“Remember the Roman Shade I shared with you last week? The one made with Riviera Red from the Annie Sloan Fabric Collection? Today it’s time to give you the tutorial. So you can create your own Roman Shade!
Roman Shade Tutorial
Board the width of your window by 1 inch thick by at least 1 inch wide.
1/4 inch dowel rods (number will be determined by how long your shade will be)
2 eye screws
Thread to match your fabric
Needle with a very large eye
Hammer, needle nose pliers, power stapler
Start with a board the width of the inside measurement of your window and your fabric. My hubby had to do some creative cutting and gluing to get my board to work as an inside mount. Make sure your cut board fits in your window before beginning your shade.
Once your board is made to fit, cut your fabric width to match the width of your board plus seam allowances. I allowed one inch to each side of my shade. I folded and pressed each side in a scant 1/2 inch, twice, to make a nice finished hem.
I used a the book ‘Home Sewn’ by French General and followed some of the instructions they give for making a Roman shade room divider. Mainly their technique of using dowel rods to make the nice crisp folds and also the way they ran the drapery cords through the shade. Drapery cord and dowel rods were purchased at Joann Fabrics. Fabric is from Annie Sloan Unfolded!
I used the selvage edge for the top of the shade since it would be stapled to the board and wouldn’t show. This eliminated a step too – if using a raw edge I would recommend either hemming it or serging it.
At this point you need to figure out how many folds you are going to have. You will make a 1/2″ pocket for each dowel rod to fit in. I know there is a math formula that would make this easy for some of you but for me it was easiest and fastest to just sort of wing it! I did a fold and pin method and figured out how many inches I wanted between each dowel. I ended up using 9 dowels, with the 9th one being in the very bottom at the hemline. I had not planned to have one there, but decided I liked it better with one once I was finished with the rest of the shade. My finished shade length was 60 inches. Each dowel needed an extra inch. I also needed a hem and the width to be folded over the board. If your board is 1 inch wide and you are using 8 dowels in the shade like I did you will need 60 inches, plus 1 inch for the top wrap, 8 inches for dowels, and 1.5 inches for a hem. 70.5 inches. Cut it longer if you want so you have plenty – you can always cut it off before hemming it.
I measured down 9 inches from the top of my shade and folded right sides together on that 9 inch line. I wanted my top piece of fabric to be a bit longer than the rest of the folds.
Fold your fabric straight across the entire width of the fabric.
You will have a pocket for your dowel on the backside of your shade.From your first fold, measure down 7.5 inches and fold again. Sew another 1/2 inch seam along the fold line. Repeat for each dowel rod you are using. I used 8 – with the 9th one going in the hem.
After all the dowel pockets were made I stapled the top of the shade to the board. I did not hem my shade before stapling it to the board. Having the shade attached to the board makes it a bit interesting getting the hem sewn but I wanted to know for sure it was the length I wanted before I sewed that hem! I used my Bostitch power stapler – it’s the only tool I own that comes close to being a ‘real’ tool! My hubby is a bit possessive of his tools and always wants to just do stuff for me. But I get impatient waiting on him so this tool I bought and it is all mine 😀
The eye screws in the bottom left photo are for the drapery cords to run through. Position one eye screw on the wood directly above each line of drapery cord that is run through the shade. I used my hammer to get the screws started into the wood and then used my needle nosed pliers to twist them tight.
For this Roman shade I used a large eyed needle and threaded it with the drapery cord. I measured in about 5 inches from the side and ran the needle through the dowel rod pocket just above the dowel. A knot secures the bottom. From there continue up the shade making sure to measure the same distance in on each dowel pocket.
The drapery cords need to be long enough to run up the extended length of the shade plus enough to hang down the side to the length you desire for pulling them up. Mine hangs a little lower than they would have to because it is in my girls’ room and they are still little One drapery cord will run through the eye screw and out to the side. The other side will run through the eye screw and then through the first eye screw so both cords run to the same side. Once you have them run you can try out your shade by holding the board and pulling on both cords at the same time. Your shade should fold up neatly and look like this photo.
Notice in the top photo of this set of three – the stripes are a bit ‘off’. I had not put my walking foot on my machine. I switched to the walking foot after sewing that first dowel pocket. Every other seam I sewed turned out like the bottom photo. Middle photo is my walking foot. Not every machine has one – it is not just a foot you can stick on any machine. The machine has to be specially designed for a walking foot. If you are in the market for a new sewing machine I would highly recommend a walking foot be one of your requirements.
My Mom taught me an easy way to line up stripes or plaid when sewing a fold or seam you are wanting to match exactly. Top photo – put your pin through on the line between two stripes. Bottom photo – turn your fabric to the under side and see if the pin came through on that exact line. Placing lots of pins in a piece of fabric and sewing slowly will give you a perfectly matched finished project if you do not have a walking foot. It works too – believe me I know! I matched many many stripes and plaids perfectly before I had a walking foot!
To hang this shade my husband simply screwed it to the window frame. We mounted a bracket to hold the cord when the shade was pulled up, and I used a simple end for the cords for now. I’d like to come up with something more creative but it works for now.
I didn’t redo the seam that didn’t match up perfectly. It wasn’t that big of a deal to me. Every creative piece needs a little flaw, right? This whole room is in need of a makeover. I’m hoping it can happen this year. New paint on the walls, the trim needs a nice coat of white paint, hardwood floor, fun rug, new bedspread, to name a few things I’d like to do. In my spare time 😀
To see all the beauty shots see this post!
Have you ever made a Roman shade? They are so easy! Nowhere near as intimidating as I thought before I ever made one!
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