Monday, January 30, 2012

Easy-Peasy Custom Roman Shades

Thank you all so much for your very sweet comments to Friday's sneak peak--I could hardly wait to make the reveal! 
Well, Monday is here and I'm excited to share my easy-peasy (and inexpensive) custom roman shade project with you all. 
WARNING: This post is long, but the project was very simple. I hope you'll  humor me and read along.

As the year began, I decided that I wanted to go a little bolder with my decorating choices, and I thought the plain white roman shades in my living room were the perfect place to start.

Here the shades were on Thursday of last week--fine but nothing to write home about:
The plain cotton roman shades were purchased at The Christmas Tree Shops (of all places!) about two and a half years ago when we moved into our current apartment. Each shade was $10, and are still available at The Christmas Tree Shops
As a matter of fact, they were in this week's flyer.
I contemplated a block print fabric, but I broadened my search and found this batik-style cotton coverlet from Etsy that offered a lot of fabric for about $40. Fabric chosen; decision made!
Honestly, up until Thursday afternoon, I wasn't 100% sure if I was going to do the sewing myself or hire someone to sew the shades...then, I thought: 

Wait, Ashley, you can do this.
Why spend money for someone else's effort?
You got this, girl.
(seriously, this was my thought process)

After the pep talk, I decided I could use the existing white roman shade as a template, backing, and foundation for my roman shade. If starting from scratch, I'd have to buy muslin, string, eyelets, and other bits that I didn't need with this solution.
I decided to do a little "mock-up" before I made any cuts to the fabric.
Ready to go, I first laid my printed fabric wrong-side facing up on the floor (the largest surface area I had to work with). 
I laid the roman shade directly on top of the fabric, also with its backside facing up. 
With the roman shade laying atop as a template, I was careful to straighten my printed fabric and pull it taut.
Always be mindful of the direction of your pattern before you cut!
Once the fabric was perfectly taut, I began to cut it about 2" wider than the shade on the vertical sides of the shade. 
Cut the fabric 2" longer on the horizontal sides of the shade as well.
The extra 2" on each vertical side then got folded and pinned to the existing roman shade.
I made the hem about .25" wider than the roman shade so that none of the white would show. 
For the bottom hem of the shade, I cuffed and pinned the printed fabric to the back of the shade, which looked like this:
I'll address the top hem (the part of the shade that's closest to the ceiling) later.
With 3 of 4 sides pinned, I was ready to sew the printed fabric front to the white roman shade backing. I chose to sew by hand because I didn't want the stitches visible from the front of the shade, but you could use a product like Fabri-tac or Stitch Witchery if you don't like to sew.
Just remember: when using Fabri-tac or Stitch Witchery, your project is permanent
By sewing, I can swap out my front fabric anytime I wish.
The last and final step before hanging the newly-jazzed up shades was to secure the top hem of the shade (the edge that abuts the top of the window). There are several ways to do this, but I pulled out my staple gun and stapled the extra 2" of fabric to the wooden dowel at the top of the shade. You can also choose to glue the fabric to the dowel, if you like.
Okay, are you still reading?! 
I know this was long, but I promise the project was pretty quick. 
All told, the shades were done in about 2-2 1/2 episodes of Dateline on Investigation Discovery (my new metric for time).
So, to refresh your memory, here's the before:
And the after, which I'm absolutely crazy about!
This project was really fun and simple, and made such a big impact in my living room. 
It felt great to reuse the shades I already owned and spend very little (only about $40) for fabric.
What do you think?
Would you try this easy-peasy project in your own home?

P.S. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about this project!


  1. These really look simple to make. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Fantastic job! I want to go out and buy Roman shades and DIY them RIGHT now!

  3. So great to know how you made these! I'm always looking for an excuse to use my staple gun!

    I always forget about Christmas Tree Shop as an inexpensive resource. My sister has found great stuff there, too, like a green glass lamp that looks very Anthro!

  4. I have to ry this...I have an extra roman shade laying around. Thanks for a great tutorial!

  5. Love this layered look--so nice to have another pattern in there! Also love your thought process. You totally got this, girl.


  6. Great job! Love the pattern and it's a great way to draw your eyes up to your tall windows. Which Etsy store did you find it at?

  7. So smart and so smart looking. I admire your use of color, Ashley!

  8. Your room is looking great! Love it!

  9. Wow they look fantastic.Were they really easy.You must be so happy.

  10. Dude, it look fabulous. LOVE the fabric! Congrats on a job well done.

  11. What a difference color makes. With your instructions the possibilities are endless. I have to try my own. I love the red!

  12. Ashley, I'm blown away! The fabric adds so much to the room, and I can hardly believe this project was that easy. Sign me up. I want to try this someday.

  13. Oh yes! This looks easy enough that I might be able to do this too! Thanks for the easy to follow tutorial.

  14. your home looks fantastic and brilliant idea for the roman shades!

  15. Looks very cheery.

    Like your new blog design, too.

  16. Hate the word verification, though. (I'm on a one person campaign to stamp out word verification.)

  17. Thank you for this post!! When I moved into my house the previous owner left two brown roman shades. I've been thinking about how to use them by putting a stylish fabric over it and u have shown me the way. These blinds can be expensive with the prints n pop of color. I have also bought the ones from the Christmas tree shops ;)

  18. the curtain can improve the beauty of the room and a strong curtain pole is must for having long curtain life...
    roman blinds


I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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