It probably goes without saying, but I LOVE fabric.
I love using fabric to add color to my home, and if it does double duty as a functional item? Bonus!
I love the clean, crisp look of roman shades- plus they are simple to make and can be customized to fit your window and your style. They are wonderful.
Today I'm going to show you how to make your own. I will add a disclaimer that this will require math. Don't let that scare you- you can totally do this.
The post might feel a bit wordy, but I want to make sure you have the tools to figure out your own window- as the measurements will be different than mine. Before we begin, there are a couple of other wonderful tutorials out there that I have learned from here and here. If something is confusing, or you want to see a different way to make it- check them out.
- Blackout lining- usually found near the utility fabrics in your fabric store. (you don't have to use this, but it won't block as much light if you just use muslin or other fabric- and the sun rot will happen faster with regular fabric)
- brass rings (again, this helps with the sun rot, but you can use plastic as well)
- flat metal rod to weight the bottom of the shade (you can find these at your local home improvement store- you could also use a dowel if you need to)
- Wood to brace the shade to the window casing or wall (I like to use 1"X2")
- nylon string to pull the shade (along with the brass rings, this can be found in the curtain making section of Joann or Hobby Lobby)
- screw eye hooks (a round loop with a post with screw threads on it- you will run your string through this)
- staples and a staple gun (if you have them, if not, you can use flat thumb tacks.
- Drill and screws for hanging.
The first thing you need to do is measure your window. You need the height (top to bottom) and width (side to side). My window was 47" tall by 46 1/4" wide.
However, since this window is in the basement, I didn't want to install the shade in the window casing like you usually do- I didn't want to lose any of the light in my room. So, I decided I would mount my shade at the ceiling, so when it is open, all the fabric will hang on the wall and not cover the window. The added height made my new measurement 65" tall by 46 1/4" wide.
Now for the math. We need to add seam allowance on the sides, so when we sew the two pieces of fabric together, it will still fit the window. I am using a 1/2" seam allowance, so I need to add 1" to my width.
46 1/4" + 1"= 47 1/4"
For the height, we need to add the seam allowance AND enough fabric to wrap around our wood brace that holds the shade up- my brace was a 1"X2" piece of lumber (which actually measures 1/2" X 1 1/2")- so I added 1/2" (seam allowance) + 1/2" (short side of brace) + 1/2" (OTHER short side of brace) + 1 1/2" (one long side of brace)= 4"
65" + 4" = 69"
New measurement for fabric pieces: 47 1/4" X 69"
Cut out your fabric and black out lining to the dimensions you just calculated.
Pin the fabric and lining right sides together. Sew around 3 sides, leaving the top open.
Now, I'm going to show you a neat trick I learned from one of my readers a long time ago. It creates neat, crisp corners without clipping fabric. Are you excited? :)
First, fold the bottom seam along the sewn line. Next, fold over the side, also along the sewn line. Gather up the fabric so you are pinching both sides of the corner together (inside and outside), turn the fabric to the right side, pushing out the corner.
Now that our shade is sewn, we are ready to add the mechanics to make this work. Decide how you want your shade to hang when it is open. This is where you will have to fiddle with the measurements until you achieve the look you want. I like the look of a graduated shade where the pleats gradually get smaller, but if you want a more uniform shade, you can keep the pleats all the same size- just be aware that if your shade is long, it might bunch up with all the folds in the same place.
Now that you have the distance for the pleats, decide how many rows of rings you will need. The more rings you have the less it will droop (or you can use the dowel method from this tutorial). I am using 5 rows, I try to keep the space between rows less than 15", but sometimes it's just a number I pick. The first and last row will be 2" from the side of the shade, then divide the remaining space evenly into the remaining sections you have.
Here is my math: My shade is 46 1/4" wide. Two of my rows will be 2" from the sides, taking 4" off the span to be divided- 46"-4"= 42". Since I am doing 5 rows total, I have 3 rows left to space- leaving 4 sections between them. 42" / 4"= 10 1/2". My rings will be spaced from left to right: 2", 12 1/2", 23", 33 1/2" and 44".
This is not to scale, but hopefully it will give you an idea of how to space the rings.
Using your measurements for the spacing of the pleats and the rings, mark your fabric where the rings will go. Sew the rings on at each of the marked spaces, sewing through the lining and curtain fabrics. Using a seam ripper, make a small hole in one bottom, side corner big enough to allow the metal bar to slide in.
Fit the shade where you want it to go, then lift up the fabric to get to the brace underneath. Using the appropriate screws and a drill, mount the brace to the wall or window. All that is left is to mount a cleat or hook to wrap the string around to hold the shade open.