How To Make Roman Shades Without Cords

How To Make Roman Shades Without Cords

Have you ever admired the clean, elegant look of roman shades in home decor magazines or Pinterest boards but thought there’s no way you could tackle a project like that? Well, I’m here to tell you that you absolutely can make beautiful roman shades for your home without breaking the bank or requiring expert sewing skills!

Roman shades are a popular window treatment because they offer a structured, tailored look that works in many design styles from traditional to modern. Unlike drapes which can look bulky, roman shades provide a streamlined silhouette that lets light filter into a room while still providing privacy and softness.

The best part is that roman shades are surprisingly easy to DIY. With some basic sewing skills and patience, you can customize them exactly how you want in the perfect fabric to match your home’s decor.

In this step-by-step tutorial, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make your own roman shades without cords for enhanced safety and visual appeal. I’ll share tips for taking measurements properly, selecting fabrics, calculating material needed, and sewing the shades so you can get professional-looking results.

Follow along as I demystify the process of creating your own custom roman shades! You’ll be amazed how much money you can save and how rewarding it feels to make them yourself.

Materials You’ll Need

Before we start sewing, you need to make sure you have all the necessary supplies. Having the right materials on hand will make the project go much smoother:

  • Fabric – For a standard size window, you’ll need about 2-3 yards of your main shade fabric. Linens, cottons, or lightweight decorative fabrics work well. Get an extra 1/2 yard if you want to use the same fabric to cover the mounting board.
  • Lining fabric – Around 1-2 yards of lightweight cotton or blackout lining to mount behind the main fabric. This helps the shades hang nicely.
  • Rings – Plastic or metal rings 1/2″ to 1″ in diameter are ideal. You’ll need 8-20 rings depending on the shade’s size.
  • Dowels (optional) – 1/4″ wooden dowels are standard. Use dowels equal to the width of your window.
  • Mounting board – A 1″ x 2″ board around 2-4 feet long to mount the shade on.
  • Eye hooks and screws – Small eye hooks to attach the cords to the mounting board. Get enough for each ring.
  • Tools – Measuring tape, scissors, sewing machine, iron, pencil, pliers, drill.

Once you assemble all these supplies, you’ll be ready to start measuring and sewing!

Taking the Right Measurements

Getting accurate measurements is crucial for properly sizing your shades. Take your time here and double check your math.

First, decide if you’ll mount your shade inside the window frame or outside. Inside mounts completely fill the window area, while outside mounts extend beyond the frame onto the surrounding wall.

For inside mounts:

  • Measure across the top, middle, and bottom of the window frame. Use the smallest width.
  • Measure from top to bottom on both sides and the middle. Use the largest length.
  • Subtract 1/8″ from width and use as finished width. This ensures it fits.
  • Use the length measurement for finished length.

For outside mounts:

  • Measure across the top, middle, and bottom of the window frame. Use the largest width.
  • Measure from top to bottom on both sides and the middle. Use the largest length.
  • Add at least 4 inches to the width. This allows overlap on the frame.
  • Add at least 2 inches to the length. Allows for more visibility.
  • Use these new measurements for finished width and length.

Once you have your finished width and length measurements, it’s time to calculate the fabric needed.

Cutting Fabric for Your Shade

With the finished size determined, you can now calculate how much fabric to buy:

For the main shade fabric:

  • Add 4 inches to the finished width. This accounts for side hems.
  • Add 4 inches to the finished length if not using dowels.
  • If using dowels, add length of dowels x 1.5 inches to the finished length. Then add 4 inches. This provides space for dowel pockets.

For the lining fabric:

  • Subtract 2 inches from finished width. This prevents lining from showing.
  • Subtract 1 inch from cut length of main fabric.

Now simply cut your fabric pieces to these dimensions! Using a thread to cut longer straight edges helps.

Sewing Your Roman Shade

With the fabric cut, it’s time for the fun part – sewing! I’ll walk you through each key step:

Sew the fabric and lining together

  • Align the fabric and lining with right sides facing and raw edges even.
  • Sew together at the sides using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
  • Iron the seams flat.

Create a bottom hem gusset

  • Fold the bottom edge of the fabric to the back side 2 inches and press.
  • Fold the inner raw edge 1/2 inch and press again.
  • Top stitch this fold in place across the width to form a narrow hem. This creates a channel.

Add dowel pockets (optional)

  • If using dowels, measure and mark their placement every 8 inches starting from the bottom hem.
  • Fold the fabric over at each mark and sew a straight line across to create channels for dowels to slide in.

Sew side hems and insert lining

  • With right sides together, fold the side edges of the fabric over the lining 1 inch.
  • Sew down the inner fold of each side hem.
  • Insert the lining into the main fabric piece with edges matched up and smooth flat. The main fabric should overlap the lining equally on both sides.

Add top piping (optional)

  • Sew trim or piping across the top edge of the shade for a finished look.

Iron all seams

  • Be sure to iron each seam flat as you sew for a crisp finish.

At this point your main shade fabric is fully assembled! Time to add the hanging apparatus.

Adding Hardware for Hanging

Now we need to add the hardware that allows the shades to mount up and be raised and lowered.

Attach rings

  • Mark and hand sew rings to the back of the shade, spacing them evenly top to bottom. Place one near each side.
  • For shades with dowels, place rings just behind each dowel channel.

Mount the shade

  • Cut mounting board to the width of the shade. Wrap fabric around and staple in place.
  • Align the top piping of the shade with the front edge of the board. Staple or glue in place.
  • Screw eye hooks into the board aligned with each ring.

Thread cords

  • Cut cord lengths equal to width + length of shade + 60″.
  • Thread cords from each bottom ring up through matching eye hooks.

The hardware is ready to mount up!

Hanging Your Shade

You did it! Now it’s finally time to mount your custom roman shade and admire your work:

  • For inside mounts, screw the mounting board directly to the window frame.
  • For outside mounts, screw brackets into the wall and clip the board on.
  • Pull the cords through the rings and hooks and cut off excess cord.
  • Carefully raise and lower the shade to make sure the dowels/pleats fold up evenly. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to stand back and appreciate how your new shade transforms the room!

Customizations and Variations

The great thing about DIY roman shades is that you can customize everything to match your style. Get creative with:

  • Fun patterned fabrics like florals, paisleys or buffalo check.
  • Unique textures like burlap, jute or embroidered linen.
  • Contrasting fabrics on front and back sides.
  • Fancy trim details like tassels, fringe or nailheads.
  • Child-safe tension devices installed for cordless safety.
  • Coordinating accents like ties, clips or holdbacks.

Changing up design details like fabric and hardware allow you to perfectly coordinate your shades with your home’s decor.


I hope you now feel confident to take on sewing your own roman shades! With the right fabrics, a bit of measuring, some easy sewing, and a weekend of work, you can create beautiful custom shades for a fraction of the cost of buying them.

More than just saving money, making your own roman shades allows you to control all the details so they perfectly suit your style and windows. Take your time, have fun getting creative, and transform any room with these elegant shades.

Your new shades will provide a clean, tailored look and prevent you from having to buy expensive custom window treatments. I can’t wait for you to enjoy your fresh, cordless roman shades brightening up your home!