How to Make Fabric Roman Shades

What You'll Need
Measuring tape, pencil and chalk
Woven fabric, lining (if desired) and thread
Nylon cord (1.2 mm)
3 cord acorns
Seam binding ring tape with 1/2 inch rings
2 inch firm grosgrain ribbon
Several 1/2 inch dowels
1 inch wood dowel
Sewing machine
Sharp scissors and pins
Velcro strip (sew and stick type)
Purchased header rail (cut to size)

Add a splash of color to any room with fabric roman shades. Making them yourself can cost substantially less than ready-made roman shades, when you follow the guidelines below.

Step 1 - Measure Window for Mounting

Choose an inside frame mount or outside the frame. For deep-set windows, and to block heat and light, use an inside mount. Inside the window frame, measure from the top inside frame ceiling to the window sill, and the width across the center of the frame. For an outside mount, measure at least 2 inches beyond the frame in all directions. Add 2 inches to the width for side hems, and 4 inches to the total length for top and bottom hems.

Step 2 - Cut and Hem the Fabric

Use the full width of your fabric to make roman shades. Add fabric pieces to each side for shades wider than the fabric bolt, and match patterns carefully. Cut the fabric to the measurements you recorded. If you are adding a lining, cut the lining exactly the same size. Turn down, press and sew a 1 inch hem down each long side of the shade and lining. Sew an endpoint line for the lifting strings across the top of the shade 2 1/2 inches down from the top.

Step 3 - Make Dowel Sleeves

From the top of the shade down, measure every 10 inches from the shade top, then draw a line across the shade with tailor's chalk, to mark the dowel sleeves. Stop 4 inches from the bottom edge to make the bottom hem later. Sew on the lining now, across these lines, and mark it for placing dowels. Cut a length of the grosgrain ribbon for each sleeve the width of the shade, plus 2 inches. Hem each ribbon 1 inch at its end, and sew it on across the shade, with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Insert the dowels and tack the ends closed. Sew a 2-inch bottom hem and insert the 1 inch dowel. Sew the ends of this pocket closed. Press and sew a 2 inch hem for the top, then sew on the hooked side of the velcro strip to the back of this hem.

Step 4 - Add the Lifting Components

Attach the seam binding ring tape down the back length of the shade in 3 strips. Pin it so the rings align with the dowels. Center 1 tape on the back of the shade; place the other 2 in from the edges by 2 inches. Sew them on with the sewing machine. Do not sew over the dowels. Cut 3 lengths of cord the length plus width of the shade. Tie each firmly to the bottom ring of a strip, and push it through the rings to the top. Add the string acorns once you attach the shade to the header rail and pull all strings to one side.