Monday, July 23, 2012

Roman Shade made using my mini-blind tutorial

I made this tutorial for those of you that are looking for an alternative to making a roman shade using your mini-blind. I searched high and low for a tutorial to help me make a roman shade using my already installed mini-blind. Unfortunately, I found several but they required gluing the mini-blind slat to the back side of the lining fabric. I did not want to do that! I wanted my shade to look nice and neat on both sides. I was looking to make a professional roman shade without having to fork over any money.

This project does require sewing (no glue is used in making this shade).

 Below is a picture of my windows before I painted and made my roman shades.

Below is a picture of my windows after I painted and made my roman shades.

− Fabric (I used home decor fabric)
− Lining (I used ultraviolet blocking drapery lining)
− 3 wood dowel rods (Home Depot or Hobby Lobby)
− Hook and Loop tape, self adhesive (any craft store)
− Old or new mini blinds ( I used my old mini blinds)
− Lift rings (Joann, or Hobby Lobby)
− 1 metal rod (Home Depot)

These instructions are for inside mount window shade.

I measured the width and length of my window. I made sure to allow a ¼" seam allowance. My window measures 24" x 45'.

Below are my window calculations for stackage and rod placement. I got my stackage and rod placement calculations using the hardware calculator at

Actual Stackage: 7
# of Folds: 6
Window calculation: 24" x 45"

My window measurements (24" x 45"):
Cut Fabric
Width = 24" + 4" = 28" (2" seam allowance on each side = 4")
Length = 45"+ 8" = 53" (3" allowance at top of shade and 5" allowance at bottom of shade = 8")

Cut Lining
Width = 24" + 2" = 26" (1" seam allowance on each side = 2")
Length = 45" + 9" = 54" (9" for turning top and bottom, rod pockets, and ease)

*Remember the measurements I am using for this tutorial are my own window measurements. You can use your own window measurements and add the same seam allowances I added.

Now that my fabric has been cut to my measurements, it’s time to fold and press seam allowances.
−  Fold and press 2" allowance on both sides of the shade length wise
−  Fold and press 3" allowance at top of shade
−  My window length is 45" from the top of folded shade fabric to the bottom, I pinned and marked the length. Once pinned and marked I folded and pressed.
−  I applied loop tape (self adhesive) to the top of the shade by opening the pressed top and sides of the fabric. Place loop tape on the hem allowance above the fold line. Anchor the tape with pins across the width, then machine baste. [Lesson learned from my mistake with my first shade. I did not machine baste the self adhesive tape to my fabric and after it hung on my window for about 2 weeks the fabric unglued itself from the self adhesive tape. I had to pull down the shade, take it apart and sew the fabric onto the tape.] See picture below.

I cut my lining to the finish width of my shade, plus I added 2" for seam allowance, my window finish width is 26". The length is cut to my window finish length which is 53¼", I rounded it off to 54".

My window lining dimensions......
3 x rod pocket at 3/4" each = 2¼" rod pocket

45" - Finish length
2" - Top turning
2" - Bottom turning
2¼" - Rod pockets
2" - Ease
53¼" (rounded off to 54")

I prepared lining by pressing a 1" seam allowance on both sides (length wise of shade), making sure it measured exactly 1" seam allowance on each side. Afterwards, I turned my lining right side up and pressed 2" on bottom of shade (right side of fabric to right side of fabric).

Making Rod Pockets
For this part of my shade I watched and studied the YouTube video by http:/
From the bottom of lining fabric I folded and pressed 5½", then I measured from that point ½", I marked both side edges of the lining using a straight edge ruler I drew a faint pencil line from edge to edge this is the fold line of my 1st rod pocket. I folded lining wrong sides together along the faint pencil line, then pressed. If you want a sew line, measure and mark ½" above the fold. Draw faint pencil line. Take to the sewing machine and sew accurately along faint line. Measure up from the first stitch line (not the fold line) 12" and then a ½", place pin on both side edges of the lining, draw a faint line between the pins as before. Fold the lining wrong sides together and press. Mark the ½" as before. Stitch the 2nd rod pocket, I repeated the step for the 3rd rod pocket. The remaining fabric above the 3rd rod pocket is for the top of the shade and heading allowance.

To secure my fabric sides, I stitched a herringbone stitch along both side edges of fabric length wise(see Youtube video on herringbone stitch for a quick tutorial).

Once secured, I placed fabric face down. I measured up 5½" from the hem fold on both side edges of my fabric and placed a pin to mark the spot. This marks the position of my 1st rod pocket. Then I measured 12" from the pin marking for my 2nd rod pocket. I repeated the same for my 3rd rod pocket. I laid my lining right side up on top of my fabric insuring I had 1" of face fabric showing on either side. I made sure the stitch lines for my rod pockets are aligned with the pins on my face fabric. If yours do not align exactly, just make a few adjustments at this time. See picture below.

I pinned the lining in place getting it ready to slip stitch. It is important to keep the shade as flat as possible at this stage. Slip stitch should not go through the face fabric.

Once the lining was stitched in place it was time to place the rings. I marked the rings 4" from my fabric edge. I made sure my rings are squared with each other and the shade draws up level. I folded the shade so the rods stack up with each other. I made sure the sides were aligned and ready to secure the rings.

To secure my fabric and lining together I made a small stitch under the rod pocket seam line at each ring position. This will ensure that both fabrics will stay together as the shade is drawn up.

Now I folded the bottom and pinned the hem in place to get ready for my slip stitch, be sure to leave the ends open. Next I completed the top of shade by trimming away any excess fabric at the top of my fold line. I trimmed the fabric to leave 1" beyond the loop tape. Then I folded and pressed a ½" seam allowance, be sure to pin in place through all the fabric and slip stitch through the lining only.

Now, the lining is ready for the rods. The rods will assure that your shade folds perfectly. I measured the width of rod pockets and cut rods ¼" shorter. I inserted a rod into each pocket and stitch the ends closed. Then I stitched the rings according to my markings (4" away from the edge), which will correspond with each cord drop.

Now, that I have all my rods our in their individual rod pocket its time to insert my metal weight rod. The metal weight rod assures that your shade hangs perfectly. Cut the metal weight bar 1" shorter than the width of your shade. Slide it into the bottom pocket and stitch ends close.

I’m getting close to finishing my shade. But, first I need to dissect my mini-blind before attaching the shade to the head rail track.


The great thing about using my old mini-blind is I did not have to purchase a mounting board, L-brackets, pulleys, anchors, screw eyes or lifting cord. Using my mini-blind saved me lots of money. Believe me I did intensive research before beginning this project.

On a flat surface I laid out my mini-blind fully extended. Carefully I cut away all of the thin tilting/ladder-like strings, being very careful not to cut the lift cord, which was located in the center of the slat (you can’t miss it). I simply ran my scissors along the top of the slats, cutting away the tilt strings and avoiding the lift cord altogether. I trimmed away the strings at the top of the blind and the bottom so that all I had left was the center lift-cord.

I took out the plastic plugs from the bottom slat of the mini-blind. Then I simply slide out all the slats.

Now, I only have the mini-blind head rail and the lift cords, similar to the picture below.

Next, I removed tilt rod and tilter (which allows the slats to open and close). Once those two items were removed I was left with the cord lock and plastic pulleys that the cord would feed through. Besides the tilter just gets in the way of making my shade look nice and neat in the front.

I applied my adhesive velcro to the front of head rail, I allowed the adhesive velcro to sit for an hour.

Once, the velcro sat for at least 1 hour I laid my roman shade on a flat surface right side facing down so that velcro loop tape is facing upwards. Then I laid my velcro front side of head rail onto the loop tape.

I insured the cord drops are fully extended then I threaded the cords though the rings and knot the last bottom ring.
By the way, the position of my pull cord is about 5” in from the head rail edge on my mini blinds. So, when I placed the shade on the velcro head rail it is going to cover the pull cord (see picture above). I have to reach behind the shade to pull the cord, which is no problem for me.

Voila!! This is my roman shade tutorial. I hope my directions were clear. If not, please let me know if you did not understand. I will be glad to answer any questions.

Please show me pictures of your roman shades after you make one with my tutorial.


alina victoriaa said...

Ready made roman blinds shown in this post are actually beautiful and truly written that these blinds actually adds a classic touch and a decor to home's decoration.

alina victoriaa said...

Nice Recommendation! One of the best quality based made to measure roman blinds services can be found at the company' website which they have established for the same purpose only. Today, around us there are several companies who are trading in the same profession.

breynolds5 said...

Your shades have it all. They are line, sewed edges, and elegant. I will be doing this project very soon. Thanks for the great tutorial.

breynolds5 said...
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breynolds5 said...
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Mary said...

Thank you all for your nice comments. I made this tutorial for people like me that sew. I wanted them to look professionally made for my windows.

Eva said...

I have been searching endlessly for a tutorial on how to make roman shades that are lined and sewn, but also makes use of mini-blinds. Great combination. As a seamstress, I wasn't satisfied with other tutorials using glue, not having sufficient hem allowances, etc... I thought the basic idea, ingenious but wanted a very professional finished shade. Thank you so much. I can now make my Roman Shades without compromising my work integrity.
Well done!!

Joan Addicks said...

I was wondering why you didn't use the blind slats and used the metal bar instead? What width was the bar you used?