How to Make Roman Shades

Item # X-HT-200595

Roman Shades, with their clean lines and classic look, are continually a popular style of window treatment. Not only do these shades look great, but they are also fully functional, providing privacy when you want it without the harsh look of mini blinds. Want to create beautiful, stylish Roman Shades for your home? It’s not as hard as you might think, and is actually a project that you can DIY. This how-to video will show you, step by step, how to make your own Roman Shades.

DIY Roman Shades

A Roman Shade is made from a flat fabric panel that, when raised, folds up accordion style via a simple ring and cord system. The sewing required to make a Roman Shade is pretty basic (almost like a pillowcase!). The shade is transformed by the placement of dowel rods between the decorative fabric and the drapery lining and the installation of the cord system. We used Tear Mender to glue our dowels in place to create the folded pleats. We highly recommend testing Tear Mender on scrap fabric before beginning your project to make sure the fabric glue will adhere to your fabric and that it doesn't bleed or show through on the right side of the fabric.

Making your own Roman Shade will allow you to customize the design and save you money. Store-bought shades come in cookie-cutter sizes that might not fit all windows, and they can be pretty expensive. By taking your own measurements, you can get a perfect fit for your window. Plus, when you make your own shade, you can make all the design decisions like how much space it takes up in your window, how many times it folds and where those folds fall.

You can choose any style of fabric for your Roman Shade, but we recommend using a lighter-weight fabric so it will be easier to train the folds. The back of the shade is lined with drapery liner. A thinner liner will fold best, but if you’d prefer the curtains to block out more light, you can use a thicker liner or a blackout liner.

In the video, you will learn how to measure the window, pattern the fabric, calculate spacing for the dowels, build a headrail and install the shades.

Video Chapters:

  • Measuring Window - 0:26 min.
  • Adding Drapery Lining - 5:56 min.
  • Securing Dowels - 9:11 min.
  • Sewing Bottom Hem - 14:08 min.
  • Finishing Top Edge - 17:17 min.
  • Attaching Rings - 19:54 min.
  • Building a Headrail - 23:53 min.
  • Installing Curtain Hardware - 26:59 min.
  • Materials List - 34:57 min.

Materials Needed:

  • Decorative fabric
  • Drapery lining fabric
  • Thread (home thread or a V-30 Polyester)
  • Wood or plastic dowels #104987
  • Bottom Rod for Fabric Shades #104989
  • 1” Velcro—hook (#467100) and loop (#471100)
  • Sew On Rings for Roman Shades #104469
  • Standard Screw Eyes #120034
  • Cord Lock for Roman Shades #104468
  • 5/64” Dacron® Leech Line #21207
  • Cord Condenser #104470
  • Screws (for cord lock and installation)
  • 2” x 2” wood board (with an actual thickness of 1.5” x 1.5”)

Tools List:

  • Multiuse Pins 1-1/2" #102985
  • Deluxe 5-1/2" Magnetic Sewing Guide #103597
  • Tear Mender #419100 or Gem-Tac Glue
  • Hand Needle, Sewing Machine, Stapler, Drill, Screwdriver

Note: This instructional video is intended for personal use. If making shades to sell or gift, they must comply with the latest safety regulations.

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.

Have you made a Roman Shade before? Share your projects, process and thoughts in the comments!