How To Make A Roman Shade

Would you like to know how to make a Roman shade? Roman shades consist of smooth pleated-panels that take the place of curtains and blinds. They tend to work best in small windows and should fit perfectly into the window frame when closed. Like most window textiles, you can craft your roman shade to be classic, casual or formal. Much of that depends on your choice of fabric and whether or not you choose to elaborate your shade by creating details like a scalloped base. In this guide, we’ll stick with the basics to get you started.

  1. Determine size. Before you cut your chosen fabric, measure your window’s interior to decide what size shade you’ll need. Be sure to add four inches to the width and about 8 1/4 inches to the length of the fabric (you’ll need the extra fabric for hemming and stitching).
  2. Fold, hem and stitch. Lay your cut fabric on a flat surface with the pattern facing down. Fold and iron two inch hems along the sides and the bottom; unfold when finished. Fold bottom corners and iron these as well. Refold your hems. Stitch the folded corners, leaving a quarter-inch opening on one side for a dowel (this will later be slipped into the opening to keep your shade sturdy and wrinkle-free). Finish hemming the sides and bottom.
  3. Use a fabric pen. You’ll need this to mark horizontal lines, about eight to nine inches apart, on the back of your shade. The top section should be slightly larger (about 1 3/4 inches), while the bottom section should be slightly smaller than the rest. These sections will be used to create symmetrical pleats in your Roman shade.
  4. Grab the tube tape and dowels. Create pockets along your horizontal lines with tube tape (you can find this at your local craft or hardware store), large enough to hold the dowels that you’ll be using. Cut your dowels so that they fit neatly into each pocket, leaving them 1 ¼ inch shorter than the width of the shade. Insert your dowels into the pockets and sew each side of each pocket closed (hand sewing works best for this).
  5. Attach header board. The header board will be used to secure your Roman shade to the window frame. Cut the board to fit the width of the window and attach it to the shade with tube tape. Attach screw eyes and screw the header board to the window frame. 
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