Typically, when making Roman shades, most workrooms create their shades on a board with the board perpendicular to the wall. The shade is then mounted with an angle iron or shelf bracket, which leaves open projections on both sides.
I recommend making all of your Roman shades with a one-by-two-inch
board to be mounted flat against the wall (illustration 1). You
gain three wonderful benefits by using this technique.
1. Your shade provides total privacy.
2. You greatly increase the shade’s insulating factor by creating
a dead air space between the shade fabric and the window itself.
Because there now is a projection of only about three-quarters of
an inch (the thickness of the board), the fabric lies right up against
the wood of the window frame.
3. It is easier to install! No brackets are required. You simply
put two-inch screws straight through the wood into the wall. Anyone
who can use a screwdriver can install a Roman shade made this way.
Cover your board with either the same lining or face fabric as the
shade. Lining works very well and is considered custom quality.
If the color of the lining showing at the ends of the board is too
obtrusive, using the face fabric will look better.
MAKING THE SHADE
• Lay out your lining and face fabric, right sides together.
If there are any seams, be sure to place them directly on top of
Draw the finished width of the shade onto the back side of the face
fabric, being careful to center the measurements over any specific
design that is desired to be the center of the finished shade. Also
draw a straight line 1/2 inch from the bottom of the fabric making
sure the shade is straight.
Serge or straight stitch along the lines. Sometimes the shade will
turn out to be slightly narrower when finished because of having
to turn it inside out. Not all of the fabric presses out at the
seams, taking up a little. To accommodate this slight shrinkage,
you can sew a tiny bit away from the lines.
• Sew a pocket along the bottom edge large enough to accommodate
your desired shade weight, usually an inch will do. Then turn a
three-inch bottom hem to the back of the shade. Hem by hand or on
the blind stitch hemmer. This technique keeps the pocket from showing
through the shade to the front. When the shade is finished, slit
the stitching at the end of the pocket, slide in the weight and
sew it shut again by hand.
• Determine the placement of the rings by the following guidelines:
the rows are usually between eight and 14 inches apart, and the
rings are usually about five to six inches apart vertically.
Calculate mathematically where your rings need to be, based on the
finished size. For example, if a shade is 42 inches wide, using
five rows of rings would place each row about 10 1/4 inches apart
(illustration 2). The outside rows are usually about 1/2 to one
inch from the edge of the fabric.
The first ring is placed at the top of the hem, which is three inches
from the bottom of the shade. Two inches of fabric will be hanging
in front of the board at the top of the shade. Therefore, five inches
of the shade fabric is already taken up, so subtract five inches
from the finished length.
Determine the vertical spacing of the rings by dividing by either
five or six. For example, if the shade is 43 inches long, subtract
five inches for a balance of 38 inches. Dividing 38 inches by five,
we find there would be seven spaces. Now divide the length of 38
inches by the seven spaces to determine that each space is about
5 1/2 inches (illustration 3).
• Place screw eyes into the edge of the mounting board, lining
them up directly above each row of rings. String each row with cord,
starting at the bottom ring and following up through the row and
through the screw eye. Thread through any adjacent screw eyes to
the desired side for the pull.
Tie each cord onto the first ring and be sure to put glue onto each
knot to assure that it does not slip out.
Make sure the tension on all of the knots is the same and tie all
of them together just below the last screw eye. Braid the cords
together all of the way to their ends and tie into another knot.
Lay the shade folded for a minimum of 24 hours.
Strickland is owner of Professional Drapery School, Swannanoa, NC,
and is an internationally acclaimed speaker with 20 years experience
in the window coverings industry. She is the publisher and editor
of Sew WHAT?, an international monthly newsletter for professional