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How To Make A Fully Operational Roman Shade

*This post has been updated, and now includes the complete “how to make roman shades” tutorial. Scroll to the bottom to see the completely finished Roman shade.

Well, I’m finally almost finished with my first Roman shade. Yep…just the first one. I still have four to go. 😀

I’m very slow at sewing anyway, even when I know exactly what I’m doing. But to be quite honest, it has been years since I’ve made this style of Roman shade, and I kept getting the process mixed up in my mind with other styles and other processes, so it took me way longer than it should have. Let’s just say that my stitch ripper got a good workout on this shade. So now that I have the steps down, I should be able to do the other four much faster.

And I apologize in advance because my pictures are horrible! My camera was on a wrong setting, and I never even noticed. So I’ll be retaking all of these pictures as I do the next shade, and hopefully things will be much easier to see in the new pictures. But until then, these will have to do.

First, let me show you what I have so far. As I mentioned, it’s not quite finished, but the main part of the shade is complete. So right now, it looks like this…

how to make Roman shades - 24 - roman shade completely open

It is a fully operational Roman shade, and it opens and closes incredibly smoothly and easily. There’s no fussing with fabric folds needed because they fold up just as they should on their own. There are at least four different methods that I know of (and probably more that I don’t know of) to make this style of ribbed Roman shades, and the particular reason I chose this method is because in my experience, these open and close the easiest, with the nicest, cleanest folds that require no fussing with after their open.

So let me show you how I made these…

How To Make Roman Shades – Step By Step

I started by measuring my window height and width. I always measure in three places (left, middle, and right for the height; top, center, and bottom for the width) and then take the narrowest width and subtract 1/4 inch to get my finished width for the shade. For the height, I take the shortest measurement of the three, and subtract 1/4 to 1/2 inch to get my finished height. (Note: You can make your shades the full height, or even add 1/2 inch or so. But since mine are white, and my cat likes to get on the window sills and sometimes gets them dirty, I didn’t want my white shades touching the window sills.)

With my finished shade height and width, I was ready to cut out the lining and face fabric. I cut the window lining to the exact finished width, and the face fabric to the finished width plus six inches.

how to make Roman shades - 1 - cut lining and face fabric

For the height of both, I cut them to the finished height plus about 14 inches. You basically need to take your finished height, add 3 inches for the bottom hem, 3 inches for the top hem, and one inch for each spine that will be inserted into the shade. I like to space the spines about 8 inches apart. So the number of inches you allow for the spines will depend on how tall your window is.

Next, I placed the face fabric and the lining with the right sides together, and I sewed the sides with a 1.5″ seam. Then I placed the sewn pieces on my table, centered the lining with the face fabric (still with right sides together), and pinned the lining and fabric together along the bottom edge. On the sides, the lining should go right to the folded edges of the fabric. (Remember, the fabric was cut wider than the lining, so the seams won’t be right on the edges.)

how to make Roman shades - 2 - center lining on face fabric, pin and sew along bottom edge

With everything centered and the bottom pinned, I sewed the bottom together with a 5/8″ seam.

how to make Roman shades - 3 - turn the lining and face fabic right side out and straighten seams

And then I turned the whole thing right side out. It was like turning a huge pillow case or very small duvet cover right side out. And then, I started smoothing everything out, getting the lining to lie flat with the fabric.

It took some patience, but I just kept working with it until it was all smoothed out, and I pinned the fabrics together as I went.

how to make Roman shades - 4 - pin the side and bottom seams into place, then steam iron them flat

Then I used my steam iron to iron in all of the folds and seams.

Along the bottom edge, I turned up a 1.5″ hem and pinned it into place.

how to make Roman shades - 5 - turn up bottom hem and sew with blind hem stitch

And then along the edges, I marked my spacing for the Roman shade spines. I placed my first pin five inches from the bottom edge of the shade, and then placed the rest of the pins 9″ apart.

how to make Roman shades - 6 - mark spacing for Roman shade ribs

And then I used those marks to pin in folds all the way across the shade. I measured very carefully all the way across to be sure that the folds were being pinned as straight and square as possible.

how to make Roman shades - 7 - pin folds for ribs all the way across

And then it was time to sew in everything I had pinned. I started by sewing the bottom hem with a blind hem stitch. Along the sides, I sewed the bottom half together, while leaving the top half of the edge open. This opening will allow a weighted rod to be inserted before installation, but it can also be removed if I want to have the shade dry cleaned.

how to make Roman shades - 8 - sew bottom hem in place

And then along all of the folds that I pinned in for the ribs, I sewed those folds 1/2″ from the folded edge.

With all of the folds sewn and pressed, the front of the shade looked like this…

how to make Roman shades -9 - sew in pockets for Roman shade ribs

…and the back of the shade looked like this…

how to make Roman shades -10 - rib pockets on the back of the Roman shade

Those little pockets are where the 1/4″ diameter ribs (or in my case, oak dowel rods) will be inserted.

Note: My experience has been that smaller shades like this one (up to about 36 inches wide) are fine with wood dowel rods. I do recommend using oak since it’s stronger, and you can find them at Home Depot. For larger shades, I do recommend purchasing the plastic spines that are specifically for Roman shades. You can find those online.

Next, with the shade placed flat on the table, I measured from the bottom to mark my finished height, and placed a pin to mark that measurement. Then I measured from the top rib pocket to the pin I just placed, and used that measurement to mark the finished height all the way across the shade.

how to make Roman shades -11 - measure and mark finished lengt of shade

I folded the fabric along the pins, repinned the folded fabric, and pressed the fold in place. Then I measured out two inches on the folded fabric and cut off the excess.

how to make Roman shades -12 - fold and iron top hem, cut off excess fabric

Then I unpinned the fold, and refolded it with a double fold to hide the cut edge of the fabric.

how to make Roman shades -13 - refold top hem

And this is where I messed up big the first time. 🙂

Next, I sewed on the hook and loop tape. Tip: Always use the soft half of the hook and loop tape on your fabric, and put the scratchy half on your mounting board. That way, if you decide to take the shade down and have it cleaned, you won’t ever risk having that scratchy side touch your fabric. And that scratchy side can snag some fabrics quite easily. Ask me how I know. 🙁

Anyway, this is very important. The tape gets sewn to the front of the shade. Not the back. The front. As in, directly on top of the face fabric. I did it wrong the first time, and had to rip it out.

how to make Roman shades -14 - sew hook and loop tape to top edge

Next, I inserted the spines (i.e., 1/4″ dowel rods) into the spine pockets.

how to make Roman shades -15 - insert spines into spine pocket

And then on each spine pocket, I measured for placement of the rings, and sewed those in place by hand. I like my rings to be about 4 inches from the edge of the shade on a shade this size (34 inches wide), and each spine only required two rings – one on each side. A small shade like this doesn’t require a ring/cord in the center.

how to make Roman shades -16 - sew Roman shade rings on by hand

With all of the rings attached, the final sewing step was to add a button hole at the top of the shade for each cord. I placed my button holes four inches from the edge of the shade (in line with the rings I just sewed on), and about 2.5″ from the top of the shade. Again, since I only had two cords, I only needed two button holes.

how to make Roman shades -19 - add a buttom hole or grommet at the top of each row of cording

Note: Grommets can also be used in place of button holes.

With the shade finished, I just needed to prepare my mounting board. I used a 1″ x 2″ piece of lumber cut to the finished width of my shade. I drilled two holes for the mounting screws, and then attached two cord pulleys and one cord lock. I just made sure that the cord pulleys were in line with the cords on the shade (i.e., four inches from the edge).

how to make Roman shades -17 - assemble mounting board for shade

And then on the back side of the mounting board, I attached the other half (the scratchy half) of the hook and loop tape.

how to make Roman shades -18 - staple other half of hook and loop tape to the back of the mounting board

And the final steps needed before installation were inserting the weighted metal rod into the very bottom hem of the shade, and stringing the shade cord through the rings. The cord gets knotted around the very bottom rings, and then fed up through the other rings and through the button holes to the front of the shade at the top.

how to make Roman shades - 20 - add bottom metal rod and shade cord

I attached the mounting board using 3″ wood screws directly into the top casing of the window.

how to make Roman shades - 21 - install mounting board

You’ll notice that I installed mine so that the pull cord for the shade is on the right side. I did this very intentionally. Since these shades will be drawn and closed every single day, I didn’t want the pull cord to be the on the left side hiding under the drapery panel because my arms and/or hands twice-daily brushing up against the drapery panel will get the panel dirty after a while, especially with white fabric. So I put it on the other side specifically so that it would be free and clear of the drapery panel to allow for the easiest operation possible.

And here you can see a close up of how the cord runs up the back of the shade, through the button hole at the top, and through the cord pulley.

how to make Roman shades - 22 - close up of cord and pully

And here’s a look at both cords. The left cord goes through the button hole, around the left cord pulley, through the right cord pulley, and through the cord lock. The right cord goes through the button hole, around the right cord pulley, and through the cord lock.

how to make Roman shades - 23 - full view of cords, pulleys and cord lock

And just like any other shade, pulling both cords evenly opens the shade perfectly, and the cord lock locks the cords into place.

how to make Roman shades - 24 - roman shade completely open

Now just one word of caution: When sewing the rib pockets into place, be sure that you sew completely to the edge. Don’t stop short at all. You can see that I stopped short on two of these pockets, and it leaves unsightly little gaps that I’ll now have to go back and sew closed by hand. I could have avoided the extra work had I been paying more attention when sewing those rib pockets.

how to make Roman shades - 25 - sew rib pockets all the way to the edge

And here’s the shade closed. Of course, the only time I’ll close these is at night right before I go to bed. Other than that, I’ll want the shades open.

how to make Roman shades - 26 - Roman shade completely closed

Things are looking a big disheveled at the moment, so it’ll all look better when it’s finished. The drapery panel spent a few days folded up in the window sill, so I now need to steam out those harsh creases. And the Roman shade needs its final ironing with a steam iron to get all of the wrinkles out.

And of course, the final step with the shade will be creating a very small valance that attached to the front of the mounting board to cover the board completely.

how to make Roman shades - 27 - Roman shade in open position

I know some of you are probably wondering why I opted to attach the shade to the back of the board, which now requires a small valance to cover the board, rather than just attaching the shade to the front of the board and avoiding the valance and button hole thing altogether. Right? I’ll explain.

The reason is because when you’re dealing with an inside mount Roman shade that has spines, it’s a real hassle to have to reach behind the shade, even if it’s just an inch, to grab the pull cord. And then pulling the shade up, and having the shade open properly with beautiful folds perfectly in place, almost never works since it’s hitting your arm or hand from having to reach behind and pull the cords. So for an inside mount, it allows for much smoother, easier, hassle-free operation if the cords are on the front of the shade rather than the back.

This is much less of an issue if (1) the shade is mostly decorative, and will probably always be open and seldom, if ever, closed, or (2) the shade is an outside mount and you can easily reach your hand or fingers behind the edge of the shade to grab the cords. In both of those cases, you can bypass the button holes (or grommets) and small valance, and just mount the top of the shade to the front of the mounting board and keep the cords on the back of the shade. It’s totally up to you, and just depends on the look you want, and the type of mounting and ease of operation you want.

Mine will be used every single day, so I needed things as easy and hassle-free as possible. 🙂


I finished the Roman shade, and decided to just add the photos to this post rather than put them in a new post. So here’s how I made the little valance to cover up the mounting board and hardware on the shade:

I started by cutting a piece of face fabric and lining that were the exact widths that I used on the actual shade. (Scroll up to the top to review how to figure the widths needed.)

how to make Roman shades -36 - cut lining and face fabric for valance

And just like on the shade, I sewed the lining and face fabric together along the sides, and along the bottom edge. Then I flipped the valance right-side-out and pressed all of the seams with a steam iron. At that point, this is what it looked like on the front…

how to make Roman shades -37 - sew lining and face fabric together for valance

And this is what it looked like on the back side…

how to make Roman shades -38 - sew lining and face fabric together for valance

Along the bottom edge, I turned up a hem 1.5 inches, and sewed it in place using a blind hem stitch. This, again, was the same process that I used on the shade.

how to make Roman shades -39 - hem the bottom edge

Then I flipped the valance to the front, and measured from the bottom  four inches all the way across, which is how tall I wanted the valance. After marking all the way across with pins, I folded the valance and ironed the fold in place.

how to make Roman shades -41 - measure length of valance and iron in crease

The I flipped the valance over face down, and pinned the soft side of hook and loop tape right along the fold. Then I sewed the tape onto the valance.

how to make Roman shades -42 - pin and sew hook and loop tape to the top of valance

I finished by adding a zigzag stitch all the way across the top of the valance just above the hook and loop tape…

how to make Roman shades - 43 - zigzag stitch at top of valance

…and then cutting off the excess fabric and lining…

how to make Roman shades - 44 - finished valance

And that’s it! To install the valance, I removed the shade from the window (yes, this all could have been done before installing the shade in the first place 😀 ), added the other half (the rough side) of the hook and loop tape to the top front edge of the mounting board with my staple gun, and then I attached the valance so that the ironed-in fold of the valance was perfectly lined up against the top edge of the mounting board. Then I screwed the mounting board back in place, so that the part of the valance with the hook and loop tape was sandwiched between the mounting board and the top window jamb.

how to make Roman shades -44 - finished Roman shade

And the final finishing step was to cut off the excess pull cords and add decorative pulls to the ends.

how to make Roman shades -33 - finished Roman shade with valance - partially open - full length view

And that’s it! It sounds like a really detailed and involved process, but there’s nothing particularly difficult about it. The most important thing is to measure everything accurately so that the shade hangs straight and square in the window.

Also, if you have small children in the house, always be aware of your cords! You’ll need to be careful with any hanging cords around kiddos. Just be sure that all cords are out of the way and up high enough so that children can’t reach them and get tangled in them.

How To Make A Fully Functional Roman Shade

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  1. These look great! The last time I made Roman blinds I incorrectly measured the placement of my ribs and they were so terribly crooked – ug! I will definitely use this tutorial the next time I make Roman blinds.

  2. Why is the hardware exposed at the top of the window? Usually roman shade is mounted to come over the front of the mounting board to hide the hardware.

      1. I apologize. Having made many romans I guess I was most focused on the pictures. Maybe more pictures with the finished valances? They really do look wonderful. Great work!

  3. Great tutorial as always Kristi. Has been years since I made this type of shade but do love them. You do such nice work.

  4. As always I’m in awe of your attention to detail. The roman blind looks great and it’s the perfect compliment to your drapes. Now you’ve tackled one, the rest will be easier. Great job Kristi.

  5. As a window treatment professional this post makes me cringe. There are guidelines in place for Roman shades. They are specified by the cpsc for child safety. Your shade is not compliant in many ways. Please do not encourage people to make shades that could very easily be a hazard in their homes! The rings are too far apart. A loop could be created to allow a child’s head to fit. The long cord is non compliant. The cord lock…PLEASE if you are wanting to make your own Roman shades please do them correctly and safely!

    1. Man, chill. Who would even suspect that her tutorial would be compliant, she’s an individual not a manufacturer, and she has no children. One would imagine if you had young children and a concern you could maybe find those type of instructions on line. Amazingly my own children have lived into adulthood without those precautions having been in place and being subjected to a life surrounded by non-compliant cords and mini-blinds and such. How nice that there are now precautions.

    2. Perhaps instead of cringing and criticizing, you could offer actual helpful and specific information.
      For the record, these shades are made pretty much exactly like the woven Roman shades that I bought from Home Depot, complete with cord lock and all. (And are you seriously saying that cord locks are now somehow against regulation? Because I looked at shades the other day, and at least half of them had cord locks, so perhaps the window covering manufacturers haven’t gotten the memo.) The only difference between mine and the ones I bought from Home Depot is that my rings are eight inches apart, and theirs are 7.5 inches apart. Is that half inch the difference between life and death? If so, let me know, and I’ll certainly put a disclaimer in my post!
      I don’t see how the cords on the back, even with my dangerous 8-inch spacing, can cause a problem at all. Attaching a Roman shade to the mounting board with hook and loop tape like I did is actually a safety feature. If something or someone got caught in the cords, it would simply pull the shade off of the mounting board and to the floor. That’s actually a safety feature that mine have that the Home Depot shades don’t have. If something got caught in the Home Depot shades, they’d just hang there since they’re attached permanently.
      As far as the long cord…seriously? Do you honestly think that’s the finished look of the shades with three feet of the cord dragging the floor? You read where I said that they’re not finished yet, right? Geez.
      Most accidents with window shades occur when the shade has a continuous loop pull cord (still widely available on the market, by the way, because the standards are VOLUNTARY compliance standards), or when the pull cords have been tied together with a knot. Neither of those situations apply here.

      1. Kristi. I would LOVE to talk to you about the guidelines that are in place because it’s not your “job” to know what they are. My only reason for posting was so that people understand there ARE safety guidelines in place and if they are going to have Roman shades they should educate themselves about the guidelines and the reasons they are in place. And believe me. I AM chill! Lol. I can sleep at night and know that any shade I’ve ever made or installed or sold is safe and no family will hopefully suffer the loss of a child or a law suite because of them.

        1. Hi Connie, I do appreciate your message as I have young children and I’m not sure that safety guidelines would have occurred to me if I tried to follow Kristi’s great tutorial. However, I think your comments would have been better received overall if your tone was different less critical and more informational. Peace to all!

          1. As usual tone can not be “heard” in a typed comment. It was not my intent at all to be rude or “judgey” in any way. Peace out

        2. I don’t want to have a conversation with you about the guidelines. I’m perfectly fine having death shades in my house.
          What I want you to do is outline “many ways” that my Roman shade isn’t compliant with the VOLUNTARY standards set out by the CPSC, and explain to my readers how they need to correct it in order to avoid having death shades in their homes.
          You said that the eight-inch spacing for my rings is too far apart. Fine. Tell us what the correct spacing is.
          You said that the cord isn’t compliant (which should be obvious since it’s not finished and is currently dragging the floor). So tell us what the correct length is.
          You insinuate that there’s something wrong with using a cord lock, even though half of the shades and blinds at Home Depot have cord locks. Whatever. Please tell us what the new, safe alternative to a cord lock is, and where we can purchase this new cord lock alternative.
          Please list specifically the other “many ways” in which my shades are not compliant, as you indicated.
          If your intention was actually to help people, then give the people the information they need!

          1. Kristi. This is your forum. Not mine. Perhaps you should do the research and share the results. Or not. Not my circus.

            1. I see. So you make a comment about how you’re a professional, my tutorial makes you cringe, and my shades are death traps that could literally endanger the life of a child. You subsequently take the time to come back to make THREE more comments, and yet you refuse to answer the questions I posed based on your original comment regarding how to change my death trap shades into safe shades. In other words, you have the ability to share your professional expertise with us, and potentially SAVE THE LIFE OF A CHILD, and yet you refuse.
              Well, sure. That makes perfect sense. In other words, there’s not a damn thing wrong with my shade. I’m reminded of the drapery workroom professional who commented on my lined, pinch-pleated drapery tutorial and insisted that making lined draperies was WAY harder than I made it out to look in my tuturial, and that making lined draperies was something that should be left to the professionals and never attempted as a DIY project by inexperienced homeowners. I get it. Just protecting your industry.

            2. So glad you did this tut. Used your last one for the relaxed shade but ended up putting in dowels because it was a shade that would be raised often and the relaxed part ended up being a mangled mess. Wondered what you were doing withm the button holes because every time I need to use the shade which has a lighter background, I try my hardest not to touch my palm to it as I reach around to get the cord so as not to soil it. That’s genius! Also wondered about the hook and loop tape holding up the whole weight of the shade which you answered in one of the questions. Thanks again.

    3. Kristi,
      Apparently, the “Roman Shade Police” are saavy to your evil plot to rule the world. You know, the one where YOU create projects for YOUR home and then take the time to share the intricate process with US, the seemingly meek, mild-mannered ADULTS who share YOUR dreams, appreciate YOUR time and are certainly capable of deciding whether or not these shades will work OUR homes. Carry on, m’dear!
      Deb 😅

  6. Geeze that’s a lot, no wonder they cost so much to have made. Why did you choose to have the cord fall on the right side instead of being somewhat hidden on the drape side?

        1. “You’ll notice that I installed mine so that the pull cord for the shade is on the right side. I did this very intentionally. Since these shades will be drawn and closed every single day, I didn’t want the pull cord to be the on the left side hiding under the drapery panel because my arms and/or hands twice-daily brushing up against the drapery panel will get the panel dirty after a while, especially with white fabric. So I put it on the other side specifically so that it would be free and clear of the drapery panel to allow for the easiest operation possible.”

        2. Yep, what Melissa said. 🙂

          In the past, I’ve always installed them with the cord hidden by the drapery panel, but I’ve also never had shades or blinds that I intend to open and close twice a day. I originally installed this one the other way, and as I was testing out the operation of the shade, I noticed that I kept pushing the drapery panel and brushing my arm right up against that middle white stripe each time. I just didn’t see that going well over time, so I switched it around so that it would be as obstacle-free as possible.

  7. The blind looks great, Kristi. So precise. I don’t know that I will ever need to make a Roman Shade, compliant or not, but if I did, your site would be my first stop.

    Totally off the subject… I’d like to know about your pincushion. It looks like maybe it is styrofoam covered in fabric. Is it? I cannot find a purchased pincushion that I like and yours reminds me of my mother’s which I would give anything for now. It was a piece of some kind of tree trunk. The inside (where the rings would be) was porous and pins and needles never snagged or got stuck. I’ve never seen one like hers.

    Anyway, good job on the shade!

    1. My fancy pin cushion is just a remnant of green upholstery foam. 😀 It’s not covered with fabric or anything. And quite honestly, it’s the best pin cushion I’ve ever used! It’s a dense foam, so the pins stay in tightly. It’s big so I never misplace it. If you needed it to be presentable, it would certainly be easy to cover with fabric.

  8. I love this style of roman shades verse the droopy ones that you have made before. Looks so nice clean and elegant!

  9. Hi Kristi. Your shades look awesome!

    Full disclosure: I normally HANG on your every word, then I reread it again…with all the comments.
    Today, ummm…..skimmage. haha

    As always, though, your attention to detail and perfection rock my world:)

  10. Your tutorials are always so helpful, thank you! Really looking forward to seeing all your Romans done and in place.

  11. I so admire your determination and perseverance! I have made a few of these (for myself about 20 years ago), and I do not aim to make any more! They will look fantastic when you are finished as do your curtains.

    1. Yes. 🙂 Hook and loop tape is the common name of the product. Velcro is a trademarked brand name, but it’s generally used as if it’s the common name. Kind of like drywall is a common name, and Sheetrock is a trademarked brand name, but lots of people call all gypsum board Sheetrock.

  12. I cannot thank you enough for these very detailed instructions. I have been wanting to do Roman shades for my sunroom, but I was just stumped on how to make them so that they would be fully functional. You are amazing!!!!

  13. Kristie, your posts are always so inspirational. But how did you get this amazing shade made with a cat in the house???

    1. That cat has been with us for 13 years. She’s pretty well trained to stay away from my projects. 🙂 She loves to sit a few feet away and watch me work, though.

  14. So is the shade attached to the top piece by velcro? Is the velcro holding the entire weight of the shade?

    1. Yes it’s holding the entire weight, which isn’t much. It’s plenty strong to hold the weight. But the tension from raising the shade is all put on the mounting board where the pulleys and cord lock are attached.

  15. How do you know about the snags?

    Looking forward to the small valance portion of the tutorial. This was by far, the best and easily explained Roman shade tutorial I have seen. I really think this is the only way to go.

  16. Kristy give yourself some credit, your sewing is great! I’m a seamstress and sew everyday and my seam ripper gets a good workout also. I like your creativity for your pin cushion!

  17. Oh my!! My eyes glazed over with utter confusion. I have the utmost admiration for you and your talents. For me and my lack of sewing skills, buying the shades is my only option. If I tackled something like this, I would be a basket case and the cat would have ripped everything to shreds. He would have ripped everything to shreds anyway. Lord, woman, you are so talented. God Bless….

  18. Oh Kristy, I’ve been so hoping you would do Roman shades since I want to make some for our house!! Thank you, these are fantastic!

  19. As I’m reading and getting to the end of your tutorial, I’m thinking “does she not realize that she put the shade on the wrong side of the mounting board”, and “doesn’t the mounting board show, or is it just the angle of the picture”? I’ve looked into making roman shades in the past (never have done it) and didn’t remember all the steps (and yours are a little different than what I remember) but I’m pretty sure none of the methods I looked at included a buttonhole (btw, how did that new machine work at making buttonholes? That’s one of the things I was initially very excited about when I bought my Bernina so many years ago).

    The windows I want to make them for would also be an inside mount (actually ANY window in my house would be an inside mount since the cheap houses in AZ never include ANY casings!!!) Not sure how I would want to do it.

    Could you tell us where you purchased your hardware (i.e., weighted metal rod, spines (larger than 36″, cord pulley, and cord lock?) Also, why the 1.5″ seams? Seams (pun intended) like that would just create unnecessary bulk (but then I’m used to doing dressmaking where one tries to keep seam bulk to a minimum)
    Since you said you took a professional drapery course, I’m thinking you’ve probably got this down pat. Thanks so much for the tutorial!!

    1. The button hole foot is AMAZING on my new machine!! I’ve never had such an easy time of making button holes. I’m loving my new machine!
      Most shades that are made like this, where the cords feed to the front of the shade at the top, and everything is covered with a small valance, use metal grommets instead of button holes. I just didn’t have any grommets on hand, and didn’t feel like making a trip to Joann Fabric when button holes would work…and I had just learned how to do buttonholes with my new fancy machine wth the new fancy button hole foot. 😀
      I got the metal rod at Home Depot. I jsut used a threaded 1/4″ rod because I couldn’t find a smooth rod that didn’t look all gross and oily. The threaded one was all silver and shiny. I get plastic ribs from Sailrite. They also have cord pulleys, cord locks, and other goodies. I’ve also purchased the pulleys and locks from Drapery DIY. I buy the cord and rings from Joann with a coupon.
      As far as the seam, on draperies and shades, the face fabric wrap around to the back about 1.25″ to 1.5″. This helps avoid having a seam right on the edge of a drapery panel or shade, which would be unsightly. But the lining goes the entire width of the shade, and the face fabric is double folded around the edge to the back. On a drapery panel, I achieve this by ironing in a double fold on each side of the face fabric, slipping the lining under the fold on each side and then using a blind hem stitch to sew the pieces together. It’s easier to do it that way when working with that much fabric. Roman shades can be done that same way. However, since Roman shades are generally much less fabric and easier to work with, I generally just sew the face and lining together with right sides together and using a 1.5″ seam on each side, and then turn it right side out. It’s just a different method of achieving the same look that I get on the back edges of the drapery panels. I hope that makes sense.

  20. The tutorial was amazing! I could imagine myself making them and I have not touched a sewing machine in years. Thank you for explaining all the ins and outs as it makes it very doable. Thank you thank you thank you!

  21. Well, my first attempt got close!!! I’ve thought about making some for my new house, but wasn’t super impressed with my last attempt… With this tutorial and the links to the supplies, I think I will try again! Thanks so much!

  22. Kristi,
    I follow your blog and also on facebook everyday and I am amazed by the things you accomplish. I was wondering if you could suggest a blog or website for gardening? I trust your judgement!!

  23. Thanks for this post, Kristi. I am in the middle of making Romans and curtains and your tutorials have been a real blessing!

    I do have a question: what sort of metal bar do you use for the weight at the bottom of the blind? Aluminium or steel? I am wondering if an aluminium rod would be heavy enough to weigh the blind down.

    Many thanks in advance!

    1. I used a threaded zinc-plated 1/4″ x 36″ steel rod that I found at Home Depot. Of course, it doesn’t have to be threaded, but of the ones they had in the store, I could choose from either a black-ish smooth plain steel rod that was really dirty and turned my hands dirty and oily when I picked it up, or a very clean and bright zinc-plated steel rod that happened to be threaded. I’ve used the first one before, and brought it home and cleaned it up. But plain steel will rust. I used those in the relaxed Roman shades that I used when we still had the window unit air conditioner. That a/c put out quite a bit of humidity, and the rods actually rusted, and the rust rubbed off on the backs of the Roman shades. I won’t be using those plain steel rods anymore. We don’t have the window a/c anymore, so no more high humidity by those windows, but I still went with the zinc-plated rods.

      I don’t think aluminum would have enough weight to it. Stainless steel would work if you can find those.

      1. Kristi: Thank you for the very helpful reply, especially regarding rust. Who would have even considered that the rods might rust inside the shade?! God bless you.

  24. Thank you for this tutorial! I’m making roman shades for my living room based mostly off your other roman shade tutorial, but with dowels. I’m half done and just found this new tutorial! Some of the tips here are really helpful. I’m definitely going to mount them behind the wood and add a mini valance. Without your tutorials I wouldn’t have thought to match the fabric patterns on the two shades or had the courage to tryout my blind hem foot (which was easy). I really feel like those two steps are making my shades look much more professional.

  25. I’ve read dozens of Roman shade tutorials and yours is the best! I’ve been searching for months for a detailed, step-by-step, lesson. Your shade has the professional/designer quality that other diy shades lack.
    I especially like the clean & neat button holes, what a great idea! Visually better than grommets.

    I need to make 9 of them for our French windows & doors. I’ve been sewing for a year… still a novice. I’ve made shower curtains, drapes, and duvet covers, that actually came out ok😉

    Thanks for sharing this tutorial!


  26. Kristi, thank you for this great tutorial. It’s very easy to follow, but I have one small question. When inserting the weighted rod at the bottom, do you put it through the side seam left open, and just let it fall down into the bottom of the hem pocket? Or am I supposed to stitch an exact “casing” for it? Thanks again!

    1. The first option — put it through the side opening and let it fall to the bottom of the pocket. There’s no need to sew a perfectly-fitting casing for it.

  27. Kristi. I really needed a tutorial like this. I have made shades before but forgot some of the little details that matter so much. I appreciate the explanation of attaching the shade to the back of the board instead of the front. Yes. The inside mount is more challenging. Thanks again.

  28. Hi Kristi, Your tutorial is beautiful. I have only one question. Can I still get away with using only two rows of rings for a 36″ shade, placing them 4″ from each edge, or should I do 3 rows? Thank youvery much ~ Karen

  29. Hi Kristi,
    First attempt at roman shades, did you blind hem stitch the lining and face fabric together before turning it right side out? I’m in the process but seem to be missing a step and can’t decide what to do next. Thanks – Tracy

    1. A blind hem stitch isn’t necessary. With the lining and the face fabrics with right sides together, you just stitch straight through both layers. Then after stitching both sides, as well as the bottom, you flip it right side out.

  30. Hi Kristi, I just found your tutorial after deciding I can do this on my own, and I’m very excited! I like the idea of your side hems as seen after you turned it right side out, but I’m slightly confused at the moment. It may just be that I’m at work, and not able to visualize it right now.

    When you face the 2 fabrics together before stitching the 1.5″ side seams is the liner centered or are the edges line up?

    Thank you!

  31. What a great tutorial, thank you! How thick is the lining? I’d like to attempt this with blackout lining but am concerned that it might be too thick to fold up well.

  32. Another excellent tutorial, Kristi. I made roman shades for my daughter’s home several years ago. I’m thinking I’ll do them for my master bedroom and this tutorial will save me hours! So thanks.