Years ago, I used a workroom whose owner is Italian. She could not say “Laurel”– she always called me Laurrrrie.
She would say,
“Laurrrie, all you do are drrrapes and Rrrroman shades.”
Pretty much. I have done valances but the number of times, I can count on two hands. To see one job where we did valances, please click here.
The number of times I’ve done a swag is at most two times, but I think only once; It was a relatively loose swag.
While I’ve never actually made one, I’m well-acquainted with how they are constructed.
And the pitfalls.
Today, I’m going to share all of that with you.
The Advantages of Roman Shades Over Drapes
- They are usually a lot less money.
- There’s less fabric,
- less labor and no
- no expensive hardware.
- Installation costs less too.
There are different types but I’ve only done three different variations.
SOFT FOLD OR RELAXED SOME CALL IT
WITH TAILS OR SOME SAY DOG EARS
There’s another type with permanent pleats. I forgot what it’s called but it’s too much fabric for my taste.
Inside Mount vs. Outside Mount
Inside, is duh…inside the window frame and IMO usually preferable, especially if there’s a pretty window casing.
Outside mount is when the shade is outside the window frame. There are a few different reasons why we do that sometimes.
- there is inadequate space to install an inside mount shade. (more about that in a sec)
- it’s in a bedroom and the inhabitant(s) need/want the room to be very dark. There are gaps in an inside mount shade
- There are multiple shades and some are inside and some are not.
- There’s another shade that’s inside the window frame. That could be a roller shade, wood blinds, I’ve even seen two Roman shades together!
Here are some other outside mount Roman Shades.
Love the cornice over the outside-mount Roman Shade with red trimming.
Love valance over the shade with trim detail.
As well demonstrated in the charming room above, the outside shade should hang out about an inch on each side of the window frame.
While we’re on Greek Key for trim, here are a few more. Just because I love it so!
This is actually a roller shade, but she used DUCK TAPE for the trim. Here’s the tutorial.
I cannot find who did this, so if anyone knows, please tell me. It gives a clear diagram of how to apply a Greek Key border. Love this!
This is a wonderful bank of Roman Shades in a sheer linen. Please note that you won’t have complete privacy. I also love the extra flap detail at the bottom of the shade.
The flap is necessary any time there is a trim one wants to see on the bottom.
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
How a Roman Shade is Made
In case you didn’t realize, this is the back side of the shade. :]
I’ve never done the kind of Roman shade with the dowels, but it’s a nice look if you don’t mind the horizontal lines.
All Roman shades have rings and nylon cords that go through them to pull the shade up and down. This one above has a clutch mechanism under the board. For years, I didn’t use the clutch because one time very early on, one broke. But the last few years, Cristina has been doing them with the clutch for me and it is so much easier because you don’t have to wrestle with the cord or tie it up around a cleat in order to keep the shade up.
Here’s one without the dowels and without the clutch. This is a flat fold with five rows of rings. And yes, they are sewn on individually–by hand. There is a ring tape, but that can only be used with a blackout lining, unless wants to see the tape.
Please also note that one often sees the rings and/or where they are sewn on— and the cords— especially with sheer Romans.
The shade is mounted on a 1″ x 2″ board is running with the wide side parallel with the window frame.
This next part is important.
If you are doing an inside mount and space is tight, you can have your workroom run the board the other way. That is what we did for the green shade above. You can have as little as 1/2″ to work with.
There are some who will say that’s not enough, but we do it ALL the time! I did it in my old house. (below) It is alright if the shade protrudes up to 1/2″. It’s not noticeable. (and yes, those are the same finials I use for the curtain rods used as weights for the cords)
Here is a tutorial about how to make a Roman Shade. I think I would rather eat oatmeal for a month, rather than attempt to make one of these things. If you don’t already know, the art of making these fine shades is quite detailed and the reason why custom window treatments cost so much.
Something to be careful about
Usually I prefer not to use blackout lining, but sometimes it’s necessary. One of those times is when you’re using a crewel fabric. They tend to have a mess of threads on the back and when the light shines through, you’ll see them. Therefore, it is necessary to use a blackout linking. Here’s a job a few years ago, where we had that situation.
Laurel Bern Interiors window treatments
Yes, it’s a big production to do a curved top Roman shade. But as you can see; it’s possible.
Long Windows or banks of windows.
When there is a mullion in between the windows we can do separate shades.
If there is not mullion, then there is the option to do one long shade
or break it up between windows leaving about a 1/4-1/2″ between shades.
Gorgeous bathroom with lovely sheer linen shades.
This brings me to another common problem with Roman Shades.
The part of the window that needs to be covered in a bathroom is the bottom, not the top usually.
There are two solutions. One is to do the shade as below which we needed to do anyway.
In any case, what I do for all of my Roman Shades is make a permanent pleat at the bottom and then when down, it’s not just a piece of straight fabric hanging. But then, I suggest raising it a few inches from the sill. The first two are frame. Exposing 4 or 5 inches of glass isn’t enough to see much.
Laurel Bern Interiors
There is a third option which is the top down shades. I found a tutorial on how to make them.
I tried years ago, to have my workroom make them and I was told they could only be done in a factory. I don’t know. Anyone have any experience with that?
Otherwise, it is possible as in the Bronxville Bathroom to mount the shades part of the way down as in the lovely room below.
This is also a situation where they broke up the long expense with three shades. Really well-done.
This is a big month for me!
Thursday evening, the 7th is the Westchester Home Awards where I am up for two awards for Best Bathroom. (the one above with the wallpaper) and Best Dining Room. You know the one! It is open to the public if anyone is in Westchester County and wants to come. I believe it costs $25 to get in.
Mid-April is the High Point Market where I was selected to go on this special tour.
I know. Holy Crap is right!
THEN on April 23rd… I will be unveiling the Laurel Home Curated Paint Collection.
And man, I can’t tell you how much you’re gonna love this. Well, I hope you will!
More about that very soon.
And the end of the month I am FINALLY going to Italy. I have never been but it’s been a dream for many years. I’m going with the Design Blogger folks; it’s a great group! A trip of a life-time.