How to Make DIY Roman Shades

Cream-colored DIY Roman shade covering partly opened window

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 3 hrs
  • Total Time: 3 - 4 hrs
  • Yield: 1 Roman shade
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $50

If you're struggling to find the right size of window covering, or simply want to try your hand at making one yourself, this tutorial will show you how to make a DIY Roman shade. These Roman shades will give any room a classic and slightly tailored look and really elevate the whole space.

This project is perfect for the beginner. You'll need to know the basics of how to sew by sewing machine and by hand, but you'll only be sewing in a simple straight line. In just a few hours and for less than you wold pay at the store, you'll have a DIY Roman shade that was literally made to fit your window.

What Is a Roman Shade?

A Roman shade is a window covering made of fabric that is operated by a cord to make it go up and down. When the Roman shade is up, it creates pleats in the fabric.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Fabric marker


  • 2 yards home decor fabric
  • 2 yards lining fabric
  • Thread
  • 6 to 10 3/8-inch dowel rods
  • 1 1-inch by 2-inch board
  • Fusible web
  • 1/2-inch plastic rings
  • 2 eye screws
  • Thin nylon string


Materials and tools to create DIY Roman shades

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  1. Measure Your Window

    The best thing about making your own Roman shades is that you can make them to fit any window in your home. These Roman shades fit just inside of your window.

    Measure the width and the length of the window and write these numbers down. This will be the size of the finished shade.

    Window measurements drawn on notepad next to materials

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. Cut Your Fabric

    Now that you've measured your window, you can cut your fabric. Cut the home decor fabric 3 inches wider than the width of your window and 5 inches longer than the length of your window.

    The lining should be cut 1 inch less than the width of the window and the same length as the window. Set the rest of the lining fabric aside.

    Black home decor fabric being cut for DIY Roman shades

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  3. Sew Together the Fabric and Lining

    Put your home decor fabric and lining fabric right sides together. Pin along the sides to hold everything in place.

    Sew together both sides with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. The finished piece won't lay flat yet, because the pieces of fabric were of different sizes.

    White lining fabric sewn to black home decor fabric with sewing machine

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  4. Center the Lining

    To make sure that your lining doesn't show from the front of the shade, you'll want to center it.

    Lay the fabric piece you just sewed (still inside out) with the lining facing up. Shift the lining to the center of the home decor fabric, causing some extra fabric to come up on both sides. Fold these sides down. You should have 1 inch of extra fabric on each side. Press well with an iron and pin in place if needed.

    Iron pressing lining fabric on to center of home decor fabric

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  5. Sew the Bottom of the Shade

    Pin the bottom of the shade, keeping the folds that you just created. Sew the entire length, including on top of the folds. Use 1/2-inch seam allowance.

    Bottom folds of shade fabric sewn with sewing machine

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  6. Determine Amount of Dowel Rods

    The amount of dowel rods that you'll need depends on how long your window shade is.

    Dowel rods should be placed 9 to 14 inches apart. Space the dowel rods evenly, with one being at the bottom of the shade.

    Dowel rods organized on shade fabric to be cut

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  7. Cut Your Dowel Rods and Slat of Wood

    Cut your dowel rods 1 inch shorter than the width of your window. This will ensure that the dowel rods won't hit the side of the window.

    The slat of wood goes in the slot at the top of the shade. It needs to be cut the length of the finished shade.

    Cut dowel rods held over laid down fabric

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  8. Mark for Dowel Pockets

    Place the fabric wrong side up. Using a ruler to make sure you get a straight line, take a fabric marker and mark where each dowel rod will go.

    Dowel rod locations marked on wrong side of fabric next to ruler

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  9. Make the Dowel Pockets

    Take your leftover lining fabric and cut 2-inch strips the length of your finished shade. You'll want to cut as many of these as you have dowel rods.

    Fold the strips in half and press with your iron. Sew the raw edges together using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

    Sewing machine creating dowel pockets with strips of lining fabric

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  10. Attach the Dowel Pockets

    Follow the fusible web instructions to attach the dowel pockets onto the back of the shade using the fusible web. Align them with the lines that you drew to make where the dowel rods go.

    Slide the dowel rods through each of the pockets you created.

    Fusible web attaching dowel pockets to shade fabric

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  11. Clip Corners and Turn

    Use your scissors to clip the corners of your shade, being careful not to cut through any stitching. It will be a little bit finicky to turn with the dowel rods in, but you should be able to do it with a little bit of fiddling.

    Poke out the corners and press the shade edges with your iron.

    Fabric shade corners clipped with scissors

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  12. Sew the Bottom Hem

    Create a blind hem to neatly hem up the bottom of the Roman shade. To do this, fold the bottom of the shade up by 1/4 inch and press. Fold it up another 1 1/4 inches to hide the first hem.

    Sew the hem with your sewing machine, being careful to sew in a straight line, because this stitching will be seen from the front.

    Blind hem sewn on bottom fold of shade with sewing machine

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  13. Insert Slat of Wood

    Take your piece of wood and insert it into the top slot.

    Wood slat inserted into top slot of shade

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  14. Sew on the Rings

    Take a plastic ring and place it at the end of each dowel rod. Hand sew each ring on each side of the dowels. This will be where the curtain cord is guided through.

    Plastic rings sewn on ends of dowel rod

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  15. Insert the Eye Screws

    Insert the eye screws into the top right and the top left, attaching them to the slat of wood. They should be 3 inches from each end.

    Eye screws attached to ends of wood slats

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  16. Finish the Roman Shade

    Thread the thin nylon string through the eye screws and the plastic rings. The Roman shade can be lowered and raised by using both strings. It's now ready to be mounted on your window!

    Nylon string threaded through eye screws and rings to finish Roman shade

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald