How to Sew Hobbled Roman Shades

Updated February 21, 2017

A roman blind is a curtain that can be raised or lowered. Using fabric to make a roman blind instead of the plastic or vinyl of slat blinds or roller shades gives both privacy and style to any room in the house. A hobbled roman shade has permanent pleats. When you lower the roman shade, the pleats look neat and even. When you pull the shade up, the pleats gather into a neat pile. Sewing a hobbled roman shade instead of a plain roman shade adds creativity and character to the decor of the room.

Measure the desired finished width and length of your window. Add 3 inches to the width and double the length. Add an additional 24 inches to the length to allow for the pleating in your hobbled roman shade.

Cut the fabric to the necessary measurements.

Lay your curtain and lining fabric with right sides together. Pin the fabric together at the sides. Using the sewing machine or a needle and thread, sew the sides together.

Turn the curtain right side out and iron the seams.

Form the bottom hem by folding up the raw edge of the fabric 4 inches. Iron this fold. Fold the fabric up an additional 4 inches to hide the raw edges. Use pins to hold it in place. Sew a straight line across the bottom hem. Iron again.

Make the top rod casing for the roman shade by folding down the top raw edge of fabric 5 inches. Fold the raw edges under ½-inch, pin them in place. Sew to secure the fabric, removing the pins as you go. Sew a parallel seam 2 ½ inches up from that seam to create the casing.

Lay the curtain back-side up on a flat surface. Using either pins or a pencil, mark up the back of the curtain at both 12 and 13 inches. Start at the bottom of the curtain and mark at 12 inches, then mark 1 inch further at 13. (From the 13-inch mark, measure another 12 inches and then 1 more inch.) Keep working in this manner until you get to the top.

Fold the 13-inch marks down to the 12-inch marks with the wrong sides together to make a 1-inch pleat on the front of the roman shade. Use pins to hold the fabric in place and sew across the shade to form casings.

Pin a strip of ring tape at one side seam covering the entire length of the curtain. Sew the ring tape to the curtain. Repeat with the other side.

Thread the cording through the rings in the tape. Leave 24 inches of extra cording for raising and lowering the shade. Tie the two ends of cord together.


When cutting your fabric to the necessary length, it may seem you are adding a lot. This gives you plenty of fabric to work with, and if the roman shade does end up too long, you can always trim off a little of the fabric off before finishing. You may not want to cut the ring tape into lengths. Instead, lay the end of the tape at the bottom of the curtain, attach it with pins all the way up the side and then cut off the excess.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Curtain fabric
  • Lining fabric
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Iron
  • Ring tape
  • Cording
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