This year to dress up my classroom a bit, I decided to made some window dresssings for the long skinny windows in my classroom and as a challenge I decided to made Roman Shades rather than a simple gathered curtain because when they don't need to be closed for drills I prefer to have them open most of the time.
This is a fairly straight forward design but you have to make sure that they are strung correctly so they raise in wide neat folds.
For this project you will need:
I choose a fabric with poison dart frogs for my chemistry classroom.
Step 1: Cutting the Fabric
When you measure for your curtain, you need to decide how much of the window and window frame you want to cover. Be sure to add two inches to the width and two inches to the length for seams. Since roman shades lay flat rather than gather you don't need to add any width for fullness.
Step 2: Hemming the Edges
Lay the fabric right side down on your ironing board and turn under a half inch hem, then roll that over and turn it under a second time so you have a neat edge all the way around your fabric.
Stitch all the way around the rectangle. You can either use a color that blends into the background of your fabric, or a contrasting color. If you use a contrasting color be careful to sew straight seams as you will see the stitching on the right side of the fabric.
Step 3: Adding the Ribbon
To stabilize the fabric where the rings are located, I sewed two strips of ribbon down the length of the shade. This helps me with the placement of the rings and keeps the folds of the shade neat without bunching if the fabric is not very stiff. I used a fairly stiff grosgrain ribbon for this.
The minimum number of strips of ribbon for a curtain on a roman shade are two, and the window in my classroom door is very thin so I used two. If you are going to use this type of shade for a more standard sized window I recommend you use three. This can also be done for wider areas like sliding glass doors, there you will need more ribbons. The spacing of the ribbons depends somewhat on the stiffness of your fabric.
Step 4: Sewing on the Rings
The placement of the rings will determine the size of the folds when you raise the shade. It is important that the rings are directly across from each horizontally, and if you have more than one in a room that the spacing between rings is the same vertically within one shade and identical to the other shades in the room.
I used a hand sewing needle and thread that blends into the background to attach the rings. You want to sew the rings onto the ribbon, not all the way through to the shade fabric.
I choose fewer large folds for my shade, but this should be chosen to match your taste.
Step 5: Stringing the Cord
- Start at the bottom ring on the side opposite to where you want the hanging cord to be.
- Securely tie the cord onto the bottom ring.
- String the cord up the side of the shade through each ring until you get to the top.
- String the cord through any other top row rings (my example only has two columns of rings so that is one additional ring).
- Allow several inches of excess cord and cut the cord.
- Start at the bottom of the next column of rings.
- Securely tie the cord to the bottom ring.
- String the cord through each of the rings until you reach the top.
- Make sure the shade is laying flat and that the cord is not bunched anywhere.
- Tie together the end of the first cord you used and the cord from the second column near the top ring.
- Cut the second cord so its tail is the same length as that of the previous cord and tie the two tails together at the end.
To decorate the pull cord you add a few beads for color if you wish. Now have someone help you hold up the shade and pull the cord to make sure it rises in neat folds. It is easy to go back and fix the stringing of the cord if something is not working correctly.
Step 6: Hanging the Shade
To hang my curtain, I used a short length of dowel rod hot glued onto a hook that afixes to the wooden door frame with removeable adhesive that will not damage the door since it is important not to damage the surface of the door.
I also used two smaller removable adhesive hooks to use to hold the cord while the roman shade is pulled up.
Here is the final result!