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The final touches are going in Ellie’s bedroom now and we are down to the window treatment. She has been pretty vocal about what she would like in her room. For the window treatment, she wanted blackout curtains. However, with her built in desk with shelves below the window, curtains would not work well. With this in mind, we started looking at a Roman shade.

We love the look of Roman shades. However, have you ever priced custom Roman shades? Yikes, they are expensive! Clearly, we knew that if we made them ourselves we would save hundreds of dollars!  With this in mind, we would like to share our version of Roman shades – how to make them yourself.

Take a look at our video tutorial. Sometimes it’s just easier to see it in motion.

Supplies needed:

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Step 1: Take Measurements for Roman Shade

How to DIY a Roman Shade

The first step is to determine the size the Roman shade will be. They can be mounted inside or outside of the window frame.

Once the finished measurement is determined, add 1″ to the width and 4″ to the length.

The window in Ellie’s bedroom is large and since we also wanted to hang it outside the window frame, we needed to piece the fabric together.

If piecing is required, cut the center section first to the length that is needed. Then with the remaining fabric, line up the pattern, pin and stitch together along one side.  

The fabric was then trimmed, keeping a little extra fabric than what was needed. Repeat for the other side.

Once fabric was added to both sides then we took a final measurement and trimmed to the desired width.

Add Embellishment

Making a Roman Shade
Sewing a Roman Shade

To add a bit of embellishment to the Roman shade, we placed a length of ribbon along the pieced seams.

Once the ribbon was pinned in place, we stitched along both sides of the ribbon.

Lining a Roman Shade

Adding a lining fabric is always optional, but I always think it looks more finished and professional if it is lined.  

The lining that we chose for our Roman shade was a blackout lining. It’s quite a bit heavier as well and feels a bit rubbery.

Cut a piece of lining fabric the same dimensions as the front fabric.

Because of the width of our window, we had to piece the lining fabric together as well.

Making a Roman Shade
DIY a Roman Shade

Place right side of the fabric and lining together, pin in place and stitch a 1/2″ seam the two sides.

Turn right sides out and press along the seams.

Create a hem for a Roman Shade

DIY a Roman Shade
How to Make a Roman Shade

At the lower edge, fold over 1/4″ and press with a steam iron. Fold over 3/4″, press and pin in place.

How to Make a Roman Shade

Stitch the hem in place. Leave the sides open for placing a dowel. 

Mark Placement for Dowels

DIY Roman Shade

Dowel placement can be anywhere from 8″ to 12″ apart. This is where you will want to measure your finished Roman shade length to determine your spacing.

This is how we determined our spacing. The first dowel placement should be at least 1″ longer than the folds.

First, we made a mark 7″ from the bottom of the shade and measured the remaining length.

Next, we divided it by 9″ and 10″ and so forth, seeing what the placement would look like.

You will want the top dowel to be about 10″ from the top of the Roman shade. It turned out a 9″ spacing was perfect for our shade. As a result our folds would be 4 1/2″. 

Make a line with a pencil where each dowel will be placed.

Make dowel guides

Roman Shade Dowel Guides
Roman Blind Guides

The dowel guides are narrow pockets that the dowels will slide into. The dowels will help pull the fabric up evenly when the Roman shade is open.

To make the guides cut a 3″ wide strip of the lining fabric the width of the Roman shade.

Fold the strip in half (1 1/2″ wide) and press. Then fold up the cut edges 1/2″ and press.

DIY Roman Shade

Align the bottom edge of the dowel guides with the pencil marks and secure with pins. 

Stitching Roman Shade

Stitch the dowel guide to the Roman shade only along the lower edge. Try to keep the fabric as smooth as possible while sewing. 

How to Make a Roman Shade

We had a couple of spots that had puckered when we stitched.

Adding more pins to the guides may have prevented this from happening.

It’s an easy fix, however.  Remove the stitching in these areas with a seam ripper, smooth out the fabric and stitch again.

Preparing the top of the Roman Shade

For the top edge of the Roman shade, fold down 1/2″ and press with a steam iron.

Pin on velcro and stitch in place. 

If your header is a piece of wood, there is no need to sew. Just fold over and staple to the board and mount the board to the wall with L-brackets.

Ring Placement

Repurpose Old Blinds to Roman Shades

A series of rings need to be sewn on to the lining for the cords to slide through. 

The width of the Roman shade will determine how many rows of rings you will need. 

A narrow shade will need only 2 rows, whereas our wide Roman shade will need 4 rows.

We decided to repurpose an old wood blind that was removed from my home. By doing this we can use the mechanism that will hold the shades up without the need of a bracket to wrap the cord around.

With this in mind, we placed the header from the old blinds along the back side of our Roman shade to determine the placement for our rings. 

Four small marks were then made across on each dowel guide.

Making Roman Shades

Stitch the rings to the dowel guides  at each mark.

Insert dowels

Repurposes blinds

A little disclaimer here: Because of the width of our Roman shade, dowels would be too short. We would have had to tape them together and we weren’t sure how that would work.

Solution: Since we were re-purposing the old wooden blinds, we just cut the wood slats into 1/4″ wide strips. 

Once you have all the dowels or wood strips in our case, cut to size, slide them into each pocket.

You can see in the photo, the ring attached to the dowel guide. The guides are left open on each side to easily insert each dowel.

If you do need to take down your Roman shade to launder it, simply remove the dowels first. 

Prepping the Header

Repurpose Old Wooden Blinds for Roman Shade
Repurposing Old Blinds for Roman Shades

The header can simply be a piece of wood cut to the length of the Roman shade. 

For a wood header insert eye screws, aligning with the rings that are sewn on the dowel guides.

Since we are using an existing header from wood blinds, we did need to cut it to size. It was a few inches too long.

The desired length was marked and we cut it with a hacksaw.

Next, Velcro was attached to the header using E6000 glue.

Mount the Header

find studs

First, we made a line on the wall where the header would be placed. Next, we located the studs in the wall.

Secure angle iron bracket to wall

Then, four small L-brackets were installed across the wall. 

Secure header

Next the header was centered over the window and small pilot holes were drilled into the header.

Finally metal screws were then installed into the bottom of the header.

You may notice a lot of holes in the wall below the header. We ran into a little snag… It appears that there were studs above our mounting line, but no studs below. So, we simply placed our L-brackets above the line.

The Reveal

The Reveal

Not only do we love the way this Roman shade turned out, but we also have one happy little girl.

When Ellie arrived home from school yesterday and saw it she was sooooo excited. She immediately wanted to lower it and see how dark her room was going to be. 😂 

So tell us what you think of our Roman shade. Is this a project you would like to try? Do you have any suggestions for us? We would love to hear from you.

Thank you for spending a little time with us today! 

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