How to make a roman blind

Roman blind in window | The Nice Nest
Have you ever wondered how to make a roman blind?

It’s easy if you take it step by step. I like them because they give a neat finish and fabrics can be chosen to suit your interior style whether it is modern, country or down-right glam!

Before measuring for your blind, decide whether you want the blind to hang inside the window against the frame, or on the outside wall.

Blind kits are available that contain all the fittings to make a blind, even down to the screws and rawlplugs. You just have to choose your fabric and lining.

Some blind kits come with tape to secure the rod pockets but I use lining to make rod pockets as it gives a better finish.

As an alternative to buying a kit, you can make your own top batten by covering a piece of wood with fabric, stapling hook tape to the face and using screw eyes for threading the cords. If you choose this method, you will also need a wooden cord pull.

Measure the width and length required and note down the measurements. A builder friend of ours always says “measure twice, cut once” which is good advice when measuring for a blind!

How to make a Roman Blind (Roman Shade)

1. Cutting Out

Iron both the lining and the fabric before cutting out. For the fabric, add 15cm to the finished length to allow for the top and bottom hem. Add 10cm to the finished width for the side seams. For the lining, cut to the exact width of the finished blind and add 15cm on the length for the top and bottom hem. If fabric needs to be joined to cover the width, have one full panel down the centre, with strips either side, to avoid a centre seam.

I mark the top of the lining and the face fabric with two crossed pins, pinned from the wrong side.

2. Working Out How Many Folds and Rod Casings Required

You want to have equal folds when the blind is drawn up, with an allowance on the top section of 5cms (or the width of your headrail). The bottom section is generally half a section with one 1cm added. I generally allow 20-25cm between sections but they can be wider apart depending on the drop.

I worked out the folds for my blind as follows:

Finished Length = 116cm
Variation = 6cm (allowance to cover 5cm head rail, plus 1cm ease)
Total to divide = 110cm

110cm divided by 4 1/2 drops = 24.44cm

1. Top section = 24.44cm + 5cm (head rail allowance) = 29.44cm
2. Second Section = 24.44cm
3. Third Section = 24.44cm
4. Fourth Section = 24.44cm
5. Bottom Section 12.22cm (half drop measurement) + 1cm (ease) = 13.22cm

This equals 115.98cm so 2mm can be added to the top or bottom to reach the finished length.


3. Stitch side seams
Herringbone stitched seam | The Nice Nest

Working with the face fabric first, press a seam of 5cm down each side of the blind. Stitch in place with herringbone stitch, checking every so often that your stitches do not come through to the front of the blind.

4. Attaching the lining
Pin lining to blind fabric | The Nice Nest

Once the side seams are stitched in place, smooth the lining over the face fabric, smoothing any wrinkles and pinning the lining to the fabric as you work. The crossed pins on the lining and fabric should both be at the top. Folding the lining under leaving about 1cm of fabric showing on the back.

Slip stitching lining | The Nice Nest

Slip stitch the lining in place with small, neat stitches and check again to make sure they do not show on the front.

4. Making Pockets for Stiffening Rods

Cutting strips for rod pockets | The Nice Nest

To make pockets for the rods which will stiffen the blinds, cut strips from lining fabric. Cut strips 8cm deep by the width of the blind plus 4cm. You will need to cut one strip for each fold.

Pressing blind pocket strips | The Nice Nest
Press each strip in half, then in half again.

5. Making Bottom Hem

Bottom pocket on roman shade | The Nice Nest

Start by making the bottom hem. Press the hem over by 4cm, the fold over again by 4cm. (This depends on the width of the bottom batten being used to stiffen the bottom of the blind). Pin in place and machine stitch along the bottom edge.

6. Attaching the rod pockets

Attaching rod pockets | The Nice Nest

Measure up from the bottom edge using your half section measurement calculated in step 2. In my example this would be 13.22cm. You can draw a line using a fabric marker or use a line of pins to mark the position. Turn 2cm allowance inside each outside edge of the pocket and pin rod pocket across the blind.  I find it is easier if the top edge of the casing is placed along the line marked on fabric with the pins in the middle of the casing. This leaves just enough space to machine stitch in place without having to remove pins as you work. Once you get to the other end, trim if required leaving sufficient fabric to fold under the 2cm allowance.

Next measure up a full section, in my example 24.44cm, and again either draw a line with a fabric marker or mark with a line with pins, then pin the casing in place. Repeat up the blind.

7. Finishing the top edge

Pin hook tape | The Nice Nest

Mark top edge with a line of pins and press the edge over  (this will be 5cm longer than the other sections – in my example it is 29.44cm. Trim allowance if necessary, then pin hook tape in place and stitch.

6. Inserting rods in to the rod pockets
Threading the rod pockets | The Nice Nest

Next insert the battens and rods into the pockets. If the batten and rods are too long, mark with pencil then use a small hacksaw to trim. Watch out if they are made of fibreglass as the small fibres can prickle your fingers! Once trimmed to the correct size, slide the bottom batten into the hem casing and stitch to close at either side. Then slide the rods into the casing pockets and again stitch at either side to close.

You will need to stitch small plastic rings on to each rod pocket. The number you need depends on the number of cords. For a small blind I usually have three or four cords threaded. For my example, as there are three rod pockets, if I had four cords I would need to stitch on 12 rings, with four on each rod pocket.

7. Finishing and fixing the blind
Threading the blind | The Nice Nest

Attach the blind to the top batten, make sure the blind lies flat, then thread the cords through the appropriate rings, tying securely on the last ring and trimming the excess. Fit the blind according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: I machine stitch the rod pockets in place, stitching through the top fabric and lining to secure. I’m happy with this method as I use natural materials and like a fairly casual look. I have found this method makes hard wearing blinds.

If you used an expensive fabric or something with a pronounced pile such as velvet where machine stitching would spoil the look, you can attach the rod pockets to the lining following the instructions above. Stab stitches along the width of each casing secure the lining to the face fabric. Check that only a a few threads are picked up of the face fabric. The bottom casing and the top edge are slip stitched in place.

Note:  When making blinds with cords, please be aware of child safety.  Further information and an explanation of the requirements of the current European regulation can be found on the RoSPA website.  See information regarding EN13120:2009+A1:2014.

Make a roman blind (roman shade) | The Nice Nest

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One thought on “How to make a roman blind



    I have just stumbled across your website – searching for tutorials on how to make roman blinds and oxford cushions … BUT, I am new to this and wondered whether you have ever considered making a step-by-step video? I have found a couple on youtube but they cut off half way through which is very annoying (the curtain academy) for example show how to measure, cut and insert a zip but don’t actually show how to make the cushion!

    Trying to find beginner classes for soft furnishings is proving nigh impossible!

    Just a thought – a video would be so much easier to follow…..

    Many thanks