No Sew Window Treatment: Relaxed Roman Shades

I have slowly been giving my mudroom a makeover. I am doing a little bit at a time. I started by painting the jelly cabinet, then painted the walls.  I am most excited by what I am going to do on the floor – more to come on that soon.  The last few days I have been working on a no sew window treatment.  I removed the wood blinds that have been hanging in the room for many years and replaced them with relaxed Roman shades.

Restoration Hardware Relaxed Roman Shades

Restoration Hardware

I was inspired to make them ever since I saw this one at Restoration Hardware.  I would have loved to buy this, but for the size I needed x 2, it would have cost over $500!

I shopped all around to find them for less, but all I could find were traditional Roman shades with the bars on the back and the bottom straight across, not soft and relaxed looking.  I bought and hung them, but did not like how you could see the horizontal bars through the fabric and there were too many cords hanging down that needed a mounted cleat.   I returned them.

I wanted simple, light, and airy.

So what does a DIY’er do when she can’t find what she wants – she makes it.


Here is my $15 no-sew version using a vinyl roller shade as the base.   It took some trial and error, but I am extremely happy on how they came out.

To hang the shades so the fabric rolls in front of the roller, I had to do a little hardware tweaking.  Most roller shades roll down with the fabric behind the roller. I didn’t want to see the roller.


On the door I used “outside mounting brackets”. I am going to paint the silver roller brackets to match the door when it gets a new coat of paint soon.


On the window I used “inside mounting brackets”.


To roll them up and down, I simply place my hand under the bottom fold and pull up or down – no cords or cleats needed.


I wanted the light to filter through my shades, but you can buy roller shades that are room darkening. If I was using a colorful fabric or print, I would use room darkening so the light would not change the look of the fabric’s colors.



These are not hard to make – each step is simple, but there are a lot of steps.  Read through the directions first to acquaint yourself with each step.  Now that I have made two – I could whip one up in short order.


Supplies Needed:

Roller shade cut to size
Roller shade brackets
Roller Shade hem grip
Fabric – For length, you will need enough to cover the shade when it is rolled down to the window sill, plus add 18 inches. For width – width measurement of shade, plus at least 1-inch extra so you can turn back 1/2 -inch of fabric onto the back on each side of the shade.  (If using a printed fabric – make sure you center the pattern on the shade before cutting it).
Spray glue, hot glue and glue gun or fabric glue, and glue stick.
T-square or yardstick
Optional: Pliers if you need to reverse the brackets


Here is a set of outside mounted hardware.  Reverse hardware is made by a few companies, but I could not find it, so I tweaked the traditional hardware.

The bracket with the hole needs to go on the left ( it is made to go on the right).  Simply turn it upside down to hang on the left side. The bracket with the slot needs to go on the right. I used pliers to bend it the way I needed it.   The top left photo shows the brackets right out of the package. If hanging the roller with the fabric falling behind the roller – use as is.  If hanging with the fabric falling in front of the roller – bend the bracket in the opposite direction. The bottom photo is how it should look.


1. Hang brackets. Hang shade and unroll to the bottom of the window. Measure this open length.  Roll back up and remove shade.

2. Place shade on work surface and unroll making sure the side the fabric is going to be on is face up.  Start at the bottom of the shade – measure up from the bottom to the top of the shade and mark where the unrolled length goes to,  add 6-inches.   This is how much of the shade you will need to cover with fabric.  Draw a faint straight line with a pencil across the shade. This will act as a guide to keep the fabric even and straight when you glue it to the shade.  There will be 12-inches of fabric that will hang loose from the bottom of the shade when you attach it. This will be hand pleated and glued to create the relaxed bottom edge.


3. Mask off the bottom 5-inches of the shade with scrap paper and painter’s tape.  you don’t want spray glue to get on this section.

4. Go outside to use spray glue. Hold rolled down shade in one hand– to expose the area where the fabric will be adhered.  Spray the glue all over the surface making sure to get edges.


5. Lay it on the floor and let the glue get tacky – about 2 minutes.   To attach the fabric – start at the top of the shade.   Roll the fabric loosely – so you can un-roll it down the shade as you work to press and adhere it to the shade.   Line up the top edge of the fabric on the line you drew. Make sure the fabric  is centered. Start un-rolling the fabric, smoothing with your hands as you unroll the fabric.  When you get to the end – let the excess fabric at the bottom alone for now.


6.  Trim excess fabric on sides of shade if needed. (If using a light filtering roller  shade – make sure this cut line is straight and not jagged or you will see it when you hang the shade.)


7.  Measure 5-inches up from the hem of the shade. Make a cut in the fabric that is to be turned to the back at this 5-inch mark. Repeat on the other side of the shade.


8. Run a glue stick along the excess fabric along the side of the shade and the edge of the shade. Fold over the fabric above the mark to the back of the shade.  Press with your fingers to make sure it sticks.  Fold the 5 inches below that to meet the edge of the shade, but not around to the back.  (This will create an unattached finished edge for the bottom pleating.)  

9.  Fold the fabric that falls from the bottom over 1/2” on each side and the bottom.  Press with your hands to make a finished edge.  Press with iron if needed.


It will look like on each side of the bottom of the shade.


9. Attach the bottom corner of the fabric that falls from the bottom of the shade to the bottom corner of the shade. Use a dot of hot glue to attach. (Make sure not to touch the tip of the glue gun to the vinyl or it will melt it.)  

Repeat on the other side.


10. The excess center fabric will hang from the bottom.  Using your hands – create loose pleats.


11.  Place a dot of hot glue or fabric glue under each pleat and on top in between each pleat. Gently press into the shade.


The bottom will look straight, but when it is hung – the center fabric will softly fall to create the relaxed look.


Attach the hem grip. This will help keep the shade fingerprint smudge free.


It is ready to hang.


Once hung – use your fingers to arrange the pleats into soft folds.


If you would like to see what color I painted the wall that used to be dark green, you can see a peek over on My ColortopiaSteps for Painting Over Dark Walls with a Light Color.





  1. Maggie says

    I priced relaxed Roman shades online for my bedroom, with a privacy lining and using a plain cotton fabric – for my 5 windows it was $1700. I want to try this – will they hold up to daily raising and lowering? Widest one is 52″.

    • says

      Hi Maggie – I have raised and lowered them daily since I made them and they work perfectly. I would like them on every window in my home also. I may try making one using the roller from the cut shade, but take off the vinyl just to see how it would look without the vinyl backing. To do that, I would cut the fabric the size of the vinyl and staple the top edge to the roller. Then pleat the bottom onto soft folds. If I have success, I will post how I did it.

  2. Maggie says

    The modification removing the vinyl sounds like a great idea and allow me to use the heavier cotton or linen I am thinking about using. My next problem is that I want to use an outside mount to cover all of the frame, but I have three windows together, one large and two smaller (overall length is 112″) Guess I will have to make a fabric valance to cover all of the mountings and mount the shade, rolled backwards, so it is flush against the frame. Valance will cover the roller. Or is there a better way?

    • says

      Hi Maggie – I think I would do it the same way you explained. Long windows are always the hardest to figure out since you need to add support in the center for the long valance. I might try making the shades as an outside mount on my bedroom windows so that I don’t have the light coming in on the sides of the shade. They are only 32″ wide. I think I will spray paint the hardware white. If it looks OK, I will leave it alone. IF not, I may try to make a small valance out of wood molding. If it comes out OK, I will post the valance idea when it is completed.

  3. WorkingMama says

    These are absolutely gorgeous and your tutorial is very easy to follow!
    I’m looking for something “natural” for my “dining al fresco” dining room – teak table/chairs, sky blue walls, tree branch as a lamp and string lights for a chandelier – and these will be perfect!

  4. Diane says

    I was really excited to try this with a room in my house! But, I found a few things that may have been good to know before I started because I have never bought fabric before and am ignorant of some basics. Most thin print fabric (I really wanted a print!) only comes in 44″ width. I need 48″ for the windows I am making. At this point, my shades are up and I am still on the hunt for the perfect fabric. I would welcome any suggestions as the pretty fabric I am finding is way too heavy to use. :-(

    • says

      Hi Diane – Sorry that I did not point out that there are different widths of fabric. I have been DIYing for so long that I sometimes forget to go back to the basics for readers just learning how to do things. Most fabric is 44″- 45″ wide, but “Decorator Fabric” is 54″ – 56″ wide. It is usually, but not always a heavier weight and more expensive. I am always thrilled when I find a nice decorator look fabric in the novelty print or basic fabric selections.

      JoAnn Fabrics has a great selection of both kinds of fabric. It is where I but most of mine. I also like As a rule of thumb, if you have to seam fabric to get the width you need, you make two seams instead of one. Use the entire width of the fabric and add a piece on to each side to get the width you need. It looks better than having one seam run down the middle of your window.

      I don’t have a post on how to make a no-sew seam, but it is very easy. I will create a post soon about this.

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