Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Easy Improvised Roman Shade

As promised, here are the directions of how I made the shade in my kitchen.  I ran across this Centsational Girl Tutorial a few weeks ago and decided that was the look I wanted.  She does a much more professional job than me, using a black out lining and a real sewing machine.  I chose to wing it.

While trying to choose the fabric for this shade, I noticed there was only 3/4 yard of this mixer fabric left in stock, so I went on and ordered it.  I thought it was really cute, so even if I didn't make the curtain, I would find a use for it.  The first thing I did was lay it out and cut it the width I wanted it to be plus 3 inches.  Normally you would add 4, 2 inches for seam allowance on each side, but I was going to work with the selvage edge and only turn under once on that side.   Because it was a remnant, I didn't trim any length off other than to square up the cut.

Then I trimmed off the corners.  This makes them much neater when you fold the seams under becuase there is less fabric to bunch.

Then I broke out the iron.  Well, my Step-mom's iron.  I still haven't found mine through unpacking, but her's is much nicer.  When you press the little steam burst button, steam actually came out!  Mine works like a really dangerous super hot squirt gun.  Anyway, you iron it all flat, then fold over one side and iron a nice crease.  I started on the selvage edge since that one was the straightest.  Then I measured and cut the amount of seam tape I would need.

The cats are my ironing board cover, not fabric for an oddly themed feline room or anything.  It came that way.  Once I had the piece of seaming tape cut, I carefully placed it under the fold making sure it was completely covered.  This is important, if you iron directly over seaming tape it gunks up the iron and makes your Step-mom really mad, or ruins a dress shirt later unexpectedly.  I leaned this lesson with a shirt early on, so my Step-mom was happy when I returned her iron.  Anywho, its vital that you use the steam setting.  If the the seam tape doesn't get that moisture it won't adhere properly.  I once even improvised by placing a damp wash cloth between my iron and the project fabric when my steam setting wasn't working.  For the opposite non-selvage edge, I folded under and pressed, then folded under and pressed again before using the seaming tape so the raw edge would be turned under.  Once I started the top and bottom seams I made sure to be careful to line the corners up nicely while folding and pressing.  This is where the earlier trimming pays off.

Once all four corners are done, how you finish the top depends on how you are hanging the shade.  I already had a curtain rod in place, so I made a rod pocket.  I used the same process as making the seams, I just folded under about 2 more inches to make room for the rod and placed the seam tape right at the edge of that fold.  Often, the fabric is just stapled to a piece of wood then mounted above the window, so nothing additional is necessary.

Now I was ready to add the ribbon.  I didn't actually cut it until I had it completely attached, I just rolled along the spool as I ironed.

I measured 2 inches from the edge and stuck a few stick pins in right through to my ironing board to hold the ribbon in place.   I started on the top edge leaving an inch or 2 or ribbon hanging over so I could turn it under and attach nicely on the back.  I measured out 2 equal pieces of seam tape and had to sort of overlap them so they would stick out under the ribbon.  I had put pins on both sides of where the ribbon would sit, so that helped corral the seam tape into place.  Then I just ironed it on the same way I did the seams.  Once I got near the edge, I made sure to stop so that I would have a nice 2 inch border on the bottom as well, and carefully folded and pressed the ribbon into a nice corner and used a few small pieces of seam tape to stick it in place properly.  Then I used the same process across the bottom, carefully folded and pressed the other corner, and ran the ribbon right back up the other side to the top.  I should have taken more photos of this process, but I couldn't hold the iron, pins, ribbon, seam tape, and my camera.  Once I had the ribbon secured to the front, I trimmed it off the spool leaving and inch or so extra at the top, pressed both ends down, and attached them to the back of the shade.

Now its time to make your pleats.  This was pretty easy.  You could get really mathy and decide how many pleats you want then divide the total length by the size of the pleat plus and inch for the fold, but I just sort of laid it out and folded until it looked pretty good, then checked quickly with my little ruler to make sure they were roughly the same size between folds.  Then you press it all nicely.

DIY easy no sew roman shade

Now comes the only bit of real sewing I did.  I hand stitched the edge where the folds are so that it would stay folded.  I hadn't planned to place anything in it to weight it down, but it wanted to hang kind of funny without it.  Centsational girl used narrow wooden dowels.  I didn't have any of those, but the finish guy from the mobile home company left lots of extra paneling trim in case we might need it.  Its so thin I was able to cut it with scissors or snap it in half easily, so it worked perfect.  There are 2 pieces laying right on the little pockets the folds make in the back.  Since I hadn't lined it, it still sagged a little in the middle, so I put one or 2 small stitches in the middle of the shade right above each piece of paneling trim.

DIY easy no sew roman shade

Ta Daa!!  All done in about an hour without a sewing machine in sight.  Easy peasy.


  1. So cute! I love it. Good for you!

  2. That green vase looks so nice with the shade! That material was perfect :)

  3. I so wish I was good with sewing!! Great tutorial!

  4. I freaking love your fabric!! pinning this on pinterest so I can remember to go back to it, the bf wants me to make shades.