How to Make Sheer Roman Shades

roman shades
  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50
What You'll Need
Measuring tape and pencil
Sewing machine
Sheer fabric and thread
Dressmaker's scissors: sharpen before using
Clear plastic rings, 1.2 mm cord, cord acorns
Tissue for hem
Velcro hook and loop tape
Purchased header rail, cut to size

Sheer roman shades are among the easiest styles of shades to make. They suit the relaxed, balloon, or cloud styles best due to their lightweight and fluid texture and there's no need to insert dowels. Learn how to make sheer roman shades using the directions below.

Step 1 - Measure the Window for Hanging

Measure inside the window frame from the top underside to the window sill. Measure the fabric adding 1 inch per side to the width and 2 inches to the top and bottom edges.

Step 2 - Measure the Fabric for Fullness

For a plain, relaxed shade cut the fabric to the dimensions shown above. For a balloon shade, use fabric twice the width of the window. For a cloud shade cut the fabric to three times the window width.

Step 3 - Sew in Three of the Four Edges

Sew in hems along the long side edges, 1 inch wide. Sew in a top hem 2 inches deep for the header attachment. At the bottom, make a generous hem sleeve 2 inches deep, and leave the sides open. This hem will be stuffed with tissue for each of the three shade styles.

Step 4 - Prepare the Top Hem for Attaching to the Headrail

For the relaxed roman shade, sew on the hook side of the velcro strip. For the balloon shade, gather the top hem by pulling and distributing gathers across two hand basted pull cords 1 inch apart, till the hem is the same width as the headrail.

Tie off the threads, and snip off the excess gather thread. Sew on the velcro hook side of the strip as above. Fold in and pin box pleats for a balloon shade every 3 inches across the top hem and stitch them down with the sewing machine. When the bottom hem for each is gathered as desired, stuff in the tissue to maintain the shape of the hem, and sew the open edges closed.

Step 5 - Attach the Lifting Components

For each type of shade, attach the bottom plastic ring for lifting to the hemline of the bottom edge. Attach the plastic rings directly to the relaxed shade with doubled thread, in horizontal rows 8 to 10 inches apart, up to the hemline of the top edge. On a balloon shade, fold in and pin the center crease, and sew the plastic rings onto it. Sew the other two sets to the stitched edge of the outer hem on each side.

Align them side to side, and vertically. On a cloud shade, attach the two outer edge sets of rings as for the others, and sew on the rings in two columns up the two folds of the central pleat. This shade will have four strings. Thread the rings with cord upward to the top ring. Attach the shade by its velcro strip to the velcro strip on the header rail, secure the pull strings to the cord acorns and test the shade for smooth action.