Stagecoach Romans are so easy to make. They do have cords and screw eyes, but they have no rings! When the cords are pulled, the shades roll up from the bottom. Because the cords pull from the backside of the fabric, the shade automatically rolls to the back.
Ties are used to secure the bottom of the shade at the desired height and to add interest to the otherwise completely flat shade. Only soft and relatively wrinkle-resistant fabrics should be used for this treatment. Chintz is not a good choice.
Stagecoach shades must be pillow cased. Lay out the lining right side up. Place the face fabric on top of the lining right side down. Next, draw the finished width onto the fabric being careful that your lines are straight and that your horizontal pattern is properly placed within the shade. Draw a straight line across the bottom of the fabric allowing for the seam allowance.
Serge, straightstitch or seal with iron-on hemming tapes the two sides and bottom. Turn inside out and press. You might find the shade is slightly narrower now. Not all of the fabric presses out of the seams. I like to make my marks 1/8-inch wider than the finished size to allow for this shrinkage.
Cut a piece of 1 1/4- to 1 3/8-inch wood pole to a length equal to the exact width of your shade. Cover the ends of the pole with small pieces of the face fabric by stapling or gluing.
Fold the bottom of the shade to the back to form a pocket big enough to snugly fit the wood pole. Straightstitch the pocket, put in the wood pole and staple the fabric to the pole with one or two staples at each end of the pole on the back of the shade. Doing this keeps the pole from sliding out.
Now, wrap the fabric onto a covered board at the correct finished length, cutting off any unnecessary excess fabric. Staple to the board.
The cords start at the top of the board (stapled in place or tied onto screw eyes), wrap up around the backside of the board and over the top. The cord falls to the bottom of the shade, wraps under it to the back and extends up to the screw eyes as shown in Illustration 1.
Only two cords are used. They must be set in from the edges about three to six inches to assure that they do not slide off the shade. As you can see in Illustration 2, the cords will always show on the front of the shade unless the ties happen to be as long as the shade itself, in which case the ties will hide the cords. Otherwise, if the fabric is a dark color and having the cords show is a problem, you can dye most cords to match the fabric and camouflage them.
Usually the ties are about 1 1/2 inches wide and long enough to create a bow or simple knot. They can be untied to lower the shade or simply slipped off the side of the shade to continue their decorative effect. The shade can be secured in place by tying the cords around a cleat. I recommend placing any extra cord around a cleat no mater how the shade is held up (ties or locking pulley, etc.) to prevent an infant or child from getting tangled in them and chocking.
The stagecoach shade ties require some fussing each time the shade is pulled up—it doesn’t roll up straight every time. For this reason it is not recommended for high-use windows. This shade really is appropriate only for narrow windows.
Also, be aware that because the fabric on the back of the shade rolls up tighter than the fabric on the front (because when pulled up it rolls up on the inside, smaller circle of the wood pole), the back fabric will fold into small tucks and wrinkles.
Cheryl 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 drapery workrooms.