Monday, July 13, 2009

#38...a shade fit for romans

Roman shades are really pretty simple to make. O.k......there is a little math to do, but other than that they're fairly easy. The best part about making your own, is that you can choose any fabric that you want, opting for a something like a sheer linen that lets filtered light through, or some very opaque fabric like outdoor upholstery fabric that nearly blocks out all light. The second best thing about creating your own roman shade is that it can be really inexpensive depending on the cost of the fabric that you choose. Other than the fabric, all other supplies needed cost less than $10.
Here are my step-by-step instructions for making an interior mount roman shade.
1. Measure your window width and height and add 5 inches to width measurement and 15 inches to height measurement to give yourself plenty of fabric.
2. Finish sides of shade by turning at least 1/2 " to back of shade and stitch down sides from top to bottom. Make sure that finished width fits inside your window, and alter as necessary. This would be the time you could stitch a liner in if you desire.

3. The shade will consist of a top pocket to hold a tension rod, and at least two dowel pockets to create the folds, and a bottom pocket that also holds a dowel rod. The first pocket to make is the top pocket. Fold 1/2" under at the top and then fold over again about 2 inches, creating a pocket for the tension rod. Sew across top from side to side making the pocket.
4. Next determine how low you want your shade to hang on your window when completely pulled up. (Like determining the appropriate height of a valance for a window. ) Most of mine have been between 12-20 inches depending on the height of the window. Then divide the total height of the shade by 3 or 4 or whatever number gets you to your predetermined pull-up height. The drawing to the left shows the back of the shade bisected into 3 segments with two center dowel pockets. Fold the shade right sides together on marked segment lines, and sew a 1' seam, from side to side creating the dowel pockets.
5. Now create the bottom dowel pocket in the same manor as you did the top tension rod pocket. I sew the bottom pocket last to insure that even if I miscalculate the center fold pocket lines, I can hold the shade up in the window and hem the bottom pocket to the correct length.
6. Using 1/2" plastic curtain rings from the hobby/fabric store, hand sew on to bottom pocket and center fold pockets on each side of shade about 2" from the edge, making sure that the rings line up all the way up. Do not put a ring on the top pocket.(See above drawing to see ring placement.) If your shade is wider than about 30 inches, you may want to add a third ring row in the center of the shade to help lessen the stress on the edges when drawing up the shade.
7. Using drapery cord string, cut two lengths at least 3x the height of the window. Tie each piece of string to each bottom ring, and string up through rings.
8. Cut dowels to the appropriate width, and insert into center pockets and into bottom pocket. Slide tension rod of appropriate width for your window into top pocket and loosely position in place. Make a mark on the top inside window frame behind the tension rod (& shade) in line with the rings. This mark is where you will put an eye hook into the frame of the window as guides for the string. Opt for small 1/4" screw in eye hooks. (You can also see these in the shade back view drawing)
9. Position your shade and run the string through the eye hooks and over to one side of the window. Once the shade is positioned and the string is over to the side and you have pulled it up and down a few times, you will want to knot the two strings together and maybe add a pull or tassel of some sort to make drawing the shade easier. To keep your shade drawn, you will need to wrap your sting around a small boat tie that you position on the side of the window that the string pull is on. that I have written this all down, I am not sure it is as easy as I was thinking. If you attempt it, there will be some learning curves, so don't start with expensive fabric. Once you go through the steps once, the instructions will become less daunting and easier to understand.....otherwise, there are some nice store bought shades out there too!
Here are a few shades I have made. Each one gets easier than the last...........


ladyhock said...

Hello Christie,
Thankyou for posting these instructions for the shades.
Appreciate it.



Unknown said...

I myself am a keen DIYer and I am very grateful that you chose to share your ideas for roman blinds. I shall look forward to completing this project. Thank you.
Lisa Brana

Unknown said...

First, I love this roman shade because you use a tension rod. I have minimum depth in my window but enough for a tension rod. Is the tension rod really strong enough for these shades?