9 Expert Tips on Making Roman Shades

1. Square the fabric

Nothing is worse than hanging your roman shade only to discover that your shade hangs lopsided… it twists… or just isn’t right. One of the main causes of this is that your fabric is not square. Make sure you use a T-Square or Right Angle tool when measuring and marking your fabric to cut. If your edges are square… then sewing your fabric to your lining is easier… and your roman shade will hang nicely.

2. Space your lift cords every 10″

Many people think that you only need 2 or 3 lift cords to operate a roman shade. Then when they go to raise the shade, the fabric swags in between the lift cords. That’s because there are not enough lift cords and they are not close enough together. You should space your lift cords about 10″ apart. This will guarantee that your roman shade does not swag in between cords.

3. Consider the hardware

Choosing the roman shade hardware is important. A basic installation of screw eyes and a cord cleat may be all you need. This is appropriate for lighter shades. One small upgrade of adding a cord lock will make operating your roman shade 10 times more enjoyable. A cord lock will have your roman shade operating like a blind. For heavier shade, replace the screw eyes with cord pulleys or cord idlers. These reduce the friction of the lift cord rubbing along the screw eyes… allowing for a smoother operation. For the ultimate, most professional result, consider a bead chain clutch system. These systems have a continuous loop bead chain that you pull… and your roman shade raises and lowers smoothly. Super nice!

4. Center the main panel when piecing

If your roman shade is wider than your fabric, you’ll need to piece your fabric. Be sure to place one full fabric width in the center of your shade. Then piece on each side the remaining width needed. This will make for a stronger roman shade, and you won’t have an unslightly seam in the middle of your shade.

5. Use a blind hem stitch

Try to avoid having too much stitching show on the front of your roman shade. Many times you just can’t avoid this. Try using a blind hem stitch to sew the bottom hem of your roman shade. Depending on how you sew the side seams, a blind hem stitch may be perfect to use here as well.

6. Use ribs

Adding roman shade ribs to your shade will help your shade pleat evenly and neatly as you raise it. Ribs are not required for making a roman shade, but they are a really nice to have. You can add ribs to your roman shade in a couple of ways. You can sew a casing at each row of rings and then insert the ribs. You can use an iron on rib tape that creates a casing at each row of rings without the extra sewing. And there is also a roman shade rib loop tape that you can sew across your shade instead of sewing on individual shade rings. This tape creates a casing and has loops to thread your lift cord.

7. End your lift cord with cord drops

Don’t forget about the lift cord that you pull to operate your shade. Condense them down to one lift cord with a cord condenser and then add a decorative cord drop at the end. You’ll enjoy looking at this small detail every time you go to raise or lower your roman shade.

8. Use roman shade orbs

Instead of tying your lift cord to the bottom rings of your roman shade, use a roman shade orb. These orbs are so easy to use and they save you a lot of time. You just slide one on at the end of each lift cord below the bottom rings… and you’re done! No more fussing with knots!

9. Sew with a long straight stitch

Make sure you extend the length of your straight stitch on your sewing machine to as long as it will go… before it becomes a basting stitch. A common problem when sewing roman shades is that the fabric will pinch or gather up. Sewing with a long stitch will help prevent this problem.