July 5, 2010

DIY: Roman Shades

The prospect of making my own roman shades was a daunting task to me.  A far cry from my first window treatment project of simple panels.  However, I quickly learned that the roman shades were much easier than the panels. Is that possible?  Yes it is and I will tell you why.  First of all when you sew panels you have to sew two for every window.  That is double the fabric, double the money, and double the time.  Double yuck!!  I loved that I only had to sew three roman shades - that's all.  Secondly, I decided to line the panels, well, you're suppose to line them and for me that proved to be a challenge.  Lining up the fabric and making sure it was all smooth and taut was next to impossible.  Perhaps it was because I had to sew double of everything and got really burned out but most of my panels gathered a little funny at the bottom because either the lining is longer than the fabric or the fabric is longer than the lining.  It looks horrendous but at this point I am just glad they are done.  Needless to say I learned a lot of lessons from sewing the panels and was relieved to find that I experienced zero, nada, none, zip problems with the roman shades.  

If you're interested here is how I made them.


Wood Dowels 
Drapery Rope
Eye Hooks
1x2 Plank
Small plastic rings

First of all measure your windows.  (I had two windows that were the same size and one that was not.)  Once you have your window measurements, figure out your fabric measurements.  For all roman shades the first tier is 12" and then each tier after that is 9".  

Now you have to do some simple math:  I subtracted 12 from the window height and then divided that number by 9 to get how many 9" tiers your window will need.

- 12




Once you know how many 9" tiers, you will have to add 1" in between every tier to accommodate for the wood dowel pockets you will sew.

So it would look like this:


Lastly add 4" to this for your top and bottom hem.


Just add 1" to the width of the window to get your measurement for the fabric.
So the final fabric measurement would be 56"x34".

Confused yet?  I promise that is the worse part of this whole project.  Who likes math and thinking?

I feel like a broken record but iron your fabric before you measure and cut it.  It really makes a big difference.

Then hem it up on the sides and bottom.  Leave the top un-hemmed.  You won't need it.

Once everything is hemmed, it is time to measure for the pockets.  Start at the bottom since that is a hemmed edge.  Measure 9" up on the reverse side and mark with a pencil across.  Then measure 1" and mark again with a pencil.  Continue that following the pattern we figured out above - specific for your window.  

When I did this I also marked the middle of the 1" sections to make folding and pinning it easier.  To create the pocket you fold in that 1" section so that the pocket is on the reverse side and front side is smooth.

This is the backside of the fabric.

Cut your wood dowels to size (the width of the shade) and slip them in each pocket for support and structure.

Next sew the small plastic rings into the back of each of these pockets.  Sew two onto each pocket, 4" from the edge on each side.

Then it is time to prep the 1x2 piece of wood that will hold the shade in place.  Cut the wood to width so it will fit in your window.  I love power tools!

Next wrap the fabric around the wood and staple it in place so that you maintain the 12" tier.

Then screw in the eye hooks on the top and bottom of the wood, this is also 4" in from each edge.

After this is assembled it is time to attach the drapery rope and create the pulley system.

Follow this diagram:

You will need two separate pieces of rope a little longer than the shade.  String one side through the top eye hook and each ring and knot it on the bottom ring.  Do the same to the other side but string that through both eye hooks so that when you pull on both strings the shade draws up.

To finish attach a drapery pull to the end.

To install simply secure the top eye hooks on nails attached above the window and that is all.

Now this is a pretty primitive shade so it will not simply stay up on it's own so you will have to install some sort of hook to hold the cord in place when it is drawn.  I bought these from the hardware store.  It is similar to what is used to tie up boats on the dock.

And here is the finished product.

I really love it!

Please let me know if you try this roman shade for your home.  I would love to hear what you did and how it worked for you.  I am not the best at explaining so let me know if you have any questions!

Thanks for stopping by.

I shared this with the great readers of Freckled Laundry.  Check out her blog and all the other inspiring projects being linked up.

freckled laundry


Unknown said...

I am super, super impressed..and maybe have a new blog to follow! Cherry St. Cottage is looking lovely.

Nicole Gonzalez said...

These directions look so much simpler than the ones I have already started. I am looking for ideas on how to attach my dowels to my shade. I have followed 2 different authors and now I am clueless on what to do next...LOL! I wish I had found yours first.
Thanks. I will be sure to do these ones next.

DIYbyDesign said...

I am very impressed with the shade. You kinda scared me with all the math. Yours came out amazing. I linked over from Freckled Laundry. I'd love if you get a chance if you would come by and check out my blog. www.diybydesign.blogspot.com

Chris at Red Gate Farm said...

This is EXACTLY what I need/want to make for the two windows in my bedroom. Thanks for the detailed instructions!

Unknown said...

Thank you for linking up this tutorial! I have 5 romans to make and this will prove very useful!

Rachel // Maybe Matilda said...

Those look wonderful! I've always wanted to try Roman shades, and yours look incredible! Great blog . . . I'm glad I stumbled across it! I'm a new follower :-)

Rachel @ Maybe Matilda

michele said...

GENIUS. greeeeeaaaat job. found u via the party.


Anonymous said...

I'm impressed! You made it seem like even I could make them. I do have a couple questions; what kind of fabric did you use? what size dowels are they? When you sewed the rings to the pockets, it looks like you sewed through the seam. Did you? I'm trying to figure out how the stitching doesn't show from the front. I really want to try this, and I'm wondering if it's possible to make them BIG, like 60" wide. Do you know if it would work? Do you think it's possible to use 3 strings or if it would just be too complicated. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that. Thanks for posting this!

Anonymous said...

how do you attach the shade to the window frame? I have made roman shades before and always used an L bracket.

Unknown said...

I attached the roman shade with little nails. I hammered tiny nails into my trim and then hooked it on with the eye hooks that way I can remove them easily for cleaning or adjusting. The L bracket would work well too.

Anonymous said...

I think I must have gotten the wrong size dowels...they are not fitting in the 1" wide strip. Can you tell me what size you used?

Anonymous said...

Thanks sO much for your detailed instructions and photos of supplies. Adding the finishing touches to my shade. It looks beautiful. The emphasis on ironing and measuring helped tremendously! Working my sewing machine (since I do not know how to sew) was the most challenging part. :)

Waseem said...

So clear and easy....I have the courage to give it a try.
Roman shades concord, ca

Anonymous said...

I followed a link here from Pinterest. Thanks for creating these detailed and simple to understand instructions. I enjoy sewing and am a pretty decent seamstress when it comes to clothing, but for some reason, Roman blinds had me stumped. Probably because I've never seen them in person before, so I didn't understand how they functioned until reading your tutorial. Other websites gave instructions with pictures of the final product, but never enough of the details for me to understand the construction. I've seen some crazy complicated versions as well. One site had you cut out separate fabric strips to hem and sew onto the back of the curtain to create the casings for the dowel rods! What a lot of unnecessary effort! One read through of your blog and I feel ready to go home and tackle this project from memory. It's that simple... Now that I *get* it. THANK YOU!

Melodee said...

Made a shade today and used this tute! very well done! your directions are spot on and you added pics at the precise time!

I have a little blog myself and have placed a link there for others who happen to stumble upon my post to come back here to check out your tute!


Ladybird Ln said...

This looks so great, I love it! I have a question though.... Do you have a dowel at the end or bottom of your roman shade, I am hoping to get the stuff to make these today!


Carpet and Carpets said...

The diy Roman shades is given in the post here. The post is very useful

huntressd said...

this is definitely the most clear and easy to follow instructional on the web!! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this for us!!

Curtain said...

Mindblowing. It looks so good, comfortable and cozy. Thanks for the details

Unknown said...

This is very detailed. I really appreciate it that you took time to post a detailed instruction on how to make your very own roman shades. Although there are others roaming around the internet, yours is the most detailed and precise I have seen. Thank you for sharing this.
Greg Arnett

Gindy said...

This is a very precise and simple set of instructions. You took, what to me is a complicated project, and made it utterly doable. I can't wait to give this a try for my bedroom!! Thanks so much!
Karen Chronister
Pittsburgh PA

Unknown said...

Do you mind me asking how much this cost you to make? Just trying to compare some of my options. This looks amazing!

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