Roman Shades: It’s Ok if You Aren’t Perfect


My mother is cringing at that title.

When we moved into this house, I ripped out pretty much all the mini-blinds in the house. I hate them. I hate dusting them, I hate the wee little plastic bar you have to use to open and close them, I hate the rustling racket they make when the wind hits them. Some would count this as a silly, impulsive and potentially expensive move, not unlike the time where I threw out the fireplace door before realizing I could have just painted that ugly brass, and my crawling infant then would not have climbed in the fireplace so many times.

Instead, I lived my life as an open book, without window coverings for more than a year. But the sun room gets pretty warm in the summer with five windows and I needed some shade solutions.

After getting where I wanted with paint, I decided to tackle the windows. I found window treatment suitable fabric on at far less than what I would have paid at Hobby Lobby (the only fabric store in town). The fabric was 36 inches wide, and since my windows were 34 inches high, I thought I could save even more money by turning the fabric sideways and using the width to cover the length. (Get it?) I knew I’d have to have a tiny hem, but I thought I could do it.

I did, and it worked reasonably, but in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t gone the cheap-out route. If I’d had more fabric, I would have hung the shades almost to the ceiling, creating the illusion of height under the drop ceiling. I definitely could have ordered more fabric and still done the shades that way, but I decided against it. There was less sewing that way.


I more or less used this tutorial. One of the reasons these shades didn’t turn out perfectly is that I’m SO BAD AT MATH. Measuring=not my thing.

I’d made roman shades with blackout material for the baby’s room several months ago and used a Hobby Lobby instruction sheet. Those direction involved using a fabric tape with the plastic rings already sewn on. I thought using just rings might be simpler, and while there was less sewing, there was also more measuring, which… well, see above.


Don’t be like me and have to resew on rings after the shades are already attached to the wall.


A staple gun made quick work of attaching the thin piece of wood to the fabric. The wood was then fastened to the wall with screws, underneath the fabric, like so:


I recommend having a handy and handsome husband around for installation purposes.


Take note: tiny children will think it’s fun to hide behind these. Hiding is a super fun activity in our house right now, even if the hidee is actually in plain sight, he thinks it’s awesome if you pretend you can’t see him so he can jump out and say, “Boo!”


Some splendid eye hooks installed in the window frame help run the cord for shade function.


A helpful idea from the above tutorial is to use a metal rod to weight your shades so they hang right. I used scrap pieces I had in the garage (because they were FREE!), but they weren’t quite the right length, so it’s not as good as it could be. So I recommend finding pieces that are the proper length.


And before you see the finished product, let’s just be honest here. This is not one of those Young House Love oh-we-just-threw-it-together-and-look-it’s-amazing projects. There were three trips to Lowe’s and four trips to Hobby Lobby during installation. Yes, I ordered/bought shade cord three separate times. Be ye not like me. Pay attention in math class.


You can see that they don’t line up perfectly or fold exactly the same, but you know what? I made them, and I’m pretty happy with them. All in all, it cost about $70 in materials, including fabric.


And let the record show that for five 24×34 windows, one should order 31 yards of shade cord, not 13 as originally estimated.

They may be imperfect, but they are my shades.

Any tips from you from your shade-making forays?


One thought on “Roman Shades: It’s Ok if You Aren’t Perfect

  1. I gotta admit: you pegged me right when you said I would cringe at the title. That being said, I do love the fabric and the look. You are getting so crafty and industrious! And you do have a way with words.

    A word of advice: don’t turn the fabric horizontally, like you did for these shades, to make curtains. They will NEVER hang straight, and you know how that will drive me nuts!

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