Making Roman Shades

Making Roman shades isn't for the half-hearted DIYer, but it can be fun and a great way to get just the right look for your home or office. Your Roman shades can stand alone as a window covering or be part of a window treatment.

Roman shades have crisp, clean lines that sharpen the impact of any window treatment. They can be hung outside of the window frame, or inside the window frame so that valances, curtains and other window treatments can be hung over the Roman shades.

Making Roman shades is a complex but straightforward project. First, you need to estimate and measure your fabric requirements. Then, cut the fabric and lining and sew them together. From there, you sew pockets for wooden dowels, called ribs, into the shade every eight inches or so. Eyelet hooks are screwed into the dowels and string is passed through them. The shade is hung from a 1 inch x 2 inch batten screwed into the top of the window opening. The strings, when pulled from the side of the batten, pull up the shade from the bottom and it falls into neat folds at each dowel.

Step-by-step instructions for making Roman shades are available at The site offers one set of instructions, for making a plain Roman shade, free of charge. Available for sale is the company's down loadable ebook, which contains instructions for making Roman shades in eleven different styles.

There's a do-it-yourself supply shop for making Roman shades at This site even has an easy form-driven way to design your Roman shade. First, you select the style you want: flat, balloon, Austrian, with or without scallops, in 8, 10, or 12 inch rib spacing. Then select the desired finished width and length of the Roman shade. Next, specify whether you are making Roman shades to mount inside or outside the window opening. Finally, select whether you want the Roman shade's drawstrings to be on the left or right side of the window. That's it! The software makes a pattern which you can purchase for $2.99 and print on your own home printer.

Along with your custom-designed Roman shade comes a list of all the cords, ribs, lifting mechanisms, and other hardware that you will need for making Roman shades. These items are also available for purchase through T he professional kit can be a bit pricey at around $50, but you can substitute the clear acrylic ribs with 3/8 inch dowels from your local home improvement store.

Another tip is to use fabric tube tape instead of eyelet hooks. The tape lays flatter when the Roman shade is raised, giving a neater look to the shade.

Another way of making Roman shades involves old mini-blinds. Cut off the slats except for the top one and about every tenth slat. Hem your fabric and liner. Use the same fabric to make "tape" with which you can cover the slats and attach the fabric to them, then cut openings in the tape over the openings in the slats for cords. Presto! You now have a complete Roman shade, including opening and clutch mechanism.

Making Roman shades is a fun project for any home seamstress. Be creative and expressive in your use of materials and you will get some fantastic results!