it makes me want to give up but I don't want to give up--I want it

Mummy Kim said...

Thank you SO much for this!!! I just finished a set of 3 matching shades for my daughter's room. This was my first big project and then turned out beautifully. I searched the internet far and wide and your instructions were the most concise, user friendly, and approachable.

DittoDecorating said...

I just want to thank you for such a clear tutorial! I have had my fabric for over a month now but did not know which method to use. This one makes sense to me. Thanks again, I will post my new shades on my blog, please visit.

Redlilocks {Swoon Worthy} said...

Found this tutorial via Pinterest and so glad I did! Funny thing is, I was looking for good clear instructions to make a roman blind and this just happens to be the exact same fabric I will be using for my dining room :)

I think it was meant to be!!

Thank you for taking the time to create a wonderful tutorial! xxx

Kim said...

Thanks so much for expanding on Martha's slightly vague and lacking-good-pictures tutorial! I was struggling with how exactly to do those rod pockets and found your tutorial! Will "pin" it so that maybe others can find it, too.

Vertical Blinds said...

Thanks for your information your information might be very helpful for the peoples with your information anyone can get the good information.

Roller blinds

Waseem said...

Very clear...You did it step by step...easy to understand.
Roman shades concord, ca

Jody said...

Hi Alissa! I just finished and hung my very own blinds and I love them. Thank you for the pictures and well-explained tutorial. I am adding a link to your tutorial to my blog post and the blinds.

Y Mama said...

I love that you put them outside the window frame! I linked back to you today and showed your roman shade pic. Not only because they are outside but your tutorial is great! Nice work!

david bacham said...

The quality of your blogs and articles and worth appreciating.
black vertical blinds

france pope said...

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.

shades marblehead

Jessy said...

I LOVE THIS! I've been looking for an easy and much more decorative than mini blinds... I was just thinking about doing something similar for my window blinds too. I looked into roman shades.

Velux blinds

Eusa Maciel said...

I loved this tutorial.
I will make it. Thanks!

martha jenkins said...

Great tutorial! If i am making a shade like this for a window on a door, do you think i could just use a tension rod on top? Thanks!

Michelle Smith said...

So Very thanks for this post and your writing skill. keep posting.i will again come here very soon for further information.thanks

Rene Veeravalli said...

Thank you for sharing the steps on how to sew Roman Shades. I actually have a simple to trick to make Roman Shade without sewing. I just use fabric fuse, a tape that will work as thread to hold the pleats of the fabric. It is possible, try it! +Rene Veeravalli said...

great! just found on pinterest. i will be trying and hopefully use in several rooms in my house!

Susan Karandy said...

I am at the part where you sew the lining to the fabric. Do you just machine sew around the edge close to the fold through the layers from the lining side or do you hand stitch using a slipstich?

Frederick Tripp said...

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Fabrik ETC said...

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own blog now

kamaleoah said...

You are one of those people who make difference in this world because you share you knowledge.
Beauriful tutorial, congratulations from Rio de Janeiro!!

Clare Corrigan said...

Thank you so much!! Please can someone let me know what 5/12 " d means? For the wood dowels? Want to make tomorrow but don't have a clue what it means? Please help.

Jill - And Sew We Go said...

Hi, what a great tutorial, used it yesterday to make a blind for my niece for her baby due in 3 weeks, brilliant clear instructions, bind came out so well, thanks you very much.


Risa Flores said...

Great tutorial! So clear and easy to follow, many many thanks for putting this together. There could be one modification: Instead of stapling the top to the header board, I could velcro maybe? so that the whole thing comes off for washing? Cheers!

Tumbleweed714 said...

Found you on Crazy Little Projects. You did a GREAT job on this, and I appreciate your very clear tutorial. I have been wanting to make a couple of these,(and not the faux version). I feel like I can follow your tutorial and get it done now, and YOURS looks beautiful! so, thanks!

Tricia said...

Thank you for your amazing tutorial! I have been involved in a 6 week One Room Makeover Challenge and I need a roman shade completed in less than 2 weeks. There was no way I was going to find a seamstress who could turn work around that quickly so it was up to me. All the tutorials I found were so complicated that I didn't think there were anyway my minimal sewing skills were going to get me through. And then I found your tutorial - well-written, very clear & concise and extremely helpful! The only thing I would say is that it should be pointed out earlier in the article that you need to make sure the bottom gap is at least 2" wide so that your 2" board can slide in. Mine ended up being too narrow but I just put 2 dowels in instead. Thank you again!!!!
Tricia at

Elenka said...

How high up can you open them? I would like to let in as much light as possible. I was also thinking maybe a light weight batting fill can be sewn in-between for more insulation....

Leanne Rain said...

Thank you so much for this great Tutorial!. ive got 11 blinds to make for our new conservatory, so ive been hunting down the most easiest and quickest way to do them. so thank you :) Leanne

Danette Collins said...

Thank you for an excellent tutorial. I have finished two shades and in the process of completing the third and actually feel like I know what I'm doing.

Karen C. said...

Nice tutorial!
I wonder if you could include your responses to questions in the comment thread. I bet there are a lot of people with the same questions as the ones posted. You might avoid repeat questions and end some frustration on the part of readers. Just a thought! Anyone else think posting answers would be helpful?
Thanks again for the thorough tutorial!

tomi @ frillsnstuds said...

This is the best-est tutorial I've seen so far and I have seen many. Very detailed instructions and photos. Love, love this tutorial. Thanks so much.

Chickierahrah said...

Thank you so much for posting. My shade turned out really well! I am now addicted! Any chance you can break down formal shade tutorial? I'm new to this and it doesn't all make sense to me. Hope your house needs a formal shade somewhere!


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