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Anyone Ever Make a Roman Shade?

Started by jojo, September 07, 2013, 02:01:22 am

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 If so, any words of wisdom? There seem to be lots of different ways to make one. I just want to make sure it folds properly.
Also, it needs to be 62 inches wide, finished. How would you seam the fabric - one seam down the middle, or big center panel with 2 narrow panels flanking it?


My wife and I have made a few of these.   Well, she sewed them and I did the cornices and the installation.

She says typically the patterns and online guides have you do one wide center panel and two side panels.   Might depend on the pattern/repeat, etc.

She cheated on the one sitting behind me, it's about 72" wide  -- she bought a fabric shower curtain.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison


September 07, 2013, 04:03:55 am #2 Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 12:26:48 pm by gene

Yes. And a few Roman togas many moons ago.

A big rule of thumb is never have a seam going down the middle of anything. I happen to agree with this. Anything, window treatments, the inside backs of sofas, boxed cushions, etc., always look weird to me when there is a seam going down the middle. It may be easier to match a pattern once for the center seam rather than matching the pattern twice so there are two seams, one to the left and one to the right of center, but I think it makes a big difference.

Quoteone seam down the middle, or big center panel with 2 narrow panels flanking it?

No to the center seam. Either a big center panel with 2 narrow or 3 even panels - which ever looks best for your fabric. If it doesn't make a difference, I'd do the big panel and 2 small ones because that is easier. You'll also need to seam the lining on the back. I tend to do the lining on the back with one big panel and 2 narrow panels on the sides because this is easier than 3 even and either one looks ok from the outside.

Here's my favorite web site for Roman shades


She even has a calculator that you put in all you measurements and it will tell you how many folds and what sizes, etc.

This is the kind of web site that I try to buy at least some things from. She does a great job of helping people save a lot of time.

I've got several Top Down / Bottom Up shades on my to do list. - (for my house. Cornice boards with wood frames covered with fabric are the only window treatments I do along with my furniture upholstery work. I refer soft window treatment requests to two soft window treatment workshops here in town.) I'm confident my TD/BUs will turn out great because of the help this web site gives me.

Best regards,




I am going to say Bobbin will probably be the expert in this area. She makes drapes/curtains as part of her offerings so has probably made them.

I myself have never made them. I will have to look into it though as we need new curtains for a couple windows here.



September 07, 2013, 07:28:26 pm #4 Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 07:52:47 pm by bobbin
Never, EVER, centre a seam on any window treatment.  Always make sure there is a full panel of the face fabric and whatever needs to be added to achieve the full width is added evenly to both sides of the centre panel.  ALWAYS!  and any seams for lining should be aligned directly over the seams of the face fabric.  

Roman shades are, IMO, the most persnickety of all window treatments.  Your measurements have to be right on the snapper and you have to make sure all pattern alignments are spot on.  When you mark for ring placement everything has be square vertically and horizontally or the shade won't work properly and neatly.  And you have to "train" the shade before it's installed.  "Training" means that you have to prefold the shade in your shop to set the folds so that once installed the shade will naturally follow those preset folds when it's retracted in situ. 

Also, pay attention to safety regulations with respect to cording!  Be very careful about liability with respect to safety regulations for shades requiring cordage. 


Thanks guys. Coming from a marine background, this is a challenge for me. Heck, I have to control the urge to spray glue the lining to the shade.  ;)
Gene, I watched tons of videos on youtube and found that Terrell Designs made the most sense.
The fabric is a heavy solid, so I thought maybe I could get away with the center seam thing. But that would look goofy.
Bobbin, one of the videos I watched said not to worry about the seam linings, because they are never seen anyway. Do you think lining up the seam placement contributes to smoother operation?


Lining seams over one another matters if you're not using a blackout lining.  If you don't, when the sun is behind the shade you will see the shadow of the lining seam line (ask me how I learned this). 

Good question about smoother operation, and I don't know the answer, I've just always done it and couldn't comment otherwise.  I chuckled at your comment about spraying adhesive to attach the lining; there is a product out there for making roller shades that does exactly that.  I've never tried it, you use an iron to fuse it, and there is a roll on adhesive for the same purpose.  It's in the Rowley catalogue. 


I like the "training" bobbin.  ;D
I have done a few blinds & curtains, never though of calling it that.
Made me smile. Thanks.  ;)



I would think it would be better to have the seam horizontal and hiding in a fold


QuoteI would think it would be better to have the seam horizontal and hiding in a fold

When the shade is lowered completely you would see the seam running across the Roman shade. Yuk!

Also, let's say you have a fabric that has a print of naked people sailing on a boat. If the fabric is 54" wide, and the Roman shade is 64" wide, you could run the fabric as you suggested, but then you would have naked people sailing up the Roman shade or sailing down the Roman shade, depending on how you oriented the fabric.

If you want the naked people to be sailing heads up, or is it bottoms down???, you would need to run seams vertically to get the desired width for a 64" Roman shade - adding to the existing width of the fabric - 54".

And, some window treatment fabric has a stronger warp thread than a waft thread and they are meant to hang that way.




Lol, Gene!

Drapery fabric is nearly always printed down the goods.  You cut off the selvedges and you join widths to get the match.  Failure to cut off the selvedge (or at least clip through it) can affect the way the fabric falls (it "puckers" or sags in the centre).  It's really important to check the tension on your machine, too.  IMO, a true walking foot machine is not the machine to join widths of drapery weight fabric, but if it's all you have available... go with a light needle (16) and the lightest thread you have (69) and make sure the tension is loose and "free" on the bias of the goods. 

I prefer to use my needle feed machine, a size 14 needle, and 46 thread to join widths and construct window treatments.  I only use polyester thread so I don't worry about sun-fastness or strength. 


Bobbin, the only other machine I have other than the walking foot is a home sewing machine.  Which would you use? It sews pretty well with upholstery weight thread, but I haven't tried to sew anything really heavy with it.
Gene, thanks for the heads up. I've returned my "Naked Sailors" fabric to the distributor.


I'd probably do a stitch test on each one, JoJo.  In Boss's shop I only had access to a walking foot machine and heavy needles and thread.  I found it really was tough on the occasional "home dec." projects taken on which is why I suggested "lightening up" the walking foot set up if you're able. 



In regards to these naked people...............Do you have any pic's ?




In regards to where to put the seam on a pattern of naked people. I seem to remember a certain magazine that always stapled them in the navel. :D
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