Hey friends!

I get asked about my roman shades all the time.  I decided it was time to change mine out, and I thought this would be a great time to attempt a tutorial.  You should be warned…. I feel like writing this tutorial is harder than making the darn shades… Just saying 😉

So, here we go.  If you can sew a straight line, you can make these. Promise!

You need to measure your window.  You can make these wider than your window, but for mine I prefer to mount them on the insides of the window.  Measure your window width and write it down.


I decided to use good old drop cloth for mine!

Cheap and easy, and I will be stenciling it in a later step.

Your fabric needs to be cut 1″ wider than your window width, and 8″ longer than your window length.

You will also need your liner fabric.  You can find drapery liner at any craft store.  Your liner needs to be cut the same length as your other fabric, but 1″ smaller than your window width.

Lay your fabrics out.  Fold each fabric up 3″ from the bottom to create a hem on each piece. Sew a straight line on each piece to hold this hem in place.

Now you will attach both pieces together like a giant pillowcase with the top and bottom open.  Place the good sides of both fabric pieces together a do a straight stitch up both of the long sides.

Now for the dowels…

I use dowel rods to keep my shades folding clean and pretty.  You can buy these at any craft store up to 36″ and Lowe’s sells them up to 48″.  I use 1/4″ diameter dowels.  Cut each dowel about 4″ less than the width of your window.  My window measures 30″, so my dowels are cut at 26″.  I just used a really sharp pair of scissors to cut mine.

I use Aleene’s Tacky Glue to attach the dowels to the fabric.  This is what the bottle looks like.

You’re going to be attaching your dowels on the inside of your fabric piece, not your liner.  Lay your fabric out flat on the ground.

Measure 9″ up from the bottom of your hem.  Add a line of glue to attach your first dowel like this…

Now you will attach your other dowels.  Measure 7″ up and glue down your next one.  You will glue the dowels every 7″ until you get to the top of your fabric.  It should look like this…

After your glue dries you will turn your fabric piece inside out.  This can be a little tricky with the dowels, but just do it slowly and it’s easy. The front fabric piece will be just a bit wider than your liner fabric on the sides.  Now it’s time to attach the rings.  You can buy plastic rings at any craft store in the drapery or fabric section.

This is the tedious part because you have to sew these on with a needle and thread.  It’s easy though!  Starting with your bottom dowel, sew on three rings.  You will sew one one each side and one in the middle.  Put your thread in through the liner, or backside first. You will actually go through the front of the fabric also.  Your thread will show just a bit on the front, so make sure to use a thread color that blends with your shade fabric.  You won’t notice it at all when the shade is down.

Also, make sure you sew your thread around the dowel.

There will be three rings on every other dowel until your reach your top dowel.

Next, you need to attach your shade to a 1×2.  These are super cheap. They can be easily cut with a cheap hand saw, or Lowe’s can cut them for you also. It needs to be 1/4″ smaller than the width of your window.  Attach 3 eye hooks to one side of the wood like this.

Then, measure your fabric from the bottom hem.  Draw a line on the back liner fabric at the length of your window.  Attach the fabric to the wood at this line using a staple gun.

Cut any extra fabric off after you staple it.

Your final step before hanging it up will be attaching drapery cord.  This can also be purchased at any craft store.  Tie the cord to the bottom right ring and then string it through the rings above and through the eye hooks like this…

After going through your third eye hook cut the string at about 3-4′ and leave it to the side.

Now do the same thing starting with your middle bottom ring like this…

Finally, do the same thing starting with your bottom left ring.  You will then have three long strings out to the side of your shade.  I use a fan pull for my cord pull.  I found mine at Lowe’s.  Just run your three cord pieces through the pull and tie a knot like this…

Pull the knot into the pull like this…

Almost done I promise!

To hang your shades you will use an L bracket like this.  Again, found mine at Lowe’s.  Measure where your 1×2 will sit and attach them to your window like this…

Now you will put your shade up on your 1×2 and screw a wood screw up through the bottom of the L bracket like this to hold it in place.

That’s it!  I know it sounds like 4385734598743095 steps, but I promise it is super easy!  It’s just really hard to put the steps into good words, so hopefully the pictures will help with that.  If you have any questions just ask!  You can also ask me on Facebook for a quick answer.  Want to see it all finished??

I used plastic cord cleats like this (Lowe’s) to hold my cord…

Hope you like them!  These babies will last too!  I have had my other ones hanging for almost 3 years.  I open and close them every day and have never had a problem with them.

If you like them, please Pin it, Stumble it, and Share it below! I would appreciate it!! 🙂

Have a great weekend!


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  1. Hi! I love these and I am slowly working my way through your tutorial, adjusting as I need to for my specific situation. I have a question . . . It looks as if you hemmed each of the lining and the fabric separately before stitching them together along the long sides. But . .. do you at some point stitch closed the bottom or does it remain open. I realize that sometimes we can leave out steps when writing directions, and I’m trying to use my brain and think this through logically on my own, but I don’t have a lot of experience. Thought I’d ask before making a “judgement call”. Thanks for any help . . . ~Jan

    1. If you are referring to the bottom of each piece… I did hem each piece as mentioned in the post. When the shade is finished, the bottom is left open and not attached. This helps to keep the fabric from puckering, and I like the finished look better. Hope this helps!

  2. You should add a note about the seam allowance. I did 1/4 inch seams but didn’t realize I should have factored that into making the fabric longer. So now I have four 1/4 inch seams and my shade came up exactly one inch short. Gonna have to redo it and use it on a smaller window somewhere. Not sure why I just assumed go with small 1/4 inch seams and I would be fine.

      1. Yes, the side seams. I didn’t do ‘allowance’ because you said to cut the fabric 1 inch bigger and the liner 1 inch shorter than the window. Maybe I thought this factored in the allowance? Now I realize why I am an inch short because I have four 1/4″ seams and didnt factor an allowance to them. Maybe just add an asterisk for fabric and liner length to actually make the fabric 1.5″ longer and the liner 0.5″ short. This would factor 1/4″ allowance. My wife and I don’t sew very often, I wasn’t trying to over think this tutorial, but knew I may have been doing it wrong, only after the fabric was cut.

        1. Yep, I had the same problem. I just hung up my shades and was trying to figure out why they were too narrow. The wood of the 1×2 shows on each side (if I cut it shorter, it wouldn’t attach well to the L bracket). I assumed that when it said cut one inch more than window width, that’s what it meant!

          1. I made my shades exactly as I mentioned in the post. I’m sorry you weren’t happy with your results. Thanks so much for your sweet message 🙂

          2. Don’t get me wrong – I love the shades. However, I followed the directions exactly and I am not a sewing novice either. I used a 1/4″ seam allowance and have only about 1/2″ of the front fabric showing on the back. The shades are 1/2″ too small on each side of the window. I checked my measurements several times before, during, and after.

            I am hoping to figure this out since I would love to use this tutorial for a friend’s kitchen. Thankfully, it doesn’t matter so much in my little girl’s room – I’ll just paint the 1×2’s to match the wall color. But my friend will need 5 of these shades for her kitchen. . .

          3. I actually like mine a bit shy of the window so they don’t crease on the sides when they are closed. Again… Thanks for the sweet message! Have a great day 🙂

  3. Awesome stuff! Just a question though. How would you do this kind of curtain for a wide window. Not sure the exact measurements yet but it’s almost as wide as the room. If I made just one shade I’m guessing it would be a chore to pull the draw string. If I made four thinner ones, the cords for the middle two wouldn’t have anywhere to be stashed. Is there a solution?

  4. I just completed 4 shades for my kitchen windows using your guide. Thank you so much for putting this out there. It was very easy to follow and the shades look great.

  5. You can mount them on the outside too. They dont need to be mounted inside the frame. I made living dining room drapes this way. They were huge. I didnt staple them to the top wood, but used 2 Xs the top wood, and just wrapped the fabric over the one closest to the curtain. Then put the second piece of wood on and screwed them to the wall just above the frame. The fabric is caught between the two boards. It doesnt take many screws to hold it there either.

    They can be cleaned that way. Just unscrew remove the string and wash. I also used steel bars, like used for cyclone fencing to weight the bottoms. I didnt glue any dowels on them? Just sewed the rings on. You can also use the ring tape too.

    They will fold as they are pulled up. I insulated mine too =) .

  6. Love these, and you did a wonderful job explaining the steps. This is most definitely my next DIY project. My husband has been wanting new curtains, and this is just what I want, but buying them is too expensive.

  7. Great tutorial. I am going to use this to make some for my kitchen and guest room. I do have a few of the same questions that others have had; such as: Do the pictures you took show the shade pulled up all the way? In other
    words, can the shade be pulled up higher than that? I’m wondering
    because I would like to lose as little as the view as possible with my
    shades. Would I just make my sections less than 7”? Do you ever sew the bottom hems together (after you flip the dowels to
    the inside)? Or do you leave the bottom open like the original

    1. You can pull them up higher… However low you place that first dowel from the 1×2 will be the length when it is fully pulled up. You can space the dowels as far or close together as you want to get a different look. I don’t ever sew the bottom hems. You cant tell they are not sewn at all, and it helps the fabric not to pucker up. Hope this helps!!

  8. Just wanted to let you know this is the most comprehensive and best looking Roman shade tutorial I’ve seen! Thank you!

  9. Finally….Easy. Peasy directions. I understand these I had bought a pattern a few years ago and I never made my shades seemed like to much work. Love your shades and thanks for simplifying it for someone who has very limited sewing skills.

  10. Great tutorial. I’m actually in the process of making it with your step by step instructions and have a question!! Do you ever sew the bottom hems together (after you flip the dowels to the inside)? Or do you leave the bottom open like the original pillowcase?? Thank you!!

  11. GREAT instructions. I’ve been wanting to do this for quite some time, and these directions have definately given me the confidence to proceed. Mine will be in a kitchen/family room, so I am going to sew pockets to accept the wooden dowels and use velcro on the 1 x 2 top strip of wood. This way I should be able to remove the shades and launder them. THANKS for a terrific post and I’ll let you know how they turn out

  12. Hi, I came across your blog by doing a google search for roman shades. I’ve pinned it as I know it is the easiest to understand tutorial out there. : ) I do have one question though. Do the pictures you took show the shade pulled up all the way? In other words, can the shade be pulled up higher than that? I’m wondering because I would like to lose as little as the view as possible with my shades. Would I just make my sections less than 7”? Thanks for any feedback!

  13. This is so just what I was looking for. Most of our windows are 72″ long though — would this hang as well with a width like that? Would you add an extra column of rings?

  14. Thank you soooo much! I’ve always wanted to learn how to make these. The step-by-step pictures are great! Beautiful 🙂

  15. This is great-thanks! I’ve been wanting roman shades for our bedroom for the longest time,but have been scared to do them as my sewing skills only extend as far as pillows and tablecloths so far,but these directions make it so clear I might be able to do them. Hey I was just wondering though-I can’t read all the directions because this column comes on the middle of the page with all these buttons? for Like,share,tweet,etc. Anybody else get that or know how to get it off so I can read all of the informative post?

    1. I hope I can explain this (and I hope it works). If you change the size of the print on the page to make it smaller, sometimes those things will line up. To do so, hold down the CTRL key along with the – (minus or hyphen, whatever you want tocall it). To make the print larger, hold down the CTRL key along with the + key (the plus key….I’m sure you figured that out). That sometimes helps when I need to line things up. Hope that helps.

      Just had another thought. Can you drag that column to the side of the page?

      Happy Valentines’ Day!!