Sew With Jo           




Roman Shades Are A Good Alternative For Window Treatments


Roman shades are a good alternative for window treatments because they can serve 2 purposes at once:

  • They are decorative the way a traditional curtain or drape would be
  • They do "double duty" by acting as a shade or blind

Roman shades are also relatively easy to make. Of course, the first thing you do is measure your window, the same way we did on the Simple Curtains page. Except, you will not need the additional 3 inches at the bottom for the hem.

To make the directions easy, lets use a window 35" X 45".

Most fabrics come in widths of 45", 54", and 60". This makes it easy because the fabric will be wide enough to cover the width of the window. 

 For the length, you can buy 1 1/2 yards of fabric.  This will give you extra fabric to allow for the casing at the top, and a small hem.  You will also need to buy small plastic rings and a bulk of cording (the sales person in the fabric store can show you where these are).  And of course, matching thread.

 Start with the width of the window and fabric.  Since the window is 35" wide, cut the fabric to be 37" wide.  This will give you enough fabric to make a strong side seam.

 For the length, cut the fabric to be 49".  This allows the 3 inches for the casing and a 1-inch hem.

Let's start with the side seams on your roman shade. 

  1. Press under 1/2" on one side. 
  2. Press another half inch on the same side.  This will give you a very nice clean edge.
  3. Run a straight stitch down the entire side of the shade.
  4. Repeat this process with the other side of the fabric.

For the top of the roman shade, we will repeat the same process as we did on the Simple Curtains.

  1. Press under 1/4" on the top of the fabric.
  2. Press another 2 1/2 " creating the casing for the rod.
  3. Run a straight stich at the bottom of the casing where you pressed the 1/4". 

The bottom of the roman shade will be the same as you did for the sides.

  1. Press under 1/2" on the hem.
  2. Press another 1/2" under.
  3. Sew a straight stitch down the seam.'re now ready to finish the shade.

For this size window, and to get a nice even pull on the shade, I recommend 4 columns of rings.  On each side seam you will sew a column of rings.  Then, evenly space the 2 inside columns of rings through the width of your roman shade.

To decide how many rows of rings down your shade, you have to determine how many folds you want, i.e., when you draw the shade up, you will see the number of folds. This will determine how far apart to sew the rings. 

Let's say you want 4 folds when you draw the shade up.  So you will need to sew on 6 rings in each column, 6" apart.  You will now have 4 columns of rings down your fabric. (I recommend you sew the top rings at the stiching line at the bottom of your casing).

Lastly, measure your cording to the length of the roman shade, plus 1" to tie them at the bottom rings. Thread the cord through each ring in one column...don't cut it yet.

Now you have to allow enough cord to be able to draw the shade up.  Next, allow enough cord to go across the top of the shade then down to pull it up (You can decide how long you want the pull cord to be).  This means, each cord will be a different length from each column. To keep the cord neat, you can thread each one through the top ring on each column. 

Now, you can tie, or braid, or be creative on how you want the pull cord to look.

And your done!  Put the rod into the casing and hang your brand new roman shade. 

Nice job!

If you need a printed pattern and directions, here is a program that I highly recommend. The program will take you step-by-step through your creation of roman shades.


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Jo Ann, I owe you a MAJOR thank you! My heartfelt thanks for your efforts with my dress. Everyone loved it.
I am eternally grateful!

Sherry L.                            Margate, N.J.