Second Roman Shade Finished (Plus A Tutorial!)

I got my second Roman shade made yesterday (and finished at around midnight last night!)…

DIY Tutorial:  How to make lined, fully functioning relaxed Roman shades

…so as promised, I have a tutorial for you!

Now just a warning, this is a very long, very picture-heavy tutorial. But I like to have loads of pics for this kind of tutorial because I’m a very visual learner, so I know lots of you are also. I could never simply read a written tutorial without pictures and understand something like this. It’s just not how my brain works. I need lots and lots of pictures! :)

So here goes…

Select your fabric

I wanted to touch on this, because there are certain fabrics that are easy to use, and certain fabrics that you should avoid if you’re a sewing novice.

The absolute best fabrics to use for Roman shades (especially if you’re new to sewing) are 54- to 60-inch decorator cotton fabrics.  (Do not use apparel fabric or quilting fabric!)  Decorator cotton fabrics have just enough body to them to be easy to work with, they generally lie very flat, and they won’t slip and slide around as you’re working with them.  They’re thick enough to be easy to work with, but not so thick that they won’t drape beautifully and give you that relaxed look on the finished shade.

Thicker fabrics such as canvas and duck cloth make absolutely beautiful shades as well, and are also very easy to work.  Just keep in mind that the thicker the fabric, the more rigid it will be, so you’ll lose some of that pretty relaxed look on the shade.

Linens also make beautiful shades, but they are a bit more difficult to work with since they’re thinner than decorator cotton fabrics.  If you have some experience sewing with linen, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Silks and silky polyester fabrics also make gorgeous relaxed Roman shades.  However, if you’re new to sewing or have no experience with those types of fabrics, I would very strongly recommend avoiding them for this project.

Determine the finished measurements of your Roman shade

I wanted an outside mount Roman shade, so I measured the width of my window (including trim) and added five inches to give me 2.5 inches overlap on each side of my window.

Next I determined how high I wanted my Roman shade to hang, and I measured from that point down to my window sill.

That gave me my finished measurements (i.e., the size the shade would be when it’s complete) of 46″ wide by 72″ high.

If you are making an inside mount Roman shade, you’ll obviously need to measure the inside of your window (inside the trim).  For the width, be sure to allow for a small amount of clearance on each side.  For example, if the width of the window is 35 inches, you might want a finished width of 34.5 inches.

Cut your fabric

Take your finished length that you just determined, and add 10 inches to that number.  That is the length of fabric that you need to cut.

My finished length was 72 inches, so I cut my fabric 82 inches long.  You will also need a piece of drapery lining cut to the same length.  I use blackout lining for my Roman shades.

TIP:  If you’re sewing more than one shade for a room out of the same fabric, and you’re using a fabric that has a pattern repeat on it, be very sure that you match your repeats on every shade.  This will give your shades a professional look, rather than a random look that you get with off-the-shelf products.  You’ll notice on my shades how the pattern repeats line up the same on both shades.  You can use these instructions for figuring how much yardage of fabric you’ll need if you’re matching patterns.

Now spread your fabric out on your work surface.  (I just use the floor.)

One one edge of your fabric, trim off the selvage.  If it’s not plainly obvious by the pattern, be sure to note which direction is “up” on the fabric (it’s generally marked on the selvage), and mark the top with a pin if necessary so you’ll remember once the selvage is gone.

relaxed roman shade - 1

Now take your finished width and add six inches.  This will give you the width that you need to cut.

My finished width was 46 inches, so I cut my fabric to 52 inches wide.  (I basically needed to cut off the selvage, plus an additional inch of fabric to obtain the correct width.)

relaxed roman shade - 2

TIP: If your shade is wider than a single width of fabric, it is perfectly fine to sew two widths of fabric together.

HOWEVER…do not ever sew them in such a way that you have a seam right down the middle of your shade. Instead, you want to use one full width of fabric centered in the middle of the shade, and then take your second width of fabric, cut it in half lengthwise, and sew one piece on each side of the full width of fabric.  And of course, you’ll need to match the patterns on your fabric if you’re using a patterned fabric, so be sure to determine where you need to cut the second width of fabric in order to make that happen.

Fold and press the sides

Working on either the left or the right side of the fabric, fold the fabric over 1.5 inches and pin.  Do this the entire length of the fabric and then use your iron to press in the crease.

relaxed roman shade - 5

Now fold that edge over another 1.5 inches, pin and press.

relaxed roman shade - 6

Repeat that process on the other side of the fabric.

Add the lining

With both sides pinned and pressed, place the fabric face down on your work surface.

relaxed roman shade - 7

Now remove the pins from one edge of your fabric.  Take your lining, and tuck it under the fold all along one edge.  The bottom of the lining should be four inches from the bottom edge of the fabric.  Be sure that the lining goes all the way to the side edge along the pressed crease.

relaxed roman shade - 8

Pin the lining and fabric together along the edge.

relaxed roman shade - 9

TIP:  If you’re using blackout lining, you’ll notice that one side has a fabric feel to it, while the other side has a slightly rubbery feel to it.  The fabric side goes up, and is what will show on the back side of your finished shade.  The rubbery side goes inside, and won’t be seen on the finished shade.

Now smooth the lining out on the fabric.  Along the other edge, you’ll see that the lining is too wide and overlaps the fabric.

relaxed roman shade - 10

Simply trim off the excess, and tuck the lining under the folded edge of the fabric just like you did on the other side.  Be sure that the lining is four inches above the bottom edge of the fabric.  Pin in place all along the edge.

relaxed roman shade - 11

Now measure from the bottom edge of the fabric, and put pins to mark 10 inches and 10.75 inches.  You will sew along these lines to form a pocket for the support rod which will be added after you install the Roman shade.

relaxed roman shade - 13

Sew the lining to the fabric

You have three choices for how to achieve this.

Option 1:

The best method is to use a blind hem stitch setting on your sewing machine.  Because all machines are slightly different (or in some cases, very different), I’m not going to go into detail, but I’ll explain how my machine does a blind hem stitch.

First, I turn the shade so that the fabric side is down and the lining is up.

relaxed roman shade - 14

Then I fold the side towards the front of the shade, leaving just a small edge sticking out.

relaxed roman shade - 15

The blind hem stitch on my sewing machine does five stitches on the right side (on the little fabric lip), and then on the sixth stitch, it reaches over to the left and grabs  just a bit of the lining.  And it repeats that all the way down.  Five stitches to the right, one stitch to the left.  Five stitches to the right, one stitch to the left.

Once it’s sewn, the stitch looks like this…

relaxed roman shade - 16

When the side edge is  flattened out again, it looks like this…

relaxed roman shade - 17

And on the front of the shade, it looks like this…

relaxed roman shade - 18

No stitch in sight.  The crease is there simply because it was folded (and I’m using cotton), but it can be ironed out.

TIP:  Be sure that you don’t stitch right over the area where you marked for the support rod pocket.

Now repeat that process on the other side of the shade.

Option 2:

Probably the least desirable option would be to top stitch, sewing straight through all of the layers of fabric.  This stitch will be visible on the front finished side of the shade.  This is generally how ready-made, mass-produced shades and curtains are done, which is why this is the least desirable method.  If you’re going to go to the trouble of making custom window treatments, you don’t want them to look mass-produced.

However, if you do choose this method, just be very certain that you either (1) use a thread color that matches your fabric exactly, or (2) use transparent nylon thread.  That will minimize the appearance of the stitching along the edge of your shade.

Option 3:

Hand stitch the whole thing along the back edge, being certain that you don’t catch the face fabric in your stitching.

This option seems insane to me (it’s so incredibly time-consuming!!), but I’ve known people who do this.  In fact, I once came across a website for a very high end drapery workroom, and they boasted that all of their draperies and window treatments were hand stitched, and were not sewn on machines.  Crazy.

Believe me, it would be well worth your time to find your sewing machine owner’s manual, and learn how to do a blind hem stitch on your machine.  :)

Hem the bottom edge of the shade

Along the bottom edge of the shade, you should have four inches of fabric sticking out past the lining.

Fold that fabric up two inches, pin and press.

relaxed roman shade - 19

Then fold up another two inches.  Pin and press.

Stitch the hem using a blind hem stitch.

TIP:  Before you sew the hem into the shade, you’ll want to decide how you want to finish the corners so that you can press the corners before sewing the hem.  Either method will require hand stitching on the corners, which will be done after you sew in the hem.  But the pressing and pinning of the corners (and trimming, if needed) will need to be done before you sew in the hem.

To get a finished look on the corners, you can do one of two things.

Option 1:

Unfold the fabric on the corner completely…

relaxed roman shade - 20

…and fold the corner up at an angle along the bottom edge of the lining.

relaxed roman shade - 21

Now refold the fabric along the pressed creases, and you’ll have an angled corner.

relaxed roman shade - 22

If we had turned the bottom edge up 1.5 inches and then another 1.5 inches, just like the sides, this method would create a perfectly mitered corner.  But I like to use 2-inch folds along the bottom (just a personal preference), so this method won’t produce a perfectly mitered corner.

This method also tends to create a bit of bulk, which is why I generally prefer option 2.

Option 2:

You’ll notice that when the corner is folded, you might have a bit of extra fabric sticking out.

relaxed roman shade - 23

So just unfold the fabric, carefully trim off some of the bulk, along with the edge that’s sticking out…

relaxed roman shade - 24

Then refold the fabric along the pressed creases, and hand stitch the side completely closed.

relaxed roman shade - 25

When hand-stitching this part, when you get to the area where there are still three layers of fabric, only grab the two outside layers of fabric with your needle, forcing that middle layer to be fully enclosed.  You only want to stitch right along the very edge of the fabric.

Sew on the rings

Place the shade flat on your work surface with the fabric side down.

Using a tape measure, measure up from the bottom edge six inches, and place a mark four inches from the side edge.  That marks where your bottom ring will go.  From that mark, measure up and place a mark every eight inches (four inches from the side edge).

relaxed roman shade - 26

I personally use a pen (in this case, a metallic Sharpie marker) to place my marks since the dots will be completely covered with rings and thread.  However, if you’re uncomfortable doing that, you can use a disappearing ink pen, or just use straight pins to mark where your rings will go.

The absolute easiest way to attach rings is with your sewing machine using a zigzag stitch.  Be sure that the stitch length is set to “0″ (meaning that the foot won’t move the fabric forward at all — it’ll just stay right in one place).  And be sure that the stitch width is set just wide enough so that the needle clears the ring on each side.

Making sure that the fabric and lining are lined up perfectly straight and flat, slide the edge under the foot and center the mark perfectly under your machine foot.

relaxed roman shade - 27

Now lift the foot, slide a ring under the foot, and lower the foot again.

relaxed roman shade - 28

Now do several stitches to secure the ring.

TIP:  On the first stitch on each ring, you might want to manually turn the wheel on your machine to be sure that the needle clears the ring on each side, and then use the foot pedal to make the rest of the stitches.  This will minimize the chances of the needle hitting the ring and breaking your needle.  And there’s nothing more frustrating than getting almost finished with a project and breaking a machine needle!!

When all of the rings are sewn on, trim off any excess thread.

Measure and mark the finished length

Place the shade flat on your work surface with the fabric side up.  Measuring from the bottom of the shade, mark (with straight pins!) the finished length of your shade.  (I placed a dashed line to demonstrate where I placed my straight pins.)

relaxed roman shade - 29

Now fold the shade along that line and press the fold using your iron.

relaxed roman shade - 30

Prepare the mounting board

Cut a 1″ x 2″ piece of wood to the width of your shade.

NOTE:  Any professional would take the time to cover the board with paint, stain, or fabric.  The choice would be determined by the room, the wall, the window, etc., but covering in fabric is the most common choice.)  I was anxious to get my shades finished and installed, so I didn’t take the time to do any of those three things.  Shame on me.  :)  I’ll fix it eventually, and I’ll probably end up painting the ends of my boards the wall color.

When making outside mount shades, I place the mounting board with the 2-inch side flat against the wall unless I need it to stick out more in order to clear decorative trim or something like that.  In most situations, attaching the flat side of the board to the wall will work perfectly.

To mount the board to the wall, simply place screws through the board into the wall.  To make installation easy, I always pre-drill the holes for my mounting screws, and I place them about eight inches from the edge.  Very long Roman shades may require additional screws towards the center of the mounting board..

relaxed roman shade - 31

If you have an outside mount shade that needs additional clearance, you will need to install it with the 1″ edge of the wood against the wall, and you secure these to the wall using small “L” brackets.

If you’re making an inside mount shade, you’ll install it with the 2-inch side of the board against the top return on your window casing, and you’ll screw it to the window return with screws right through the board and into the window return.

You’ll also need to attach the hardware for your cord to the mounting board.

I highly recommend purchasing actual cord pulleys and a cord stop for each shade.  These will make raising and lowering your shade as easy as any store-bought shade or blind.

roman shade cord lock roman shade cord pully

I ordered mine from Drapery DIY, but they haven’t arrived yet. So in the meantime, I’m using eye screws. Many people use eye screws in place of the pulleys and cord locks, but if you’re going to be raising and lowering the shade regularly, I wouldn’t recommend this. The repeated friction of the cord against the metal will weaken the cord over time.

But for now, I added two eye screws, placed four inches from the edge of my board (to be in line with the two rows of rings on the shades). You’ll notice that I placed them on the thin 1-inch edge of the board. This is because the 2-inch side will be flat against the wall, so you want the rings (or pulleys and cord lock) to be on the bottom side of the mounting board.

relaxed roman shade - 32

If you’re mounting your shade the other way (either an inside mount or an outside mount using “L” brackets), you’ll want to make adjustments and place the eye screws or pulleys and cord lock on the 2-inch side of the board.

Attach the shade to the mounting board

Now unpin and unfold the fabric at the top.  Line up the top front corner of the board (the one against your work surface) with the ironed-in crease of the fabric.  Then use a staple gun to attach the fabric to the board and trim off the excess fabric.

relaxed roman shade - 34

Add the cord to the shade

To add the cord, you’ll want to cut two lengths of cord.  Remember that it needs to be long enough to go up the length of the shade, through the eye screw or pulley, across the mounting board, through the eye screw or pulley on the other side, through the cord lock (or third eye screw), and down the other side of the shade.

relaxed roman shade - 39

To secure the cord, tie a double knot in one end of the cord.  Pull very tightly, and then trim of the excess cord.

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Now place the knot through the bottom ring on one side of the shade.

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And then tie a single knot.

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Pull tight until the single knot is resting right up against the double knot.  The double knot is what will carry the weight of the shade each time it’s raised, and as long as you pulled the double knot tightly, there’s no way this will ever come off.

relaxed roman shade - 38

Now thread the cord through the other rings, and through the pulleys and cord lock as shown here…

relaxed roman shade - 39

Install the shade

Get the shade lined up on the wall exactly where you want it, and use screws through the two pilot holes to secure it to the wall.  I have the benefit of solid wood walls behind my drywall.  If you don’t have that, then you’ll want to use wall anchors to screw into so that the shade will be secure.

relaxed roman shade - 41

Cut the support rod as close to the width of the shade as you can while still being able to insert it into the rod pockets. It will generally be about 1/2 inch narrower than the width of the shade, but you might have to make it as much as one inch narrower to fit.

I prefer to use 3/8-inch round metal rods, which you can find at Home Depot in lengths up to 48 inches. I’ve also used wood dowel rods, but the thing ones tend to droop over time, so I prefer the metal ones. If you need longer support rods, you can order them cut to length from drapery workroom supply stores online.

With the shade installed, insert the support rod into the two side pockets that you made towards the bottom of the shade.

relaxed roman shade - 40

(Obviously that picture was taken while the shade was still lying flat on the floor.  But you’ll want to wait until the shade is installed before inserting the rod so that installation is easier.)

Finish off the cords by cutting them to the appropriate length, and adding some pretty cord pulls like these to the ends…

cord pulls

(My cord pulls are on the way, along with my pulleys and cord locks.)  :)

And now, you’re shade is ready for use!  If you’ve used pulleys and cord locks, you should have a perfectly operational shade.  If you used eye hooks, you’ll need to use a cord cleat screwed into the wall or the window trim to keep the shade raised.

relaxed roman shade

That’s a lot of steps, and a lot of pictures, but the process really isn’t difficult at all.  I promise!  :)

EDIT:  I had someone ask me what the purpose of the support rod is, so I thought I’d demonstrate using pictures.  Move your mouse pointer on and off of the picture below to see the difference. (On a handheld device, you can tap the picture.)

You can see that with the support rod, the shade looks relaxed while still keeping its shape and looking tailored with clean lines. Without the support rod, it just starts to look sloppy as the fabric droops in the middle. We want gentle curves, not droops. :)

Just in case you can’t see the hover image, here is the shade with the support rod…

relaxed roman shade with support rod

And here is the shade without the support rod…

relaxed roman shade without support rod

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Comments

  1. Sue says

    I love the look and your lotus flower mirror is PERFECT between them. Thanks for the tutorial. My project this summer is to freshen our kitchen (can’t afford to redo) and make shades for our window.

  2. says

    Wow, I’ve only been gone a few days and you have gotten sooooo much done. I love how your room is coming together. It’s totally gorgeous. I love the beautiful curtains and shades and I love the Lotus Flower mirror too. Very sophisticated! Wanna come play at my house? Great job!!!

    • says

      Thanks, Sheila! I haven’t actually made the drapery panels yet. That’s still just a cut length of fabric pinned to the drapery rod. :) I’ve been trying to work fast, but I’m not THAT fast! ;)

  3. Traci says

    Where did you purchase the support rod? How do you get it to the correct width? When I’ve made shades in the past, I’ve never used a support rod. What is the advantage to using one?

    • says

      I purchased a metal 3/16-inch round metal rod at Home Depot, and then used a hack saw to cut it to the correct length. In the past, I’ve also used wood dowel rods, but I prefer the metal rods. If you need a support piece that’s longer than 48 inches (which is the longest that the Home Depot in my area carries), you can order them cut to length from drapery workroom supply stores online.

      The purpose of the support rod is to help the shade keep its shape when it’s open. I added a “with” and “without” picture to the end of the post so that you can see the difference it makes.

      • Lisa E says

        Hi Kristi. Sorry to bug you, but I just wanted to get clarification. You mention 3/16″ rod here, yet in the body of the post it says 3/8″. My friend and I are tackling these tonight and want to get the correct size. My assumption would be 3/16″ but want to be sure.

  4. says

    Your room is beautiful!! You are the quintessential DIY decorator! Thank you for the excellent tutorial.

    Question. Do you wash your fabric before starting?

    • says

      No, I never, ever, ever wash the fabric before making valances, draperies, or Roman shades. It changes the texture of the fabric once washed. If I need the window treatments cleaned, I actually take them to the dry cleaner. It’s so nice because they come back so perfectly pressed and ready to hang.

      I will wash fabric beforehand if I’m making pillow covers if I’m going to make them with a zipper so that they can be removed and washed.

      • says

        Rebecca, I would have washed my fabric, too, because I was always taught to do that when sewing. Kristi, does the fabric have sizing in it that is removed by washing? I’m curious if the dry cleaners add starch or sizing back into the fabric when these types of window coverings are dry-cleaned?

        • says

          I’m actually not sure about that. I just know that they look so pretty and perfect from the cleaners, whereas if you wash them, no only will the fabric shrink and fade, but you have to do a ton of ironing to get them looking nice again.

          Just be aware that certain fabrics are specifically marked “do not dry clean.” I know that most Premier Fabrics fabric that I’ve ordered says specifically not to dry clean.

          • iadoregon says

            Yes, the drapery fabrics that have a “sheen” to them have a special finish on them that make them have that texture and look to them. If you wash the fabric, it will wash away that finish and it will look like regular stiff cotton and not at all what it was intended to look like. (I’ve worked in a fabric store for years btw.) If you want to know more about the finish, check out this link.
            http://www.doityourself.com/stry/formaldehydeupdate#b

  5. says

    Your Living Room is really looking Gorgeous, love the fabric, love the paint color and love what you have done the end table. Everything is so complimentary to the whole.

  6. Kathy says

    Beautiful tutorial! I don’t usually make comments but I love your blog and your projects! I also wanted you to know that I appreciate you having non-Christmas subjects for your blog this time of year. Other bloggers are showing Christmas projects every day! I mean, I love Christmas too, but it is stressful to be reminded that maybe we should be doing more. Thanks again, and keep up the good work.

    • says

      Matt and I actually don’t celebrate Christmas, so my blog will forever and always offer a respite from the thousands and thousands of endless Christmas posts in blogland during this time of year. :) Even if we did celebrate Christmas, I still probably wouldn’t post endlessly about Christmas decorating. It’s just all anyone seems to post about this time of year, and I know that seasonal/holiday decorating isn’t why people visit my blog. :)

  7. Brenda Pawloski says

    Love, love, love love love! If I hang them high enough, do you think I can use these over a window with a plantation shutter? Maybe if they can be drawn up high enough to clear the shutters (which I never open but things don’t look good if it won’t function). Beautiful pattern, color texture without the fullness of drapes. And it’s not a valance! Valances will probably always look outdated to me because I made so many of them in the 80′s.

    • says

      If you don’t open them often, then I think it could work. Just have the Roman shade cover the very top portion, just enough so that it doesn’t look like it’s floating over the window, but actually looks like it’s a part of the window treatment.

  8. Dee says

    I think your paint selection is perfect with your window treatments! Thanks for the detailed tutorial, too. I’m glad you were able to make a decision on the window treatment design and know that you know that you made the right choice. Lovely, as always!

  9. Susan M. says

    Awesome tute! Love the tennis shoes hanging out on the floor sans ten little piggies … I know, a girl’s gotta be comfy if she’s going to get the job done!

  10. says

    Your shades are beautiful, Kristi. Thank you for a great tutorial- I have read directions for shades before and gave up before even trying. All the extra pics really help. I’ll be pinning this for future reference.

  11. rebecca says

    great tutorial, a week too late for me, i just finished some faux relaxed romans and made it up as i went. i also chose to mix up my window treatments with pinch pleated drapes on two windows and the windows in between with the romans.by the way, love the colours of the room too. you have great taste, can’t wait for your next project.

  12. says

    Great tutorial. I am an experienced sewer but home dec sewing can be a pretty intimating for me. I had always washed my fabric. Now I know. Do you always cut off the selvege? I am looking forward to drapery instructions too. Thanks.

    • says

      I actually do always cut off the selvage UNLESS it’s needed for matching patterns on double-width draperies. Otherwise, I cut it off. The main reason I do that is because the selvage generally has some sort of different weaving/stitching right along the edge, or it’ll have holes punched through it randomly. Any little thing like that that’s different from the actual fabric can cause it to pull just a bit. And unfortunately, it generally won’t be noticeable until you go to hang your draperies, and see that the edges are raised off the floor 1/2 inch or an inch, while the middle sits right at the floor. And you can’t get it to straight out and hang level no matter how much you pull, stretch, iron, etc. After dealing with that aggravation several times, I finally read somewhere that it’s because I was leaving the selvage on, and that causes the sides to pull up slightly. Once I started cutting it off, I had much better success at getting the hem to be perfectly straight on the floor.

      And of course, these aren’t draperies, but the same concept applies. :)

  13. Caroline says

    So I am sure that this sounds so stupid, but when doing a blind hem, is (in your case) the sixth stitch going through the decor fabric at all? Or is it just grabbing the lining? What about if you do lining AND interlining? For some reason, i suck terribly at blind hems. I have probably practiced on a mile of fabric so any pointers would be helpful. I have youtubed it, googled it and everything, but for some reason, I can’t get it to grab the lining, it misses and I basically have a jagged stitch all the way down that serves no function. HELP!

    • says

      It’s generally just grabbing the lining, but it’s okay if it grabs the fabric as well. Since the stitches are so spread out, and I’m using cotton fabric, it won’t really show if a few of the stitches make it through to the fabric.

      It sounds to me like you’re setting your stitch too narrow. You might try to widen the stitch just a bit (there should be a setting to make it wider), and don’t worry too much about whether it’s grabbing just the lining. Just get a feel for it reaching over and grabbing that lining (and possibly the fabric) every so often, and once you get used to that, you can adjust the width of the stitch as needed.

  14. Lisa E says

    Thanx for the photo heavy tut as I am a total visual learner as well. Need both words and photos. Definitely want to tackle this in my kitchen, but I might just take the safe route and have my friend help me who can sew because I am a total novice. Looks beautiful Kristi, great work once again! You really have such a gift, I can’t say that enough!

  15. Linda Southworth says

    I think the results are fantastic! The high and wide mounting over the windows adds just the right amount of depth. I was afraid it would look too flat next to your big window of curtains but just beautiful! Yep, going to make these babies for a bedroom. Thank you so much for taking such detailed pictures and directions. Now onto the next project!

  16. Nancy says

    The shades are beautiful and well made. I loved your tutorial and that you listed where items can be found if not available locally. Thanks Kristi for continually inspiring me to take it up a notch.

  17. says

    Another visual learner! Thanks loads for the picture heavy tutorial! The room is coming together beautifully. I just love coming here each week to see how you have progressed! This has become a favorite blog for me because it is picture heavy and actually shows someone how it’s done and then the finished project! I am starting to think I just might be able to do this too! DIY my house that is, not blog (too many run on sentences)! LOL!

  18. Deb says

    Just beautiful! The shades, the mirror and all of it looks amazing! Thanks for taking the time to share such detailed steps to making the roman shades and the mirror. You should be so proud of all that talent!

  19. Kim Cook says

    Excellent Tutorial! I have never made these, but I believe I can with your instructions. Thank you for being so thorough and for including detailed pictures.

  20. Darnell Baker says

    Love the shades and the look. Now that the shades are up and larger and taller than the windows, might I suggest moving the mirror between them up a little higher so the bottom of the mirror lines up with the bottom of the shades so its more centered between the ceiling and the wainscoting on the wall. Its current placement draws the eye down a little too much I think and the shades are so wonderful. I love the color choices for fabric and paint in the room. I look forward to seeing this room progress. Your work is an inspiration!

    • Gilmer Gal says

      Glad I read the comments before I posted. On board with centering mirror. If it doesn’t work, I’ll take it off your hands! Looks really good, Kristi. I will be using your tutorial on a shade for my “water closet.” It’s a small window, and if all goes good with that, will make some for my husband’s sleeping room.

  21. says

    I think the mirror needs to come up…Centering, since proportionally, it’s equal in the space. The mirror is perfect for the space! The shades look Great!

  22. Susan Clark says

    Thank you so much, Kristi! I know it’s so time-consuming to take pics while working on your projects, and then to put it all together in such a clear, concise and understandable tutorial! You make me feel confident that I can take on any task myself and end up with a project I’ll be proud of and not waste the money spent on the materials! Everything is looking so great!

  23. says

    Beautiful job Kristi. They turned out fantastic and what a great tutorial. Very clear. I have never used the blind stitch on my machine! Can you believe that? I’ve been sewing for, well a lot of years, and I can’t believe I’ve never used it. I will have to give it a try. The pics on that part were amazing and it definitely made it clearer in my mind as to how it should look.

    • says

      I can certainly believe it! :) I’ve been sewing since high school, and it wasn’t until about four years ago that I learned how to use a blind hem stitch. I was so confused at first. Couldn’t figure out which way to fold the fabric, or where the actual stitch was supposed to go. :-D But I finally figured it out, and it has made draperies and other window treatments so much easier!! And of course, it gives such a nice, professional finished result.

  24. andrea says

    kristi, it is amazing what you have accomplished in such a small time frame! it took me three years to pick out my livingroom paint! re: lotus mirror, it is beautiful, but everytime i see it hung in the livingroom, it looks a little low. look at your pictures, not the actual room it might change your perspective!

  25. designdreamer says

    Ditto what the first commenter said about you getting so much done so fast!!!! And around Christmas time!!!! Way to go.
    They’re looking fabulous. I’ve been thinking about doing Roman shades in my master bath (over my (faux- grrrrr didn’t know when it was presented by the builder as an “upgrade” that they were acrylic? def NOT glass!) glass block windows. I was going to do “regular” Roman shades – the more tailored ones – can’t remember the name, but now I’m considering THIS type- it would save me money on those thingies you have to put into the sewn slots – see I TOLD I’m better at apparel sewing!!! – but they’re similar to the bottom rod, but lighter. One of my windows is wider than what I can buy locally, and the shipping cost of those things is ALOT!!

    Anyway, about the ONLY thing I might have more experience in than you is sewing, but then again, MY experience is in sewing apparel, but I followed everything you demo’d here EXCEPT the part where you said to sew at the 10″ and 10.75″ marks until the very end where I saw what you meant. Hopefully, its just me. One more thing, the matching wasn’t entirely clear – I assume you were talking about having the same part of the design/fabric pattern at the same point on the window. Heaven knows, it would be hard to try to explain to a novice how to match the pattern across the width of fabric.

  26. says

    Oops! Looks like I left out a step! I’ll need to fix that. Thanks for letting me know!

    As far as matching fabric, I just meant that if you have more than one Roman shade in a room, you’ll want the pattern on the fabric to fall in the same place on each shade, rather than just cutting the pieces randomly and having the pattern fall in different places on each shade. Hope that’s a bit clearer. :)

  27. Gina Richards says

    Hi! Your shades are just lovely! I’ve made many roman shades before, but am beginning a new project and decided to brush up (I have a thicker fabric this time and am a little concerned about how it will work.) Thanks for the excellent tutorial. It really cracked me up when I saw the capiz shell light fixture on the floor in one of the pictures. I used to have two of those in my kitchen, but was certain nobody else did!

    • says

      Ha! Funny story about those lights. They hung in my mom’s formal living room for…well…at least three decades. When I redecorated her house about eight years ago, I insisted that she remove them because they were sooooo outdated. Then about a month ago, I was rummaging through her storage building, found those lights, and asked her if I could have them. :-D She gave me the hardest time about it (jokingly, of course), because I had made her get rid of them, and now I was wanting them. I’m not sure if I’ll use them, but there’s something about them that I do actually like now. It’s that cool capiz shell look with a retro vibe. :)

  28. says

    Thank you for a great blog post …and an inspiring blog. I’ve been thinking about making roman shades and starting a blog for the longest time. Your blog might well be the final push for me to just get it done. Good luck with your new home and thank you soooo much!!

    • says

      Oh sure! You can definitely hand stitch them on. I find a stationary zigzag stitch on a machine to be much faster and easier, though. I’ll do just about anything to avoid hand stitching. ;)

  29. Marcia says

    Hi Kristi, Thank you, thank you for the detailed instructions. I am thinking I will be able to follow them for the 3 single windows in my family room. My dilemma is that there are 2 double windows (one being a sliding door and the other a regular side by side double window) in the family room as well as the singles. How would you treat these doubles? Would you just follow the same instructions and make the fabric wider or put the panels side by side slipstitched together? What are your thoughts, please?

  30. iadoregon says

    Another gorgeous project well done. I love visiting your site and your wonderful tutorials. You and your work are simply amazing.

  31. Pattie says

    I found your blog yesterday looking for built-in cabinets (love yours, going to do the same thing in several rooms…we need storage BAD). Anyway, love, love, love these shades and your tutorial makes me want to dig my sewing machine out from the back of the closet and get busy!

  32. says

    I’m glad I happened onto your blog. I had some instructions on how to make a non-relaxed roman shade, but your shades look so much nicer and the instructions are great. I plan to read a lot more from your site and hope you’ll visit mine. Thanks.

  33. Nancy Castro says

    I love you. I have not had the courage to make roman shades til now and I am going to try. Thank you so much for the step by step and the pictures because I am a visual learner and that is the only way for me. Your shades are just beautiful.

  34. says

    Hi Kristi, I was wondering. I’ve chosen not to use blackout lining and just use traditional drapery lining. Is there a was to keep from seeing the shadow of the metal rod through the fabric? Or is this only achievable by using blackout lining?

  35. Marianne says

    Hi
    I also just came across your blog, thank you so much for taking the time to post all of this, what a lot of work. I am a self taught sewer going on 20+ years now. Was searching the web for a solution for the fact that my relaxed roman shades always seem to “pull in” when pulled up. I have never used the rod before but I am going to try this in my latest attempt. I will be using a white linen with a basic liner, I am making these for someone who wants the sunlight to shine through the shades for a very airy look. I think I will use a dowel and either spray paint it white or cover it with liner fabric. My question is, it appears in the photos that the soft swag appearance extends all the way to the bottom of the shade, which is beautiful, but how does the portion of the shade below the rod achieve that desired soft swag. It seems to me that that portion would be very squared off because of the rod. I hope that makes sense. Thank you

  36. Patty Kreider says

    Thanks for the concise instructions and photographs …. tackling my relaxed roman shade project for my sunroom!

  37. says

    Thank you so much for the very detailed tutorial! I’m getting ready to make these and really needed this! Also, thanks for showing the difference between the support rod and no support rod, I would have skipped that step if you hadn’t shown us. I have a question about the rings.. I bought the tape that has the rings already on it. How would you suggest I attach it to the fabric, I am also using blackout liner? Should I use stichwhich and adhere it to the fabric before sewing the liner on, I’m just not sure and I don’t want to see thread lines on the front of the shade. Any help you can send my way would be greatly appreciated!

    • says

      Hmmm…that’s actually the reason I don’t use that ring tape. I have no idea how to attach it in a way that is (1) permanent and (2) won’t show stitching from the front. I find that it’s so much easier to sew the rings on individually. That way you can stitch them (which is permanent and will last even if you have them dry cleaned) and is visible from the front only if you know the stitching is there and you look for it.

      • says

        Prior to sewing the lining but after cutting and placing into the seams:
        1- mark ring placements as instructed
        2- remove lining
        3- sew ring tape in place along marked placement lines.
        4- replace lining
        5- hand or machine tack rings as instructed in tutorial so lining and drapery are tacked properly.
        6- finish shade as instructed.

        Just my solution as to how I would handle the ring tape.
        D’Anna

  38. Nikki says

    Thanks for this tutorial! i’m really excited to try this in my office! :) i have a question about the cords – you say to cut two lengths of cords – do they both follow the path you described – up one side, across the mounting board, and down the other side? thanks! :)

  39. Rose L says

    Your shades are just stunning! I was not aware we could purchase cord pulleys and cord stops so sadly I’ve already gone with the eye hook and cleat solution for my kitchen shades. When I make the shades for the other rooms in my house I’ll be checking into purchasing these special gadgets to make my shades more professional and workable! Thank you so much for that tip and for the great tutorial. I am going to use decorative rods (rod pocket stye) rather than the board at the top and will place the eye hook directly into the return of the window frame. I think that will be a great look too. I hope it works out correctly!!

  40. Pam says

    I am making an inside mount shade so where would you place the cord lock and pulley? Do you use two pulleys per shade?

    • says

      You use as many pulleys as you have cords. So if you’re using two cords (one on each side) then you would have two pulleys.

      And they would be screwed into the mounting board, but screw them onto the large flat side of the mounting board rather than the thin edge. Then the top large flat side sits flush against the top window facing, and you just screw the mounting board into the facing.

  41. Amanda says

    Beautiful shades! What if I wanted to make one large shade that had two swags so basically it would be like two relaxed shades sewn together as one. Do you think that would be overly complicated to figure out? Thanks!

  42. Jessica says

    This is a great tutorial. Most of the other tutorials I found were for “no-sew” roman shades but I’d much rather stitch mine than mess around with iron-on hem tape!
    I just wanted to get clarification on one step before I get started. I may have missed something, but when sewing on the rings, won’t those stitches be visible on the right side of the shade? Do you just match the thread well so that those stitches aren’t obvious?

    Thanks and look forward to reading more of your blog!

  43. Nancy says

    Thank you for this immensely helpful tutorial! I purchased a pattern and the sizing they recommended did not work at all. I paid a lot of money for this beautiful fabric and feel that with your help, I will be able to achieve the look that I am going for.

  44. Lisa E says

    My friend made these for my office/craft room last week and I was her helper. The fabric we used was an outdoor fabric and I used blackout liner because I got a good deal. We followed the steps and when we pulled on the cords, the shades went up like a bunched up mess. I ended up using dowels all the way up, to include in the bottom hem (she had left an opening) since that was curling in at the ends. It helped tremendously, however, obviously now it’s not a relaxed shade. I love them regardless. We are going to do it again for my kitchen, but I definitely want the relaxed look this time. Do you think it was the thickness of the liner, being a blackout liner that did it or was it a combination of that with the thickness of the fabric as well? Any feedback would be appreciated. My friend couldn’t believe she had made shades and was so proud, so thank you again for this tutorial. She makes beautiful quilts and has made curtains, but never this type of project. It’s only been a few days and I keep showing them off. :)

    • says

      It’s hard to know without seeing them in person, but I do know that sometimes you have to “train” the fabric to fold up. But relaxed Roman shades are definitely a bit more work than regular Roman shades with the dowel rods at every fold. They do require a bit of straightening each time you open them. I generally open them, and then pull the folds on the sides to get the folds in the center to straighten up. I spend about 10 seconds on it after I open the shade.

      • Lisa E says

        Thanx for the feedback. Just wish I would have known that beforehand. With the light colored fabric we are using, I would be afraid of it getting soiled eventually from the oils on our hands and continued straightening on a daily basis. We will definitely be modifying it to put pockets up the rest of the way for the rods (they are only in temporarily throught the rings right now) and will definitely plan the same for the ones we will make for the kitchen. Still love them!

  45. Amy says

    I have never made a shade like this before and the tutorial is great! The one part where I am hung up is sewing the pockets for the support rod. Do you just sew horizontal lines at the 10 and 10.75 marks across the folded edges? Does this sewing go all the way to the front of the shade? Thanks!

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