I spent the MLK 3-day weekend making these Roman shades for our living room:
I used and modified a combination of tutorials from the Little Green Notebook and 365 Days to Simplicity blogs to use the mechanics from cheap vinyl blinds to create custom Roman shades.
I measured my windows and purchased vinyl blinds to fit from Lowe’s for $4.95 a piece.
In the interest of saving some moolah (since I needed to make a total of four shades), I decided to use burlap as my fabric choice. I measured and hemmed the edges to get finished pieces that matched the dimensions of my windows/mini blinds.
I wanted to customize the look a little more, so I also decided to add some coordinating trim to the bottom of each shade. I just measured three inches up from the bottom of each shade and pinned, then top stitched each piece of trim to the burlap.
I had debated on whether the burlap would let too much light through to give us the privacy we desired, and it wasn’t until I had finished all my sewing that I came to the conclusion that it was, in fact, too sheer. So, I picked up some $3.99/yd basic cotton from JoAnn’s (along with a 50% off coupon, oh yeah!) with which to line the back.
I really am a lazy seamstress (sorry, Mom); so since I had already finished the edges on the burlap, I just cut the cotton a little larger than my finished piece of burlap and folded the edges under to hit a little inside of the outside of the burlap.
Little Green Notebook’s tutorial recommends making folds every 10 inches, but I found that my material was just too thick to fold well with those dimensions. In order to get my first draft to hang and fold right, I ended up needing to skip every other ring. So, I found that spacing my folds every 20 inches seemed to work well for this project.
I took the mini blind and cut off the plastic piece at the bottom.
I then took a piece of balsam wood I had purchased at Lowe’s and cut to the width of my shade, and marked on it where the pull strings would fall. I used a nail to make a starter hole, then hand-screwed the screw eyes into place.
In the meantime, I glued the valance to the top of the shade using hot glue (I found this worked better than the Liquid Fusion since it was difficult to brace.) I wanted the tops of the shades to look seamless, so I folded the fabric around to the back of the valance and glued in place.
I’m very happy with the way they turned out and how they seem to “finish” the room, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I did have to futz with a couple of them since they seemed to hang a little crooked once I got them up. Who knows if it was my lazy cutting/sewing or how I hung the hardware, but I just used straight pins to pull the fabric up a little on the sagging side and secure out of sight.