How to Make a Relaxed Roman Shade

how to make a roman shade overview

how to make a roman shade

I just love fabric shades.  They are functional and yet add so much to your décor softening the wood, glass, and lines of the windows.  This tutorial features the relaxed roman shade I made for the guest room and at the end of the post you can see how easy it is to create a London shade with an outside mount like I did in the kitchen.  These do not take long so take a look around your house and see where one or two or three might look nice in your home.  I used a sewing machine but if you do not have one you can hand stitch or use the no-sew seam tape. 🙂  Let us begin with how to make a relaxed roman shade with an inside mount…



Fabric and lining- 3″ wider and 8″ longer then the inside of your window (Medium light weight fabric works best.  My fabric is a bit heavy but I just loved the pattern for this room.)

Plastic rings ( I used 18 for my five foot window) and 2 screw eyes – shown above

Fastener to wrap cords – sorry cannot remember the name (shown above on right)

Cording- (Usually you need about 5 times the length of the window)

Board cut to the size of the top of your window casing

Drill and screws


Sewing machine with hemming foot or you can use no sew adhesives along the sides and bottom hem

Needle and thread to hand stitch plastic rings in place


Cut fabric and lining to size – for inside mount add three inches to the width measurement of the inside of your window and add 8 inches to the length of the height of the inside of your window.

Lay out your fabric right side down.

Top with your lining.


Pin along sides to keep the two layers together.


Bring fabric to the ironing board and measure 1/2″ on both sides and iron.


Fold over again at 1″, iron, and pin.


At the bottom, measure 1″, fold, and iron.

Then measure 2″, fold, and iron.

At the bottom, at the sides, trim the fabric as shown above being careful not to cut above the main bottom fold.


I hemmed my side seams and bottom seam on the sewing machine, or you could use fabric no-sew seam tape or hand stitch.




Lay out your fabric and fold over so you can see both side hems.

Measure down 12″ from to top edge and place pins on both seams to mark where plastic rings need to be sewn.

Then measure down and mark every 6-7″ with pins.


I started stitching my rings at the top of the bottom hem about 1/4″ in from the side hem.

I made about 10 stitches around ring to make sure it was secure.

Sew the rest of the plastic rings down at the pin markers.


Drill small holes on each end of wood piece where it will be screwed into window casing.


Staple fabric down to board lining up the edge of fabric to the edge of the board.  My lining is sticking out a bit further but I just trimmed this after stapling.

Start stapling in the middle and then work toward sides pulling taunt.

Also you can add a screw eye to the bottom of this board but FYI…I placed mine wrong in this picture and had to move them.  Place the screw eyes on the board directly above the plastic rings.)  I placed them where I normally do for London shades and learned very quickly as I pulled the cords that I had done it wrong! 🙂



Screw board into the top casing of the window.

It is best to have a helper that can hold up the fabric as you screw the board in.

Take one end of cording and tie to the plastic ring at the hem.  Then thread that cording up through the rest of the rings and then through the screw eyes at the top in the direction of where you place the fixture to wrap the cording.

Repeat with the plastic rings on the other side.

how to make a roman shade-down

Tie the end of the loose cording ends together and then pull up shade and wrap cording around fastener.

how to make a roman shade overview

If you used medium to lightweight fabric it should pleat rather nicely as you pull the cording, you may have to help the folds a bit at first slightly tugging the outside edge of fabric folds.  My fabric is more on the medium heavy side so I had to help it fold a bit more but that’s ok because I love it 🙂

how to make a roman shade- london shade

Here is one of the London shades I made for the kitchen windows.  Instead of stitching the plastic rings up the side hem of the fabric, I came in about 6 inches from each side and added the plastic rings.  Then add your screw eyes to the board directly above the plastic rings.


The kitchen London shades feature an outside mount.

For this you just cut the board to the width of the outside of the window trim.  The board is 3 inches wide and I used L brackets to hold the board in place.  Be sure to add more length to your fabric if you use an outside mount and place it higher then the window.


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  1. June

    Bless your heart…THANK YOU!!!! I think that I could actually do this!!

  2. Barbie

    Hi Amy girl..Just looked on this site after your mom reminded me..Love ya girlie and keep up the good work…Gonna try the roman shades(maybe):pBarbsie

  3. Tasha Wientjes

    Thank you so, so much for your tutorial! This is going to be my project for the week. I’ve wanted London shades in my dining room for only 4 years now but quotes are all too expensive. Now with your great photos and instructions I think I can do this! Off to the fabric store for my supplies…:).

    1. joyfuldaisyforever@gmail.com

      Hey Tasha, my pleasure 🙂 Good luck with your project! I am sure your dining room will look great when your new window treatment is up!

      1. Tasha Wi

        Thank you so much for your encouragement! I just completed my first shade (now only two more to go). I am so pleased at the results however my shade isn’t butter-flying (can I make that a word?) as nicely as yours. It doesn’t look bad; it’s just I was expecting something just slightly different. Now I am wondering if it all has to do with the placement of the rings. My window is 29″ wide and I placed my rows 6″ in from sides and put a ring every 7″. Or perhaps the weight of my fabric is the culprit (I’d say it’s medium-heavy). Anyway, I’d love to have your advice but really only if you have time. Best, Tasha

        1. joyfuldaisyforever@gmail.com

          Hey Tasha, the butter-flying 🙂 (Sounds good to me, I make up words too!) is primarily defined by how far the rings are place from the edge. The red flower fabric I used had a beautiful hand and was very drapable which makes them easy to use everyday. If you can have someone hold the fabric at the top and then with your hands from the bottom of the fabric come up on both sides like they are the rings to play around with the best placement. The red and cream houndstooth fabric I used was almost to heavy but I loved it so I used it anyways. This shade doesn’t have the butterflying, as i just wanted the soft roman blind look, however, it takes a little straightening every time I use it. Happy crafting! 🙂

  4. Karen McGinn

    Hi. I found your site with a Google search of relaxed roman with tails. I am working on making one and am wondering about the lift dowel. You attached it at a set of the rings a couple of rows up from the bottom, I assume. How many rows up did you attach the dowel? Also, I assume you cut the dowel just to the width of the distance between the two vertical rows of rings, right? I just want to make sure I have this figured out correctly to get the same look as yours. Thanks in advance.

    1. joyfuldaisyforever@gmail.com

      Hi Karen, I didn’t use a dowel because this is a relaxed roman blind with the soft draping. I plan on making some traditional roman blinds for my exercise room and they require the dowel which gives the straight edge at the bottom. I still need to find the perfect fabric but when I do I will post the traditional roman blind project 🙂 I apologize for the delayed response your comment got mixed up in some spam.

  5. sue72015

    I just finished two relaxed shades following your directions precisely. Mine did not come up into a nice drape until I put a dowel in the bottom hem. Now they are just exactly what I wanted. Thank you for the directions. My fabric was a bit on the stiff side.maybe that’s why I needed the dowel

    1. joyfuldaisyforever@gmail.com

      Hi Sue, Thanks for your feedback and I am so glad that you got the look you wanted. Just curious if you still get a draped looked with the dowel on the bottom. I have to make a few more for the entryway so I might give this a try. I bet your room looks great with the new window treatments, I am always amazed at what a difference a little fabric can make. 🙂

  6. Ann turner

    I am interested to know how Sue got a draped look on her blind if she used a dowel in the bottom hem .i thought I saw a picture of one somewhere where the dowel slotted in each end but not in the centre to allow the drape . Not sure of a good look for behind though,even though u wouldn’t see it from the front
    but maybe from the outside of window , don’t think I would like that but maybe that’s me being to fussy

    1. joyfuldaisyforever@gmail.com

      Hi Ann, I am guessing that the dowel kept the the bottom straight while the fabric above it draped down over the bottom when the window treatment was pulled up. The dowel is usually hidden between the lining and the fabric so it is concealed. Hopefully I can get some time soon to do the window treatments for our exercise room where I plan to create traditional roman blinds with dowels so I can show pictures of the step by step process 🙂

  7. anne lofthouse

    i am going to try to make this blind , it looks great , love the site will follow your instructions, and will let you know how they turn out , have some really nice cath kidson material to match my cushions and rug ,so hope i dont mess it up .

    1. joyfuldaisyforever@gmail.com

      Hi Anne, I would love to hear how your window treatments turn out 🙂

  8. Dawn Briner

    Where did you get this fabric? Dawn

  9. Cindy

    I just finished up doing this project and was thrilled to find it on Pinterest. It cost me $6+/- to do and probably approximately two 4-hour sessions. It sure beats paying over a $100 for something custom because of the odd shape of my window. I used a drapery panel I bought at Goodwill for $3. The rest of the of the $’s bought the eyelets, rope and rope cap. I had the rings.The one mistake I made was under sizing the eyelets for the diameter of the dual ropes going through the last one. So, as a simple fix, I just replaced that one in a slightly larger size. The one issue I am currently having is when I pull them up the shade tends to invert itself. Do you have any suggestions to offset this? Overall, I’m thrilled with my dyi shade. I would post a picture if I could figure out how. Thanks for the post.

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