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How to Sew Roman Shades: 10 Simple Steps


Roman shades are an easy, cost-effective way to bring custom window treatments into your home. They come together quickly and are a breeze to tailor to your unique taste. The best part is that it’s fairly simple to learn how to sew roman shades.

Here’s how to sew roman shades to be mounted inside the window:
Step 1: First, gather your supplies. You will need to measure your window to determine the amount of fabric to purchase. Once you have your window measurements, add 4” to the width and 8” to the length. Unless you want your shade to be very sheer, you will also need lining fabric in an equal amount. If the shade will be in a bedroom, you can consider using blackout lining. Otherwise, anything that matches your main fabric is fine. You will also need ring tape (approximately four times the length of your shade), nylon cording, and thread to match. From the hardware store, pick up a wood board for the bottom of your shade (1” wide x ⅛” thick; the length should be equal to the finished width of your shade), a header board (1 ½” wide x ½ thick; again the length should be equal to the finished width of your shade, or just slightly smaller), and four screw eyes.

Step 2: Press a 2” hem on the sides and bottom of your main fabric. Be sure to miter the corners. You don’t need to worry about the top. Press a 2 ½” hem on the sides and bottom of your lining fabric.

Step 3: Lay your main fabric right side down. Place the lining fabric right side up (wrong sides should be facing each other), positioned about 2” from the bottom edge of the main fabric (to ensure you don’t see the lining peeking out from the right side). Pin in place.

Step 4: Sew main fabric and lining together along the sides and bottom. Again, you don’t need to worry about the top edge.

Step 5: Divide the ring tape into four equal sections. Place the ring tape about 5” from the top of the shade and leaving about 3” free at the bottom. The ring tape should be placed equal distance apart, so your measurements will depend on the size of your shade. I like to place the tape where the lining and main fabric meet on either side, and then two strips in the middle of the shade.

Step 6: Pin the ring tape and sew in place, through all thicknesses, with a narrow seam allowance.

Step 7: Next, slip the wood board into the bottom of the shade. You should have a little “pocket” created by the mitered corners.

Step 8: Using a staple gun, attach the shade to the header board. The width of the header board will be facing the top of your window casing. Wrap the header board so that the shade covers three sides of the board and staple in place (the staples will be hidden once the shade is mounted).

Step 9: Next, install the screw eyes. These should line up with the ring tape. Once the screw eyes are in place, you can add the nylon cording. With the shade face down, begin with the left strip of the ring tape. Tie the nylon cording to the bottom most ring, threading the cording through all rings and across the top of the header board, through the screw eyes. Repeat for each strip of ring tape, working left to right. At the end, you should have 4 separate cords (I usually knot them together). This is what you’ll use to raise and lower your shade.

Step 10: Finally, install the shade. There might be other ways to do this (particularly if you don’t own your home and want to avoid creating large holes), but I install roman shades by drilling through the header board and into the window casing.

Basically, if you can sew a straight line you know how to sew roman shades. I think the trickiest part is getting all the hardware in place so that the shade works properly.

Have you made roman shades before?

Interested in learning how to sew other window treatments? Check out the online Bluprint class Sewing Custom Valances. Come back to the Bluprint blog tomorrow for a step-by-step tutorial on sewing a stylish tote!



Great instructions but would be great to have diagrams or pics of the steps….


A couple of things. First, to get a truly custom look, the light gaps can be avoided by a metal weight bar rather than a lighter weight wood slat in the bottom hem, and more substantial side hems. Second, don’t use ring tape but hand or machine sew on individual rings. Any stitching lines on the front of the shade are not a good (or professional) look.


I love Roman shades. I have them in all my bedrooms, and my goal in making them was for them to be not only decorative, but functional: I had to be able to easily raise/lower them, and they needed to be room darkening. I accomplished this by using black out lining, and by inserting ribs into the folds to stiffen them so they could easily be raised and lowered. Years ago, when I made my first Roman shade, I discovered the website for Terrell Designs. She has complete instructions on the construction of the shades and the supplies with which to make them. One of the unique things that she recommends is feeding the cords through specially constructed pulleys instead of eye hooks – it enables the cords move more smoothly and freely when lifting and lowering the shade, and cuts down on wear on the cords from friction. There are a number of other websites with instructions and hardware, but hers is the first I’ve seen with the cord pulleys. I have been very satisfied with mine…I linked some photos in Dropbox if you’d like to see them.

Annette Chisholm

Terrell Designs is no longer available.
Would you still have the instructions on how you made your roman shades.I am looking to mount mine outside of the frame


i would also love the Terrell Design instructions if anyone has them.


The instructions above good however less detailed; diagrams would be essential, especially to the beginner. offer ample details, diagrams, calculator for fabric/hardware. They also offer all hardware on their website reasonably priced. I receive their newsletter where others send in photos of their projects; nice to see what others are doing. Craftsy is my “go-to” for just about every craft project and excels in every way. Just thought others could benefit from both sources to construct professionally made Roman Shades. Happy sewing!


I agree, I am a visual learner and while your written directions are good, they would be even better if you had included pictures as you frequently do, step-by-step, as this much easier to understand with visuals.


I think you did just fine. Sometimes people use too many pictures for unnecessary steps. Do you think this type of shade would be appropriate for a 10 foot window?


Great step by step guide to sewing Roman shades. Without doubt the most important step is the first. Good preparation means you will know what you need and how much of it. Always over compensate so as to give you room for error and save you a trip back to the store.

Jean Head

I sew for the public. I have a customer who wants a Roman Shade made with the rings between the decorator fabric and lining. ( concealed rings) I have never had this request. Have you experience with this type of roman shade? thanks for any help.

Jenna Bumersbach

thanks for this post and… any chance you know what fabric you used in the photo? it’s so pretty…


It’s good you have shared such valuable post. Thank you for sharing.


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