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This past October, after dodging Hurricane Matthew, my husband helped some of our neighbors take their hurricane shutters down. After helping, he came home saying that our roman shades looked atrocious from a distance. I guess that when you’re standing on a ladder, 15 feet in the air, you see everything from a very different perspective.
Here is why the roman shades have been neglected.
Reason #1: as soon as the first cord got tangled and -later on- broke, they became a nuisance. They didn’t go either up or down. Stuck. Forever.
Reason #2: I have had other priorities. No shame. But the comment my husband made that day was a wake-up call. It was time to finally tackle a no-sew roman shades project I have saved for years on my DIY Pinterest board.
How to Make No Sew Roman Shades
To make your own no sew roman shades you will need:
- X amount of yards of fabric of your choice – My windows are 36 in W x 54 in H. I used my old roman shades as a guide to purchasing the right amount of fabric. In my case, I used a little under 2 yards per window.
- 2 or 3 –5/8 inch tension rods. Since the width of my windows is 36 in, I purchased tension rods that expand from 28 – 48 inches. Purchase yours according to your measurements.
- One roll of Fusible Bonding Web
- Fabric Scissors
- Tape Measure
- Iron (not pictured)
Step 1 – Cutting The Fabric to Size
Fabric bolts width varies from 32 inches to 64 inches, sometimes even wider. To make roman shades, consider the width of your window and purchase a fabric with enough width. In most cases, you will have to cut excess. To define your the length of the fabric, measure how tall your windows are, and add -on average- 12 inches to allow for the roman shade loops. To that, add another 8 to 10 inches for hemming on each side.
Here is my math:
Window height: 54 in
Extra fabric for loops: 10 inches
Hemming for pocket for a 5/8″ tension rod: 3 inches
Hemming for bottom: 2 inches
Total length needed: 69 inches
Fold the length of the fabric in half. This is to make it easier when cutting the width.
- To the width of your window add 4 inches. This is to allow 2 inches on each side of the fabric for hemming. Mark the final width with a pin. This is your guide to start cutting.
- Proceed to cut lengthwise right at the point where you placed the pin. That’s the total width (including the 4 inches).
- Fold the remnant (on the left of the picture) as you go, and use it as a guide to cut in a straight line. Have a measuring tape handy to double check you’re cutting in a straight line.
Step 2 – Hemming the Sides
In this step, you will be hemming the sides with fusing tape. Take this step three times: one time for each side of the fabric’s length, and one time on one side of the fabric’s width (bottom of the roman shade).
- Place the fabric lengthwise, in front of you.
- Using a measuring tape, measure 1 inch all along the length, and pin the fabric approximately every 6 inches.
- With an iron, set in the appropriate temperature for the fabric, start pressing the fold, removing the pins as you move along.
- Once the entire length has been pressed, fold again another 1 inch. Pin every 6 inches, and press again.
This double hemming hides the rough edge of the fabric and prevents fraying. It gives the roman shade a clean finish.
How to hem using fusible tape
- Open slightly the second 1 in-fold and start to unroll the fusible tape, as shown in picture below.
- Follow the instructions in the package of the fusible tape you choose to use. In my case, we had to use a damp cloth and press (not iron) on each side of the fabric to activate the adhesive.
- Press and repeat as necessary, until the fabric is bonded.
Note: remember to repeat step 2, two more times. One time for the other side of the fabric’s length, and one time on one side of the fabric’s width. That’s the bottom of the roman shade.
Step 3 – Making a Pocket for The Tension Rod
Once you have 3 sides of your fabric hemmed and bonded, proceed to make a pocket for the tension rod in the other end of the fabric. This will be the top of your roman shade. I was a little intimated by the fact that I had to make a pocket. But my common sense guided me :). Here is what you have to do.
- Fold the first 1 inch and press and place the rod right in front of that fold as shown in the picture below.
- Wrap the rod with the fabric (like rolling a burrito), until the rod is snug but it can still move freely.
- Pin the fabric all along the width, and pull the rod out.
- Carefully, bond with fusible tape as you did on the other two hems. This time, watch you don’t fuse the area where the rod will go.
- As an extra step, I decided to insert the rod again once the fabric used fused, and press all along the rod. This allowed for a very snug tension rod.
Your Roman Shade is Done – Here is a final look of mine!
How to Hang Your Roman Shades
- Place the top rod (the one inserted in the roman shade’s pocket) all the way against the top of the window. In the picture below, you can see my old roman shade system on the right.
2. Let the fabric hang, and place the second and third rods in front of the fabric. Space them as you like.
3. Pull the fabric over each rod, making slight folds or loops. You are done!
Tips and Tricks for a Smooth and Clean Project
One of my favorite parts of making a DIY project around my home is that once I gain momentum, nothing can stop me. My initial thought is making my own roman shades, but that also involves taking all the window treatments down, cleaning windows and trim, dusting, and making plans for new projects.
So, when I decided to DIY no-sew roman shades, my project went a little bit further and I even ended up shedding a few tears when I found a fair amount of hair from my kitty that passed away a little under 3 years ago.
Gross for you, sad moment for me!
What a nice and clean place to sit down and read a book! I still have many plans under my sleeve. I am tired of the romantic periwinkle walls, and the brown sheers.
UPDATE: you can follow along with our master bedroom makeover here.
Here are a few tips and tricks I learned along the way.
- When ironing the fabric, the iron released build-up calcium from the water used for steam.
- Picking up the debris was very easy using Scotch-Brite™ 50% Stickier Lint Roller. This lint roller is definitely a must-have tool when working with fabric. It is precisely 50% more adhesive to pick up more than hair or lint, it picked up all the debris and calcium build-up that the iron left on my fabric.
- And speaking of pet hair, how about the surprise I found under my ottoman? I picked it up to reach the window and unscrew the old roman shades.
Obviously, I have not turned it upside down in almost three years… Our late cat, Paisley, used to sleep underneath it… Shh! Please don’t tell my husband LOL
So, like every time I start a project, I get involved in many other tasks. Like cleaning all the ottoman surface with the lint roller. A total breeze.
And, the easiest task ever… the moment when I said: ‘Why didn’t I think of this before? ‘ – that moment was when I took the heavy drapes down and a cloud of dust – the kind you see when the sun rays hit the dust particles – flew over my face.
I used this giant Scotch-Brite™ 50% Stickier Lint Roller, and cleaned my drapes, rolling it up and down as if I was painting.
The roller is 8 inches wide and the handle is just as a paint roller, so it’s great for big surfaces such as my drapes. My first thought was to take them down and clean them on the floor.
But, to be totally honest, skip that hassle. The lint roller works perfect at any position, so for the second drape, I decided to leave it up and clean it like shown below.
I picked quite a few hairs… No pet hair here. These have been dry cleaned a few times!
These lint rollers are available at Target. Find them in the Home Improvement area, in the ‘Lint Care’ aisle, where the mops and brooms are.