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Casual Roman Shade

Finished size : customizable

When it comes to windows, I’m opinionated. I don’t want fussy cornices or valances, and nothing is allowed to swag! It’s just not my thing. I prefer white linen for shades and sheers. The quality of light that comes through white linen is bright and sunny. This is a casual, unlined Roman shade that is inset into the window trim. I’ve added some lovely ribbon to tie it in with my decor.

Materials and Supplies

  • Linen or linen/cotton blend fabric, 55″ wide
  • 1″-wide solid-colored ribbon
  • ¾″-wide patterned ribbon or jumbo rickrack
  • Ring tape
  • Roman shade cording
  • ½ yard of a thicker cord for pull
  • Cord condenser
  • Cord finial
  • 2 cord cleats
  • 1″ × 2″ wooden mounting board, cut to width of window
  • 3 eye screws
  • 1 wooden dowel rod, ¼″ diameter
  • 2 L-brackets, 1½″ × 1½″ × ½″ (also called corner braces at some local hardware stores)


  • Electric drill or screwdriver

casual roman shade 1

measuring it

A Roman shade requires only enough fabric to cover the window. There is no need for extra fullness, but we will add a small amount to the window’s size for hems.

1). At the top of the window, measure the depth of the window. It must be at least ¾″ to place the mounting board.

2). Measure the width and length of the inside of your window’s frame. Insetting the Roman shade within the window creates a picture frame effect.

casual roman shade 2

3). To determine the finished width of your shade, subtract ¼″ from the width of your window. Doing so will keep the shade from rubbing when it is raised and lowered. If you have an old house like mine, you might want to check your window’s width at multiple places. If it is not a uniform width, make the shade to fit the narrowest measurement.

4). Do the same to determine the shade’s finished length, subtracting ¼″ from the smallest measurement for the length.

5). Add 4″ to the finished width of your window to determine the cut width for the shade.

6). Add 5″ to the finished length to determine the cut length.

Use the measurements from Steps 5 and 6 to shop for the needed amounts of ribbons, ring tape, and fabric. You will need a little more than double the cut length of ribbons and ring tape per shade.

Example : Measured window width : 23″ – ¼″ = 22¾″ + 4″ = 26¾″ cut width
Measured window length : 29″ – ¼″ = 28¾″ + 5″ = 33¾″ cut length
I would need 1 yard of fabric and 2 yards each of ribbons and ring tape per shade.

cutting it out


  1. Prepare your fabric by cutting off the selvage edges.
  2. On your prepared fabric, measure the cut width and length as determined in Measuring It, Steps 5 and 6. Pay close attention to the grain, making sure that your shade is on the straight-of-grain, and cut it out.

Ring Tape, Ribbons, and Cording

  1. Cut 2 lengths of ring tape measuring 4″ more than the finished length of the shade.
  2. Cut 2 lengths of each ribbon or rickrack equal to the cut length of the shade.
  3. Cut 1 length of the Roman shade cord the finished length of the shade plus 3″. Cut a second length the finished length plus the finished width plus 3″.

Mounting Board and Dowel

  1. Cut down the 1″ × 2″ wooden mounting board to the finished width of your shade. Even though I have a shed full of tools, I prefer to have the kind folks at the local lumber yard or big-box hardware store do this job for me. No muss, no fuss—just a small cutting fee required.
  2. Cut the dowel to the finished width minus ½″.

constructing it

1). Pin a length of ¾″-wide ribbon or jumbo rickrack down the center of each length of 1″-wide ribbon. A clear ruler is very helpful for this step. Sew the pinned lengths together into a single unit. If you are using a ¾″-wide ribbon, sew down both sides of the smaller ribbon, near the edges. Rickrack can be sewn right down the center. Refer to Super H presser foot under presser feet(page 12, in Tools) for all you need to know about the Super H foot. It is ideal for both applications in this step.

casual roman shade 3

2). Fold both long edges of the shade 1″ toward the wrong side, press, and repeat to encase the raw edges. Do not pin or sew into place; you just want the crease lines for a guide at this time.

3). Repeat Step 2 on the bottom edge of the shade.

4). Open the side folds; pin both embellished ribbons in place on the right side of your fabric and to the inside of each inner fold line (this will be the outer edge of the shade). Edgestitch in place along both sides of the ribbon using a zipper foot. A little extra pinning is helpful and ensures that your ribbon goes on without wrinkles or tucks.

5). Pin the ring tape between the 2 fold lines on the right side of your fabric, making sure that the plastic rings are 1½″ from the bottom of the shade. It’s very important that both sides be even.

casual roman shade 4

6). With the Super H foot, sew along both edges of the ring tape right along the creased fold lines. The foot should gently move the rings out of harm’s way.

casual roman shade 5

7). Fold along the crease lines again to fold both of the side hems to the wrong side of the shade, encasing the raw edges within the folds. Slipstitch (in Hand Stitches) the folds closed, making sure your stitches don’t show on the front of the shade.

8). Lay the shade wrong side up and fold the bottom hem up, enclosing the raw edges of the ribbon and ring tape. Unstitch any rings that might end up in the hem. At the corners, cheat the hem in at a slight angle. Pin the hem from side to side and edgestitch it closed using the Super H foot, or slipstitch it by hand. Leave the sides of the hem open to create a pocket for the dowel.

casual roman shade 6

9). Handstitch the bottommost rings back onto the corners at the top of the hem, if needed. Do not sew through all the layers. Slide the dowel through the hem pocket created in the previous step.

installing it

1). With a disappearing-ink pen draw a line that is 3″ from the top raw edge of the shade. Align the line with the top edge of the mounting board, with the wrong side of the fabric toward the board, as shown below. Staple the fabric across the narrow top edge of the board. Next, wrap the fabric around to the bottom of the board and secure with more staples.

2). Attach the 3 eye screws into the back of the board, through the fabric—the first in the center, the other 2 about 1″ in from the ends of the board. Then screw the L-brackets to the edge of the board as shown, just inside the screw eyes.

casual roman shade 7

3). Lay the Roman shade facedown on a table, so it is smooth and wrinkle free. Tie the cut Roman shade cords to the bottom rings with a double knot, and then thread the cords up through the rings and the closest screw eye. Decide which side of the shade will have the shade pull (remember, you are working backward) and run the cord from the side opposite the shade pull through the center screw eye and the screw eye nearest the shade pull.

4). After the cords are even and have no slack, place a cord condenser 3″ from the edge of the mounting board as shown at right. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach the cord condenser and finial, using the thicker cord for the bottom pull.

casual roman shade 8

5). Screw the mounting board up through the L-brackets into the bottom of the upper portion of the window casing. Then, attach 2 cord cleats to the outside of the window trim—the first up high so you can keep the cords up and out of the way, and the second down low so you can wind up the pull cord when the shade is up.

casual roman shade 9

Important Note on Safety

Please research the latest safety requirements for more information on cording if you have or care for small children. As of the publication of this book this pattern is up to standard. Rings must be no more than 8″ apart, and all cords must be condensed into one short cord or left loose so that they can’t harm a child at play.

Source :
Kelly McCants
at home with modern June
27 Sewing Projects for Your Handmade Lifestyle