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No Sew Window Treatment: Relaxed Roman Shades

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How to Make a No Sew Roman Shade for Any Window in Your Home

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 ShadesNo Sew Roman Shade

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.

Overview of How I Made My Own No Sew Roman Shades

(Full tutorial below)

Mudroom showing a no sew Roman Shade on the exterior door

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.

DIY-no-sew-window-treatment Roman Shade on a window

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.

Restoration-Hardware-Knockoff-Relaxed-Roman-Shade on a window in a mudroom

On the window I used “inside mounting brackets”.

no-sew-relaxed-roman-shade hanging on window in a mudroom

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.

No-sew-Relaxed-Roman-shade-window-treatment hanging from a window

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.

How to Make a No Sew Roman Shade Using a Roller Shade as the Base

Supplies-needed-to-make-no-sew-relaxed-Roman-Shades

These shades 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
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Optional: Pliers if you need to reverse the brackets
How-to-reverse-a-roller-shade-so-the-fabric-hangs-in-front-of-the-roller

Here is what a set of outside mounted hardware looks like.  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.

How-to-make-a-no-sew-relaxed-roman-shade

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.

No-sew-window-treatment-tutorial

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.

Restoration-Hardware-Knock-off-window-treatment

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.

Instructions-for-no-sew-window-roman-shade

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.)

No-sew-instructions-for-a-roman-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.

Relaxed-roman-shade-tutorial-no-sew

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.

No-Sew-fabric-window-treatment

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

window-shades-that-use-hot-glue-instead-of-sewing

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.

No-sew-Relaxed-Roman-Shade-how-to-tutorial

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

No-Sew-Window-Treatment-Ideas

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.

Easy-no-sew-window-treatment-ideas

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

Roller-Shades

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

DIY-window-treatment-ideas

It is ready to hang in roller shade brackets.

No-Sew-Roller-Shades-to-look-like-a-relaxed-roman-shade

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

Simple-no-sew-window-treatments

I have changed a lot in this mudroom, even the painted rug that you see on the floor in this photo. I painted a new more colorful rug over it. You can see it here –How to Paint a Rug on the Floor

No-Sew-Relaxed-Roman-Shades-made-using-a-vinyl-roller-shade

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58 Comments

  1. Love this look, and I have a window door like this in my laundry room that could happily use this treatment. Thank you for your excellent instructions on how to make this shade.

  2. Diane these look really good…the white looks so clean and fresh. I made some for my kitchen just like those except mine are plaid…I have really enjoyed them…I just love all your projects..

  3. Hi! Diane
    Love the look! Your blinds look so clean and fresh, so simple yet so stylish!~
    Love your site! and love all of your style! Thanks so much for sharing.
    Have a good day :)
    Lou