Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sewing a Faux Roman Shade

This week, I attempted to get reacquainted with this old gal. 


It’s been a  long time since we spent any time together. 

A very, very long time.

I’ve mentioned before that my mother was a very talented seamstress and loved to sew but I didn’t get passed the sewing gene.  I am more than capable of sewing if it is a necessity, but  it’s not something I enjoy so I have always made it my mission to avoid  it whenever possible.  In past years, any time I could get my mom to sew for me, I would.  However, since she passed away six years ago, if I need/want any sewing done now, I’m on my own. 

A couple months ago, I saw a really simple tutorial for a  faux Roman shade.  It was so ingenious, I wanted to try it for my kitchen window so I bookmarked it.   I won’t repeat the tutorial here.  Just click the above link and scroll down to the middle of that post for the instructions. 

Even with the 50% off sale Joann's Fabrics was having on the special order home decorating fabrics, the fabric I chose (P. Kaufmann Sea Breeze Patriot) was $19.99/yd.   I wasn’t even sure I was going to like this faux Roman shade once I got it  done so I only ordered a yard of material but that meant I wouldn’t have enough length to double the fabric over the top rod per the tutorial instructions.  I planned to compensate for this by sewing a pocket to slip the top tension rod through.

Yes, I was actually going to SEW!

I dug out my (almost 40 year old) sewing machine.  After dusting her off, I reviewed the owner’s manual to refresh my memory on how to fill the bobbin.  Like riding a bike, it came right back to me.


I threaded her up, slipped my fabric under the presser foot, hit the foot pedal and……


She hummed a little but the needle wouldn’t move and upon closer inspection, all the parts seemed to be a bit rusted and bound up. 

I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t sew.   (Insert sarcastic tone.)   The last time I can really remember using this sewing machine, my now 29-year-old daughter was in the fourth grade. 

Yeah, I guess if you store a sewing machine in the backyard  shed where it gets exposed to the intense heat and humidity of Florida’s  summers  for 20+ years, things are bound to be a bit rusty and bound up.  The light bulb  still worked after all these years though!

Plan B:  Make this a no-sew project (like the tutorial) by using hem tape. 

Unfortunately, that was a fail for me too as my fabric was a bit too heavy and nubby for the hem tape to hold  well.

Plan C:  Buy a new sewing machine.   Ugh.

I actually have a couple other simple sewing projects I want to do in the coming weeks so I got on the Internet to check out some inexpensive, basic machines.   I didn’t want or need a bunch of bells and whistles, just something to do some straight stitching.

Most of the machines I looked at under $100 didn’t get very good reviews.  This machine did more than I would ever need but it had a very high number of positive ratings.

Brother cE5500PRW 

I  decided to jump  in the car and go to the nearest Walmart to see if they (hopefully) had it in the store.  I didn’t want to order anything online.  I was ready to do this Roman shade project now!

It must have REALLY been my lucky day.  Not only did Walmart have it, but it was on sale for $109.00!  A savings of almost FORTY-ONE DOLLARS! 

Finally, I was off and running.

IMG_3322 (C&E) 

My kitchen window is small, only 36 inches by 36 inches, and I found that for my liking, too much of the light and view were obstructed by fabric when I inserted the tension rods into the window frame.    (I tested this before I did any cutting or sewing.)

By using the cabinets on either side of the window to support the tension rods, I was able to  raise the rod higher to give the illusion of  a larger window and then only  the top 1/3 of the window was covered.  Although, after looking at these photos, I think the top rod could be raised even a bit more.

IMG_3342 (E)

My fabric was wider than the width between the cabinets so I added 2 inches to that measurement so I could sew a one inch hem down each vertical side of the fabric.  For the length, I used the whole yard of fabric and  put a one inch hem in the bottom.  As mentioned above, I sewed a pocket across the top for the top tension rod to slip through.

IMG_3356 (C&E)

 I was  quite happy the way this turned out.  It was easy and would have been quick…had I not had to stop to research sewing machines, run out to buy one, set it up and learn how to use it. 

If I decide to ever make another faux Roman shade using this tension rod technique, I would probably do it this way again.  The single length of fabric and the rod pocket worked  fine, thus cutting the expense of fabric in half.

IMG_3335 (C&E)


Anonymous said...

The fabric you used is so pretty and I love your kitchen.

ButterYum said...

Lovely fabric choice. I agree, you could raise the rod higher. I'd make it much higher (unless you plan to hang some decorative plates there or something).

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Love your roman shade and the fabric you chose. It looks fabulous. Now just think of all the wonderful pillows, tablerunners and other things you can whip up. They're all just straight seams and you can have a ball. Hugs, Marty

Pink Roses and Teacups said...


This looks fabulous! I love it! Not to mention you saved on the fabric by making the sleeve on top, and the fact that it was on sale. Now, you can make pillows like Marty said. You could also make some pillows for the porch now. :)


Deb said...

Gorgeous fabric!!

Adrienne said...

I love what you did! Raising the shade was the perfect thing to do and the fabric is just right for your kitchen. Good work, my friend. Enjoy your new machine!

Marigene said...

Very pretty, Shari!

Cindy said...

Gorgeous! You did a great job, Shari, good for you. Doesn't it feel good to see something that you made looking so sweet!
Hugs, cindy

Traci@ Beneath My Heart said...

Gorgeous! Love that fabric!

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Hi Shari,
Wow! what a great idea...I love your fabric choice..
I had the same Sears Kenmore Machine...LOL
I had to finely replace mine too.
your kitchen looks wonderful! its so pretty and cheery!
Have a sweet day, Elizabeth

Nancy W said...

Beautiful job and love the fabric you chose! Hugs from Conroe, Texas

Lottie said...

Your curtain looks beautiful in the kitchen. I went through the same experience with making a new pair of pants. My sewing machine had been in a closet for twenty years and would hardly work. Since my husband bought it for me back then, I decided to get a tune up instead of buying a new machine. It cost $69.99 for the tune up. I considered buying a new machine, (and should have) but my husband was so happy I got the old one fixed. I've already put it back in the closet. But I love your curtain!

Bring Pretty Back said...

That fabris looks like a million bucks! GREAT JOB! WOW! I can NOT sew , and I marvel at you ladies that can. And I am extremely jealous as well!
Have a PRETTY day!

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Oh Shari.... This post just cracked me up....But your shade is just beautiful.....


FlyAwayHome said...

Great job! Love the colors. Congrats on the new sewing machine, you will find tons of new things to sew now.