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Need to add weight to a roman shade

Lizziebelle | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Hello, this is my first time here. 🙂 I have made a set of roman shades for my living room using a fairly heavy fabric which came out beautifully. I used blackout lining primarily for the insulating qualities but liked the way it helped them fold up so very neatly.

I decided to do a repeat for my kitchen windows, but chose a slightly lighter-weight fabric. (Unfortunately it was also much more expensive!) The shades looked great on the worktable but when I hung them up, the fabric droops a little here and there, and they just look kind of pathetic. 🙁 Great when pulled up, not so great when left down, which is where I like them in the wintertime, covering the non-sunny windows.

So my idea is to take them down, open up, and attach something to the fabric to give it some more weight, like the living room shades. The simple way would be iron-on interfacing, but my success rate with iron-on in the past is not so terrific, I get wrinkling and such. Sew-in is not desirable as I don’t want any seams showing on the front side, and I’d probably still have some drooping that way, so I think it must be something that I attach fully to the fabric.

Does anyone have an idea for how to use iron-on effectively? Or is there some kind of spray-on stabilizer that I don’t know about? Any help will be greatly appreciated. I’ve invested too much $ in these things to give up so easily.

Thank you!


  1. lynnewill | | #1

    An interlining might be your best answer.  When using lighter weight fabrics for window treatments interlining with a double faced flannel works well, it will help with your insulation as well as your light bleed through.  You will need to deconstruct your shades, baste the flannel to the face fabric and then sew them up as you would normally.  If you want to completely block the light coming through, you could use a black out fabric for your lining, or interlining.  Any of these methods will add heft to your project, but if you are looking for a super crisp fold use an interlining that has the crispness you desire, maybe crinoline.  And to answer the fusible interfacing issue, you always need to pre-wash your interfacing, and then for fusing yardage or large pieces you need a large surface, say your dining room table with some padding(blanket or towels) secured to the table, then "baste" your interfacing to your yardage starting in the center and working out towards the ends.  You baste by just pressing lightly at first in a scattered pattern to tack things down, before you start your real pressing.  And remember always press, never iron!

    Hope this helps - Lynne

  2. sewingkmulkey | | #2

    When I made Roman shades for my dining room I used a medium weight cotton, lined in drapery cotton and sewed a pocket at the bottom and inserted a metal rod (3/8" thick) I had cut at the hardware store.  It works great!


  3. alotofstitches | | #3

    I'm no pro at window coverings but the flannel interlining does wonders for draperies and the rod certainly adds weight at the bottom.  Re:  the wrinkles in your fabric, try the rod to add weight to pull the wrinkles out but if that fails, I'm thinking the fusible interfacing is needed to support the fabric much like in the front of a suit (my area of expertise).  When using fabrics with rayon, or fabrics like crepe, they have to interfaced over the entire jacket and I use FUSIBLE INTERFACING.  My problems with fusibles (getting bubbles, wrinkles, etc.) disappeared when I started READING AND FOLLOWING THE DIRECTIONS for the fuible and USING A CLOCK to time the fusing process.  Since your Romans are complete, your fabric has probably shrunk already so you can move onto fusing the interfacing.  You can avoid having to preshrink by holding your steam iron very close to the fusible and hitting it with heavy steam--you can literally see it shrink if it's weft or knit.  The Pellon nonwoven types are not required to preshrink and since they are made from poly they will not hold the folds for your romans either.

  4. MaryinColorado | | #4

    I don't care for anything fusable for windows because the glue will break down much sooner in the sunlight.  Either lining or interlining is your best bet.  The other possibility would be to make a sleeve and insert a wooden dowel or strip of metal for weight.

    I once made a shade with these little sleeves at 12" intervals all the way down the fabric and inserted flat wooden slats in each opening.  These hung more perfectly than any I have ever made as each fold hung straight across when fully or partially opened. 

    (the sleeve is like a tube of fabric)

  5. Teaf5 | | #5

    Have you tried spray starch? I found a can of Extra Stiff spray starch at a dollar store recently and found it revived some very droopy tablecloths and decorative bows. Of course, you should try it out on a scrap first, to make sure that it doesn't react with any finish that is already on the fabric, but it hasn't caused any problems on my varied fabrics.

    A decorator's trick for giving a little extra body to draperies and swags is white gift wrapping tissue. On most Roman shades, the bottom row of poufs is never flattened out, so a few crumpled tissues inside each fold stay in easily and provides a light support. I've even used sheets of tissue behind drapery panels--tacked with tiny stitches at the top or basted along the top seamline--to provide invisible support; I just tear them out and replace them whenever I launder the fabrics.

    1. Lizziebelle | | #6

      Thanks everyone for your replies. I have found a spray-on fabric stiffener that appears from a sample I made to perhaps be the answer to my problem. Three light coatings on the reverse side of the fabric have given it the kind of body I was looking for. So I'll need to pick out the ring tacking threads, turn the shades inside out, flatten and spray away ... of course I have not done that yet, but I'll return when I get around to it to let you know how it worked. For the record, I did use battens and weight rods in the shades. There is an awesome tutorial for making roman shades online that I use. I've just tweaked a few little things that I thought would work better for this second set, and each time I was right. Except for the drapey fabric, of course. I'll be more careful abut that next time. :)Thanks again!

      1. KharminJ | | #7

        Hi Lizzie, and Welcome!

        I've been following this with some interest, since one of my round tuit projects is (I think) roman shades for the bedroom! Could you post the location of the online tutorial? (The forum software will turn it into a link if you include the www.)Bright Blessings ~ Kharmin

        1. Lizziebelle | | #8

          Here's the link, Kharmin ... http://terrelldesigns.com/howtomakeromanshades.htm. She makes art quilt shades, but you can use anything. Just follow the directions, take your time, and measure, measure, and measure again. It gets a bit easier and faster with each shade you make. Good luck and enjoy!

          1. KharminJ | | #9

            Wow! I just briefly cruised that site - it's fabulous!! Thank you very very much! Kharmin

          2. moira | | #10

            Yes, a lovely website showing fabulous work, but also an admitted 'goof' in one set of shades - how endearing for this artist to let us know she's human! She has done some beautiful work. And she has a beautiful garden!

      2. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #11

        Thanks for the update with the fabric stiffener! Always great to know how you solved the problem. Cathy

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