Sunday, February 06, 2011

DIY: Fixed Roman Shade

Alrighty folks... you asked for it, a tutorial on how to make your own fixed roman shade.  This may not be the right way to make them... but this is how I make them.  When I say "fixed"-- I mean that it cannot be raised up or down, opened or closed-- it's only function is to look pretty.  I had some extra black and white fabric (it's from here) kicking around my place and a free afternoon, so I decided to whip one up for the downstairs bathroom.

Here's what you need:
  • Fabric of your choice for the front of the shade (aka-- pretty fabric)-- the amount of material needed depends on the size of your window-- a yard per shade was more than enough for mine.
  • Fabric to line the curtain-- drapery lining works marvelously, and it's cheap ($3.00 a meter)
  • velcro-- 1" wide-- I buy mine by the meter at Fabricland
  • 2 lengths of 1/4" wooden dowels cut to that are cut slightly smaller than the width of your window
  • 1 1x2 cut to the width of your window (used to mount the shade to the inside of your window)
  • A couple of wood screws 
  • Staples and a staple gun

Here's how to make it:

Step 1:  Measure the width of your window (most important measurement to get accurate!) and come up with a general measurement of how long you want the shade to be-- this will depend on how tall your windows are.  My shades take up approximately 1/3 of the window.

Step 2:  Cutting time.  Cut a rectangle that is as wide as your window and add 1 1/2" per side as a seam allowance (if you're using a solid fabric you can just add 3", but if you're working with a pattern, you'll want to center your rectangle on the part of the pattern you want to highlight and then add 1 1/2" on either side.  I don't use a specific formula for figuring out the length (it will depend on how you want your folds to look) so I just give it as much length as possible-- usually the full width of the material (usually around 54")  I generally have 12-16" left at the end.  Next cut the piece of drapery lining for the back of your roman shade.  Cut it the exact width of your window-- I cut mine 27" since my window is 27" wide.  It's rocket science I tell you...

Step 3:  Pull out your iron-- AKA your BFF (when you're sewing, that is).  Using your measuring tape as a guide, fold over 1/2" on either side of your fabric and iron it down.  Then lay your lining onto the wrong side of your material and fold either side over 1" on either side so that the sides of your fabric cover the edges of your lining.  Iron and pin it down so that it's not going anywhere.  Re-measure at several points along the length of your panel to make sure it is EXACTLY the right size.  Use a metal tape measure for this-- it works better.  If the shade is too small, it's going to look funny and if it's too big, it's not going to fit.  Now is the time to make sure you have it right.  Then, stitch down either side of the panel making sure that you are stitching through the lining-- this secures the lining to the pretty fabric and gives you a nice finished hem all in one step.

It will look something like this...  (well it should)

Step 4:  Velcro!  I use velcro to secure my roman shades to the windows.  This makes them easy to pull them off if you need to wash or replace them.  Here's what to do.  Fold over the top of your panel about 1/2" to 3/4" and iron it down.  Then fold over again 1 1/2" and iron again.  Then take the loop side (soft side) of your velcro, cut the piece to fit, and pin it onto the part you've just folded over.  Then stitch along either side of the velcro you've just pinned on.  Quick tip, I pin the velcro closer to the bottom folded edge rather than the top, so that when I stitch along the bottom I have a better chance of catching the folded edge tucked under the velcro in my seam.  Here are a couple of pictures:

Fold over once...

Fold over twice.  Don't forget to iron!!

Pin on the loop side (it's the soft side) of your velcro.

Once it's stitched along either side, it will look something like this from the front.

Step 5:  Make the folds.  Like I mentioned before, I like to have my shades take up the top third of my window.  I make the top fold (or pleat) the longest-- on this shade it was approximately 10".  Pin it.  Pin it good.

Step 6:  Tack it.  I've opted to tack my folds together on my shades.  Once the fold is pinned together, I tack it together about 2" up from the bottom of the fold every few inches along the width of the shade. This holds the fold together nicely, and it's more subtle than straight stitching all the way across.

I have no idea what this is actually called-- but I call it a tack stitch.  Basically-- I set my machine up to do a wide zig zag stitch and then set the length to zero.  Instead of sewing a seam, my machine sews the same stitch over and over again in place.  It looks something like this.

Step 7:  Sew a hidden pocket for the first length of dowelling.  To help the shade hold it's shape, I hide a piece of dowelling at the top and at the bottom.  The first piece of dowelling has it's own hidden pocket to keep it in place.  Once the first fold is tacked into place, I flip the shade over and then pin right sides together to create a pocket for the dowelling.  Sew together with a straight stitch-- make sure the pocket is wide enough to fit the dowelling.

Step 8:  Create the rest of your folds.  I made the next two folds 2" long (2" from the bottom of the previous fold to the bottom of the fold you are now creating).  Just pin and tack them in place like the first one.  For these folds I've tacked them just underneath the previous fold so that the stitches are hidden.

Step 9:  Hem the bottom.  Once you've figured out how much of a hem you would like to see at the bottom of your shade, pin it in place.  Straight stitch across the bottom.

Step 10:  Create pocket for the second piece of dowelling.  Once the bottom seam is in place, flip the shade over.  Cut off the excess material leaving a 1 1/2" allowance.  Turn over the edge 1/2", press, and pin.  Then straight stitch across.  This will finish the edge and a create a hidden pocket for the second piece of dowelling.  Putting a piece of dowelling at the bottom gives the shade weight-- this allows it hang nicely and keep its shape.

Step 11:  Install.  Mount a piece of 1x2 (cut the width of your window) to the top of your window frame with screws.  Staple the hook side of the velcro (scratchy side) to the wood.  (I get Doug to do this part for me :)

And finally... attach the shade!!  ('m waiting for Doug to put up the wood/velcro piece in the downstairs bathroom, so I put up the finished product in my upstairs bathroom to take a quick picture)

Clear as mud?

Happy sewing everyone!  If anyone decides to attempt this project, please send me a picture!  I would love to see what you all create!


Erica said...

hot sewing machine in the background!!!

Trev and Rebekah said...

Maybe you can start a sewing tutorial job or something like that?!

Melissa said...

Thanks for the step by step! I want to try this, so I will put it on my list of things to do. I might not get to it until spring/summer - but I am inspired to try it! Keep sharing your craftiness with us!

Waseem said...

looking all the shades.

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Wallpapers said...

The fixed flat fold roman shades are excellent. Have a loook at it

Dagmar said...

Thanks for a great Tutorial! The fixed Roman Shade looks FANTASTIC! I love the idea of the velcro. But, I have a question; How was the 1x2 board attached to the frame of the window? Thanks!

Unknown said...

I love your choice of fabric. I think it has a great print. It definitely looks perfect for a fixed roman shade. You provided such clear instructions of the procedure that it would make it easier for our friends out there to replicate your techniques. Thanks for sharing!
Greg Arnett

Penelope Sanchez said...

I did five fixed roman shades for our family room. Thanks for your tutorial!

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This is an interesting blog that you have posted. You shared a lot of things about Roman Shade.
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Nelson Alarm said...

That shade is so pretty! I really love it! Great job!

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