Make This Pretty Roman Shade

We recently moved into a new home so I am very busy making draperies for each of the rooms.  My current project is to make roman shades for a guest room.  I wanted the style to look very clean and simple, so I have opted to make the most basic of all roman shades – the flat roman shade.   All the other roman shade designs are a variation on this flat shade.  There are many decisions to be made before making the shade.


1.  What style of shade to make?  There are so many variations – flat roman shade, soft-fold roman shade, stitched roman shade, balloon shade, cloud shade, ruffled cloud shade, etc.  Be sure to google the different styles and decide which one is right for your space.  It is my experience that the flat roman shade is the most popular today for its’ simple appearance.  Years back, the balloon shade would have been more popular, but lately we seem to be getting away from all the fuzziness of a lot of fabric.  But the choice is yours to make!

2.  Inside or outside mount?  This will mostly likely be determined by the depth of your window frame and the desired look.  My window frame is quite shallow and will not accommodate an inside mount.  If your window frame is deep enough then you have the choice of which look you prefer.


3.  Pre-made pulley system or make the pulley mechanism yourself?  I opted for a pre-made system.  It is cleaner and has a continuous loop pulley cord, and eliminates all of those long messy cords.  I ordered a Rollease Shade Mounting Board from Alan Richard Textiles, Ltd at  You can set up an account and place your order, but be sure to print out the specification sheet to supply them with the dimensions of your finished shade.  On this specification form you will have to list the width and length of your shade, whether it is +10 lbs, choose a mounting board depth and the type of board wrapping, the clutch position (left or right) and control cord type and length, as well as how many lifting cords you want on the mechanism.  The number of cords will be determined by what style of shade you are making.  I chose for the cords to be 9″ apart (4 cords across total) as I want a very tailored look.  If you were doing a balloon shade then you would probably opt for cords that were further apart to allow for the gathering of fabric.  Typically horizontal spacing of cords is anywhere from 9 to 14 inches, depending on the width of the shade and where any seams fall.  It will take about 10 days to receive your Assembled Rollease Headboard (mounting board).   I also ordered a weight bar for each shade which they will cut just a little smaller than the board width.  This gives the shade some weight at the bottom and helps the shade to hang smooth and straight both when it is in the down position as well as the up position.  I highly recommend that you order weight bars.



1. Once you receive the mounting board you can begin sewing your project.  (I recommend waiting until you have the actual board before cutting your fabric.)  I have a large floral pattern on my fabric.  I want the pattern to fall in exactly the same place on each shade (there are three in the room side by side) so when the shades are drawn down they all look the same.

2.  I also decided that I wanted a leading edge or skirt of about 3 1/2″.  When the shade is drawn up all the way up I have a ‘skirt’ or leading edge that hangs down beyond the first (inner) fold.  You can decide how deep you want this hem to be.  As a guide, it should be somewhere between 1 – 3″ deep.

3.  The length of the shade is determined by the distance from the top edge of the board to the window sill plus the depth of the mounting board plus the skirt depth plus 1 1/2″ for creating a pocket for the weight rod.

4.  The width is determined by the width of the mounting board plus 3/4″ – 1″ of ease plus 6″ for the side hems.  The ease allows the shade to hang ‘just beyond’ the width of the board.

5.  If your fabric has a pattern, be sure to cut your panels out so the pattern is the same on each panel.  This will take some planning but is definitely worth the time.

6.  Cut the lining the same length as the fabric and 6″ narrower.


1.  Lay the face fabric wrong side up on your work surface.   Lay the lining on top with wrong sides together, so that the face side of the lining is facing up.  Line up the bottom and top edges of the lining so they line up with the face fabric.  Make sure the lining is 3″ in from both edges of the face fabric.

2.  Fold over the fabric side edge 1 1/2″ so wrong sides are together, press.  Fold over another 1 1/2″ again towards the wrong side to form a double hem, press.


3.  Blind stitch the side hems.  Pin the side hem so that the pins are perpendicular to the edge of the hem, and 1/4″ in from the inside folded edge.  See below.  This will allow you to fold back the fabric to do the bling hem stitch when it is on the machine.




4.  Fold the hem back so that 1/4″ of fabric is exposed from the edge (see below).   With your machine set on the widest and longest blind hem stitch, guide the fabric under the foot allowing the stitch to catch the edge of the lining & fabric every 1″ or so.  Remove the pins as you come to them.  Do not sew over the pins.  See my tutorial on How To Sew A Blind Hem for more details.




This is the way it will look when you are done stitching.





Fold 1 1/2″ from the bottom edge of the fabric and press.  Stitch a 1/4″ from the raw edge creating a pocket.



Fold along the bottom at the ‘finished length’ measurement and press.  Stitch 1/8″ – 1/4″ from the folded edge of the pocket you just made.  This completes the pocket for the weight bar.



1. Using a measuring tape measure the placement of the rings at regular intervals beginning at the top edge of the skirt.  The number or horizontal rows of rings is determined by how many folds you want and how deep you want them to be.  I often find it helpful to use a strip of paper the length of the shade and folded in intervals that I have decided on to make sure I am getting the effect I want before determining the placement of the rings.

1.  Using a staple gun staple the fabric to the mounting board.  You can also use Velcro by sewing a strip to the top of the shade and stapling the other side of the Velcro to the board.

2.  To mount the shade to the wall use L-brackets.  If the shade is an inside mount, screw directly into the frame of the window.

3.  Thread the cording from the pulley mechanism and secure on the bottom ring as the shade hangs straight down.  Secure by tying a knot that will not slip or using the cord toggles that come with the pulley system.  Trim the excess cord.

4.  Carefully draw the shade up and guide the fabric into soft folds.  Once the shade is ‘trained’ or sits in this position for a while it will draw up nicely without any fuss.

Optional:  You can add a ‘wing’ to the side of the mounting board made from the fabric prior to stapling the shade onto the board.  This hides the mechanism when viewing it from the side.


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