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DIY Roman Shades from Mini Blinds- Part 1

I have been loving walking into my bright new dining room.  It’s not all done, but it’s looking better everyday and that makes me HAPPY!

This weekend I got a chance to work on turning these boring mini blinds into new Roman shades and they look so good.  I find myself just standing and staring at them, then I smile and go on to the next project.  But before I get myself deep into adding trim to the bench and cutting boards for the plank wall, I am stopping to stare a little and share my tutorial on how I made them.

I am going to share my measurements for my window, likely your window is a different size, so you will have to tweak the measurements.  I had some left over drop cloth from a previous project and I wanted to use the left over printed fabric from my built in bench cushions.  I decided I wanted a decorative boarder of 5″ around the perimeter of the drop cloth material with a 1/2″ accent trim on the inside of the border.  I always sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance (unless I am sewing clothing that I’m going to be fitting to a body).  I chose a 1″ hem on the sides and bottom and gave myself 2″ to tuck over the top of my mini blinds.

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So after I pieced the scraps of my printed fabric together, I cut out all my fabric pieces listed below.


For my trim fabric, I had another scrap of the light green, but it was a small piece (about the size of a fat quarter).  I knew it would be big enough to make all the trim I needed but I had to do a little more piecing together :(.  Because the trim is going to be on straight lines, I didn’t need to bother cutting it out on the bias.  

But I did decide to carefully pice it together for the cleanest look (I didn’t want it to be obvious that the entire Roman shade was pieced together from scraps!).

To piece together the tips of fabric I opted to sew them like I would a bias tape.  If you just sew the strips together across the bottom, there will be a lot of bulk at each seam.  If you sew them on a diagonal, the extra bulk of the seam is spread out and the seams are harder to see.

After I cut a bunch of 1 1/2″ strips of fabric from my green scrap, I lined them up on the corner perpendicular to each other.  Then using my disappearing ink pen, I drew a quick line between the two outside corners.


Sew across this line.  I don’t bother back-stiching this line since the ends of the seam will be sewn into another seam, it saves a little time and hassle.  Then I give it a quick trim with my handy pinking shears.


Next you will want to iron the seam flat.  Don’t skip this step!  Ironing is so important to making an amazing and well sewn project.


I did this step over and over until all my little pieces were sewn together.

Then I ironed the long strip I made in half.  Again, get a nice flat seam.  I love to use lots of steam to help with this.


Now it’t time to sew up the Roman shade.  Lay out your middle panel fabric, right side up and lay the trim fabric on the edge and then top it off with the border fabric, right side down.  The border fabric will be longer than the middle panel.  

You will want to line them both up at the top and then leave the extra at the bottom so you can miter the corner at the end.  Pin it all really good to hold it together while sewing.


Before you start sewing, you will want to pin the trim fabric for the bottom border in under the trim fabric for the side, then pin down the border.  I forgot to do this and had to unpick it :(.


Then you can sew this seam from the top of the middle panel to the bottom.  Back-stich at the bottom of the panel, but don’t sew past the end of the middle panel.  I love to use my 1/4 inch seam foot for sewing this.  It has a little lever at exactly the 1/4 inch seam line when your needle is on center.


Then you will do the exact same thing on the other side.

After sewing both sides, it was time to go back to the iron!  I really cannot stress enough how important ironing is :)!  I ironed the trim so it overlapped the middle panel.


This is what you will have at this point.  It already looks so pretty!


Then you are going to lay your bottom border piece over the top of this, right side down.  Center the panel so there are equal amounts on either side (I had about 1/4 inch overhang on both sides).  Pin it real good and then sew from the edge of the middle panel to the edge of the middle panel.


Now comes the trickiest part, mitering the corner.  It really isn’t as hard as it looks, but there are a lot of layers at the corner because of the trim.  You want to fold over the middle panel at a 45 degree angle.  Then I drew a line that continued from the egde of the middle panel to the corner.  This is the line you will sew along.


I used lots of pins to hold everything together beautifully while sewing.  Be careful to sew only from the edge of the middle panel, don’t accidentally sew onto it or you will create a funny tuck in your middle panel.


Before trimming or ironing, I just had to open up my seam to make sure everything looked right.  And it did!


Then I trimmed the excess fabric from the back and gave it a nice pressing with an iron with lots of steam.  Oh my goodness, that’s a pretty mitered corner!


Now you’ve got the beautiful Roman shades all sewn together.  The next part is the easy part, I promise!  But since this is already a very lengthy tutorial.  I’m going to save the rest for tomorrow and go cut some wood for the bench trim :).

*UPDATE: Part 2 of the tutorial is up and you can find it here!



-Kati with picture of blog author Kati

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Thursday 9th of April 2015

Oh my goodness this is awesome! I love Roman shades and never realized how to make them! Tweeted this to spread the word about this great DIY project! :-) Thank you so much for sharing this on Making Memories Mondays! :-) Cathy

Kati Farrer

Thursday 9th of April 2015

Thanks Cathy. And they're so easy to make! I'm getting ready to do 4 more for my family room.


Thursday 9th of April 2015

Hi Again :-) I just realized that you do not have twitter, I will share on facebook! :-) Cathy

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