How to Make a No Sew Fixed Roman Shade with Valance

How to Make a No Sew Fixed Roman Shade with Valance

Fixed Roman Shade ~

I have been pondering window treatments for CJ’s sensory playroom before we even had the foam flooring installed. Since our little guy deals with light sensitivity issues we put up some blackout shades early on – and since they have done their job so well – the actual treatments, of course, were long forgotten about and moved to the back burner. While I really liked the function of the blackout shades, the look has always just seemed unfinished to me. It could have been the white walls – the exposed window frames – or simply how the light peeked through the top – I just felt they needed a little something extra. I found a couple roman shade options I thought were perfect from one of my favorite catalog stores and decided to incorporate the same look in a modified version – a fixed roman shade, better to suit the room.

Playroom Window Treatment It took me a couple days to actually figure out a plan – but I finally came up with a no-sew fixed Roman Shade version for the two windows. These roman shades are not operable and more for aesthetic purposes – but actually better for the playroom since I don’t have to ever worry about the cords. A simple frame and valance was also added on to finish off the look and keep out any light peeking through the top. Best part is I was able to keep the the original blackout shades – which are now nicely tucked away and concealed when not in use.

Materials Needed:
No Sew Fusible Bonding Web {or sewing machine if you prefer to sew}
Blackout Lining
Ribbon Embellishments {optional}
1X2 Piece of Lumber
Wood Glue
L Brackets & Screws
Thin Lath Boards or Wooden Dowels

Tools Needed: handsaw or chop saw, hammer and nail or nail gun, staple gun, screwdriver

Other Supplies Used: measuring tape, scissors, iron, push pins, needle & thread

No Sew Roman Shade
First up is measuring the window and cutting the fabric. For this room I wanted the roman shade to be mounted on the outside of the window – covering the window moulding – and a little bit taller than then actual window itself.

I didn’t stress much over the length – I just measured the exact length of the window – kind of like an actual shade would lay before it is put ‘up’.

The width though does have to be pretty accurate so the blind will cover the entire window.

Here is the formula for calculating the fabric for the shade only – accounting for the hems…
{additional fabric will be needed for the valance noted below}

window width plus 2 inches
window length plus 4 inches

Although these could probably be made with a variety of fabric – to get a nice hanging pleat I would suggest using a medium to heavy weight decorator fabric or duck canvas, as I have used for these shades. Prior to cutting the fabric be sure to iron it to get out any major wrinkles or folds.

Roman Shade Hems
STEP ONE: Begin by hemming the right and left side of the fabric – as shown above. To hide the cut raw edges of the fabric a double fold hem is used. This simply means the edge of the fabric is folded over twice leaving a nice clean hem.

Using the calculated formula – two inches were added to the window width – allowing one inch on each side of the fabric for the hem.

Since double fold hems were used – this means the raw edge of each side of the fabric was folded 1/2 inch, pressed – then folded another 1/2 inch, and pressed again.

Double Fold Hem
These roman shade can certainly be sewn together, however I have used fusible bonding web tape for this tutorial.

I use fusible web tape a lot and have never had any problems with items {like curtains} falling apart or coming undone – however if you feel incline to pull out your sewing machine – please do so.

There are a couple different brands of fusible webbing – I use this brand, super weight strength. Most brands entail just placing the web tape between two layers of fabric and pressing with an iron. The steam activates the bond. For pressing time and fabric compatibility check the specifics on the individual brand packaging – as they do vary.

Following the double fold hem instructions above – hem the right and left sides of the fabric. If you are working with a printed fabric be sure to lay the fabric face down – so the hems will be made to the backside.

Fold the raw edge over 1/2 inch – tuck in the fusible web tape and press – as shown above.

Double Fold Hem
Fold the same edge over another 1/2 inch – tuck in the fusible web tape and press again – as shown above.

Double Fold Hem
Once completed, the sides of the fabric will have a nice clean edge. {note: at this point the top and bottom will be left undone}

Blackout Liner
STEP TWO: Add the blackout liner. Blackout liner can be found at local fabric stores {in the decorator fabric section}. The inexpensive ‘budget line’ is fine for this project – this liner is the one I used.

The liner is attached to the back of the fabric – right over the side hems that were completed in step one.

The liner should be the same height as the fabric and less 1/4 inch on each side – as shown above.

blackout liner
The blackout liner has two sides – one is like fabric and the other is somewhat like smooth rubber.

The fabric-like side of the liner should face up – with the rubber-like side facing down against the fabric.

Blackout Liner
Position the liner 1/4 inch from the double folded hemmed edge – tuck in fusible web tape and press with the iron.

Finished Double Fold Hem
I did not have any problems with the liner using the fusible tape, however I did take caution to make sure the iron did not stay in one spot for a prolonged period of time. It bonded perfectly. Alternatively, the liner could also be sewn in place.

Bottom Hem
STEP THREE: Hem the bottom of the shade following the same double fold hem instructions, as stated in step one.

Fold the bottom raw edge up 1/2 inch – tuck in the fusible web tape and press. Fold the bottom up another 1/2 inch – tuck in the fusible web tape and press again. {note: at this point the top will still be left undone}

Roman Shade Pleats
STEP FOUR: Determine where the fixed pleats should be. This should be done with the shade laying right side up.

The measurements are all going to be determined by the window dimensions and exactly how far down you personally want the fixed shade to hang. Be sure to account for the three inch allowance that needs to be left at the top for hanging.

I played around with the shade until I got the length of the fabric right – then adjusted each pleat as needed to distribute the fabric. Think about a pulled-up roman shade – it does not have to be perfect.

I left 5 inches at the bottom to accommodate the grosgrain ribbon trim – along with room at the top for the valance – more details below.

The pleats were then made every three inches, vertical,  – as shown above – and pinned in place.

DIY Roman Shade
STEP FIVE: Hand stitch the pleats in place. The stitches are made near the top of each pleat – one stitch on each end and one in the middle – as shown above.

Roman Shade Pleats
The stitches should be in an inconspicuous place so they do not show when the shade is hanging. Each pleat overlaps just a bit and it’s best to try and place the stitches under these ‘overhangs’.

If ribbon is going to be used to embellish the shade you don’t have to be so diligent in concealing the outside stitches, as they can be easily be hidden with the ribbon.

Grosgrain Ribbon
STEP SIX {optional}: Adding the ribbon embellishment.

For these particular shades I used 2 1/4 inch grosgrain ribbon and attached it to the shade with the fusible web tape.

I did lay a clean cloth over the ribbon before pressing with the iron to make sure the white stayed white 😉

Mitered Ribbon Corners
For a nice clean look, the ribbon was joined in the corners with mitered seam.

To do this simply fold on end of the ribbon as shown above…

Mitered Ribbon Corners
Attach a straight piece of ribbon near the bottom of the shade – then line up the folded ribbon edge to create the corner – as shown above.

Roman Shade Ribbon Detail
Continue attaching the ribbon with the fusible web tape – working your way to the top of the shade.

Ribbon Detail
Be sure the ribbon follows the loops of each pleat – making sure to lift up each pleat as you go along.

Roman Shade Valance
STEP SEVEN {optional}: Make the valance.

The valance is basically made following the same steps above, used to make the shade itself. Double fold side seams are made on each side of the valance, blackout liner is then attached and finally a double fold seam is made at the bottom.

The valance should be the same exact width of the shade and the length will vary depending on the actual length of the shade.

If using ribbon – attach it to the valance using the same instructions shown in Step Six above.
Note: the top of the valance as well as the top of the shade is still left unfinished.

Roman Shade Frame
STEP EIGHT: Construct the frame for hanging.

The frame is made from a 1X2 piece of lumber. The width will vary upon the window – be sure to account for the existing molding – if there is any already installed on the window. The side pieces should be the same length as the valance made in Step Seven.

Using a handsaw, or chop saw, cut the 1X2 to size. Attach the three pieces together using wood glue and a nail gun.

It is primarily used to hang the valance and shade – however I like the finish look the sides add to the top, especially if the shade is being mounted outside the window moulding.

Roman Shade Hardware
Because the side pieces will be exposed, use a staple gun to cover them with scrap fabric – to match the roman shade.

Roman Shade Hanger
STEP NINE: Attach the L-brackets to frame. I used three L-brackets on our frames since they were 44 inches wide – one on each side along with one in the middle.

Grosgrain Ribbon Cordless Roman Shade
STEP TEN: Staple the top of the shade and valance to the frame. {the tops of both of these have been left un-hemmed – as once they are stapled they will not be visible}

A 3 inch allowance has been left at the top of both the shade and valance for this step.

Roman Shade Pleat Stabilizer
STEP TEN: Insert the wooden slats into each pleat pocket. This will help prevent sagging in the middle of the shade.
I used thin white lath boards cut to size – though any thin piece of wood would work. Wooden dowels can be used as well.

Playroom Window Treatments
The frame gets attached to the wall using the other end of the L-brackets.

DIY Roman Shade
You can see the how the sides of the frame help block any light peeking out of the valance.

This is what the windows looked like with just the blackout shades – you can read more about them here.
When fully closed they do an amazing job blocking the incoming light in the entire room and are perfect for anyone highly sensitive to light.

Fixed Roman Shade
I love the finished look the shades give to the windows – and I really like the fact that we didn’t have to loose the function of the blackout shades.
They simply tuck up right behind the roman shade when not in use.

One more step closer to crossing this room off the list…


  1. Found your blog via google! Was putting ribbon trim on my roman shade and couldn’t figure out how to make a nice looking mitered corner. 🙂 Your instructions and pictures are fabulous! Thanks so much!

  2. You never, ever cease to amaze me with your plethora of talents. I would give anything to be able to do even one-tenth of the things you do, Stephanie Lynn, and my hat is off to you for doing them. You are SO talented. I would love to be able to make these, and with your instructions, I might even be brave enough to try. Thanks for sharing.



  3. Your pictures are so clear and vivid, and your instructions were very easy to understand, and explained every step. I look forward to creating these for my husband’s office and kitchen. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Heather McGrew :

    Hello, I found your roman shade instructions to be great. The only thing I have a question about is regarding stapling the shade and the valance to the frame. Is it stapled to the top then draped over the from of the frame? Does that make since?


    • Hi Heather. That is correct – the shade and valance are both stapled to the top of the frame and draped forward – to the finished hanging position. Please let me know if you need any additional details… Stephanie Lynn


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