How to Make a Relaxed Roman Shade

Item # X-HT-300137

Bring a casual, stylish statement to your windows with relaxed Roman Shades. With a soft dip in the center of the shade, a relaxed Roman Shade offers an unfussy, laid back feel that will be at home in any room. This style of shade is great for layering—add a roller shade underneath or style long drapes in front of the shades. Get the look for your own home! We’ll show you step-by-step how to sew your own custom relaxed Roman Shades in this video tutorial.

Relaxed Roman shade with a soft dip in the center and stacked pleats

To help with the planning of this project, we used the relaxed Roman Shade calculator in Sailrite’s Fabric Calculator. This tool will help you plan how much fabric to order and will plot out for you where the lift rings will be installed on your shade and even show you a rendering of how you will cut your fabric.

To choose a fabric for this project, we suggest using a mid-weight home décor fabric. You want to look for a fabric that has enough body to hold the pleats but not something too heavy that won’t pleat nicely or that will be visually too heavy for the room. We chose Sunbrella® Accord Koi Upholstery Fabric for our shade. Then, we lined our decorative fabric with Blackout Drapery Lining Fabric. You can add a blackout lining like this, a regular drapery lining or skip this step completely, depending on your preference.

When your shade is complete, you’ll likely need to help train the fabric to pleat and fold in the way you’d like it to rest. Fixing the pleats is called “dressing” the shade. Because relaxed Roman Shades don’t use rods to force the fabric to fold, you’ll need to help the shade fold the first time you raise it. Then let it rest in place for a day or two so the fabric can form a memory of the pleats. Because of its relaxed style, these shades are often only raised to their highest position or completely lowered. If you’d prefer your shade to have more flexibility, you can add a Cord Lock (#104468, #104857), which allows your shade to be raised and lowered to varying heights. We didn’t use a cord lock in our video, and chose to cleat the shade at a fixed up position instead.

Video Chapters

  • Measuring the Window & Using Fabric Calculator – 0:40 min.
  • Patterning Decorative Fabric – 2:58 min.
  • Patterning Drapery Lining – 8:38 min.
  • Sewing Lining to Decorative Fabric – 10:39 min.
  • Finishing Bottom Edge – 13:47 min.
  • Placing Lift Rings – 17:05 min.
  • Sewing Lift Rings – 21:37 min.
  • Trimming & Finishing Top Edge – 26:11 min.
  • Installing Bottom Rod – 29:01 min.
  • Feeding Lift Lines – 31:33 min.
  • Creating Headboard & Running Lines – 34:50 min.
  • Installing & Dressing the Shade – 40:59 min.
  • Materials List – 46:55 min.

Materials List

  • Home decor fabric of your choice
  • Blackout Drapery Lining Fabric
  • Thread in a matching color to decorative fabric (general purpose, V-46 or V-69)
  • Sew-On Rings for Shades (we used #104469)
  • Seamstick 1/4" Basting Tape for Canvas & Upholstery #104167
  • Nylon White Loop 1" #471100
  • Nylon White Hook 1" #467100
  • Bottom Rod for Fabric Shades 3/8" #104989
  • Webbing Tubular Polyester 3/4" White #531610
  • Leech Line Dacron 5/64" White #21207
  • Cord Adjuster Orb #120065
  • Standard Screw Eye #120034
  • Plastic Lift Cord Condenser #104470 (white) or #105503 (cream)
  • Wooden Blind Cord Tassel (we used the Vase Shape in White #106673)
  • Cord Cleat #106726
  • Wooden board (approximately 1" x 2" x width of shade)
  • Mounting screws

Tools List

  • Scribe-All® Water Soluble Marking Pencil (we used White #120681)
  • Gingher® Scissors Right Handed #19104
  • Multiuse Pins #102985
  • Sailrite® Canvas Patterning Ruler #107040
  • Deluxe 5 1/2" Magnetic Sewing Guide #103597
  • Sewing machine (we used Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LSZ-1 Sewing Machine #300602)
  • Sewing Gauge Ruler 6" #102995
  • Sailrite® Edge Hotknife Package #103800 (110 Volt)
  • Heavy-duty stapler (like the Sailrite® Short Nose Upholstery Staple Gun #121410)
  • Straight edge
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Iron

You can find all the hardware needed to build relaxed or classic Roman Shades in our Roman Shade Hardware category, right here at Sailrite.

Warning: Cords can be hazardous, even fatal, to young children. Keep cords out of reach of children. Keep cribs, playpens, and other furniture away from cords. Do not tie cords together or allow cords to twist or loop together.

These instructions are intended for personal use. If making shades to sell or gift, they must comply with the latest safety regulations. Using Sure-Shade Encase Lift Cord Shroud Tape (#106454, #106455) helps to prevent the formation of hazardous loops.