Make Your Own Roman Shade

10 steps to a new fabric shade for your window.


Roman shades are made from flat fabric panels that fold up, accordian-style, via a simple ring and cord system. Anyone with basic sewing skills can make these tailored shades.

Jump-start your shade-making project by reading our general directions. Then purchase a shade-making kit and supplies that meet your style and skill level.

The products without slats at the fold lines and those with a thick fabric base will give a softer pleat than those with a dowel or slat inserted into the fold lines.

Step 1. For an inside mount, measure the width of the window and subtract 3/8 inch to allow for ease of movement. For an outside mount, measure the desired finished width. For either mount, also measure the desired finished length.

Step 2. Cut the decorator fabric and lining according to the measurements in Step 1, adding seam allowances to all sides and 3 inches to the total length.

Step 3. With right sides facing, sew the lining to the decorator fabric along all edges. Leave an opening for turning. Clip the corners and trim the seam allowances. Turn the panel to the right side, slip-stitch the opening closed, and press the panel.

Step 4. Working on the lining side, mark the placement of the pleat lines in the following manner: Starting 2 inches up from the bottom and ending approximately 3 inches down from the top, divide the shade into equal portions for the folds. Normal distance between the fold lines is 6 to 8 inches. Mark the fold lines, making sure they are equidistant, parallel, and straight.

Step 5. Pin the shade tape along the markings with the finished edge facing toward the panel top. Check to make sure all the rings are in alignment. Sew the tape strips in place leaving 1/2 inch free at either end.

Step 6. Slip-stitch the ends of the tape closed. Cut the dowels to fit the tubes and insert them through the bottom insertion slits in the tape.

Step 7. Press the loop (soft) side of the hook-and-loop tape to the top edge of the panel. Press the remaining side (hook) of the tape to one of the long, narrow edges of the mounting board. Attach the board to the window frame using screws or L brackets.

Step 8. To string the shade, you will run cords through the rings in the tube tape. Start with the ring that is on the bottom row of tube tape and approximately 1 inch from the panel's edge. Tie the cord to the bottom ring and run it through the rings directly above that ring. Repeat on the other side. Divide the remainder of the panel into increments of approximately 10 inches. Run cords at these points.

Step 9. Hold the shade to the mounting board and mark the position of the cords. Place screw eyes at the marked points. Install a cleat or pulley according to the package directions.

Step 10. Press the panel to the mounting board. Run the cords through the screw eyes and secure them with the cleat or pulley.


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