Window shade tutorial

I’m back, with a really simple tutorial on how to make a pretty fabric window shade!  If you can sew a straight line (or even iron a straight line for that matter) you can make this shade.

When we bought our house, we inherited 1980’s off-white metal blinds. yay.  I guess I should consider myself lucky that we had any blinds at all.  Over the past year, I’ve been slowly replacing them to pretty things up.  You saw the shades in the kitchen and dining room- I did NOT make those.  But I did hang them!!

The spare upstairs bedroom in our house (we have 2 bedrooms upstairs- one is the “master” and the other was functioning as a cat room until December 2010 when I finally got up the nerve to paint again) needed some curtain love.   This is what it looked like when we went and saw the house:

Standing in the dormer, door on the left takes you across the hall to our bedroom

Standing in the door, looking at the dormer.  There is another window to the left (not pictured)

Boring boring boring.  And powder blue.  That had to change!  So about 2 weeks ago I finally had the time and patience to make some curtains for this room- and I can’t believe I waited so long, because they were super easy to make.  I made curtains similar to this style:


Here’s what you’ll need:

Enough fabric to completely cover the length and width of your window (allowing a little extra for hems and a rod pocket).  Make sure you’ve washed your fabric prior to using it, that way it’ll be pre-shrunk (surprise shrinkage after you’ve made something is never a good thing!)
Iron-on hem tape OR a sewing machine
If you’re using a sewing machine, thread color of your choice
Ribbon OR fabric strips
Curtain rod (I used this one from Target- I have 2 sets of curtains on the windows and this one is almost completely hidden, I just wanted something low profile and inexpensive)

Start out by measuring your window- you’ll need to measure the width and length of your window, factoring in the placement of your curtain rod (is it going inside the window? above the window?) and allowing a little extra for a rod pocket and hems.

Cut your fabric to the appropriate size.  FYI- there are a lot of great sites out there to buy fabric from.  In fact, Pinterest has a great link kicking around out there: 30 great places to buy fabric online.  I’d like to add one more to the mix and suggest, which is where I got my fabric.  They’re great!

Iron out any wrinkles and iron your hems- I like to do this before I sew, it eliminates the need for pins (unless the fabric is really stubborn).  If you’re planning on using iron-on hem tape, hem your fabric now with the iron.  You’ll want to hem the sides and the bottom.  Otherwise, sew your hem with a sewing machine.

Fold over the top of the fabric for a rod pocket and iron- I made a 3″ rod pocket on mine- you can make yours as large or as small as you’d like, just make sure your curtain can slide on to the curtain rod.  If you’re using iron-on hem tape, go ahead and secure your rod pocket.  If you’re using a sewing machine, wait one step before securing your rod pocket.

Once you’ve ironed your rod pocket, you’ll want to figure out where to place your ties- what I did was to take two long pieces of grosgrain ribbon and place one approximately 5″ in from either side of the curtain.  I made my ribbon twice the length of the curtain, and folded it over the top (so an equal amount hung down the front of the curtain and the back).  I then pinned my ribbon in place close to where I was planning on sewing down my rod pocket- my plan was to secure both the rod pocket and the ribbon at the same time.

If you’ve used iron-on hem tape to secure your rod pocket, you’ll want to do the same with your ribbon.  Alternatively, you could use some fabric glue to attach it.  You’ll only want to attach it near the top.  Keep reading to see what I mean…

If you’re sewing, you’ll only be attaching the ribbon in one spot- where you’re attaching your rod pocket.  I just sewed a straight line across my fabric and ribbon, which secured the rod pocket and the ribbon all at once.  Easy peasy (or not, since I’ve once again failed to take pictures so all these words may be completely confusing!!).

All that’s left to do is hang your curtain rod and new shade, roll it up and secure it with the ties.  Want to see mine?

Two layers of curtains- shade is on this rod from Target.  Fabric is Meandering Vines from Tonic Living.  Ribbon is grosgrain leftover from our wedding. 

I did leave the white metallic blinds up- they are just hiding behind the shade.  I figure they add another layer to make it dark in the room if necessary.  Another option would be to add a liner to these shades to help block the light. 

Here they are in the room (photo taken from doorway):

Decal from Leen the Graphics Queen

This room is still a work in progress, and unfortunately right now it’s still a cat room (although it can also function as a guest room) so we haven’t done much more to it.  At least now the cats can enjoy some pretty shades, right??


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