Make a faux Roman shade

This simple-to-make window treatment is perfect for a bathroom overlooking a private backyard

Materials

  • Decorator fabric, at least 4 inches wider than the window
  • Grosgrain ribbon, 1¼ inch wide and as long as the perimeter of the hemmed fabric plus 2 inches
  • Balsa wood, 1¼ inches by ¼ inch, cut ½ inch shorter than the shade width

Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Iron, and ironing pad or ironing board
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Pencil
  • Yardstick
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine or needle
  • Double-sided mounting tape, 1 inch wide
  • Hammer
  • Nails, 1 inch to 1½ inches long

Steps

  1. Measure. Measure the width and length you want for the shade. Add 4 inches to the width measurement, for side hems. Add 10 inches to the length measurement, allowing for a 1-inch double hem, three folds, and 1½ inches for mounting.
  2. Cut. Iron the fabric. Close to one end, use the carpenter’s square and pencil to mark a straight line across the fabric, perpendicular to an uncut edge. From the new line and the uncut edge, mark the length and width you need. Then, cut the fabric to those measurements. (If the fabric isn’t wide enough for the width you need, cut two lengths and sew them together, matching the pattern.)
  3. Hem. With the fabric wrong side up, turn up 1 inch on both sides. Then fold those over again (making double hems) to hide the cut edges. Iron, pin, and sew down the top folds to create hems. Do the same thing on the bottom of the fabric to create a lower hem.
  4. Add the trim. Cut two pieces of the grosgrain ribbon as long as the hemmed shade. Pin one piece to each side edge of the shade, on top of the side hems, then stitch along both edges of each ribbon. Cut two ribbons to match the shade width plus one inch. Turn under ½ inch at each end of both pieces. Pin, then stitch one piece along the bottom edge of the shade and the other 1½ inches below the top edge of the shade.
  5. Create the first fold. Place the fabric right side up, with the bottom hem edge facing you. Place a line of pins 2½ inches up from the hem edge. Pinch the line of pins into a fold and pull it down until it meets the hem edge. Flip back the upper fabric and iron the crease. Move the pins from the pin line and pin them through the front of the fabric to secure the crease. Place a few hand stitches every 3 inches along the crease (catching a few threads on the front of the fabric). Remove the pins as you go. Place another line of pins 2½ inches up from the new fold, and repeat the same process. Then, for the final fold, set the pins 3½ inches above the previous fold, and bring the pinched pleat down to only ¾ inch above the previous fold.
  6. Assemble. Attach the mounting tape to the length of one side of the balsa wood. With the taped side of the wood facing up, align the top of the fabric with the top edge of the wood, and press the fabric down. Smooth the fabric as you press it against the tape. Flip the wood so the shade drapes over it, hiding the wood.
  7. Attach. Hold the shade in position above the window. At one end of the balsa strip, maneuver the fabric out of the way and hammer a nail through the balsa and into the window frame or the wall (make sure you hit the wood framing). Repeat at the other side of the window. Then lift the shade and nail the rest of the balsa strip to the wall.
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