Tuesday, June 19, 2012


When  I made the Roman Shade for the Dining Room I wanted to make darn sure that it was lined PROPERLY.  You see...... a lot of the times when I see Roman Shades that are home made they are lined with the wrong type of lining or aren't lined at all.  Nothing screams home made when the wrong fabric is used for a particular application.  If you are making sheer Romans then of course you would not line it-that's the whole point of sheers.  However, most of the time when people sew Romans they use the WRONG lining or don't even line them to begin with. I know that it is an extra step to line something properly, but, if you are going to all that trouble in the first place, then why wouldn't you line them PROPERLY? And for me that drives me nuts!!  I hate seeing Romans hung up and all that light coming through the fabric (in certain instances).  First of all it wrecks the whole look of the window.  Second,  all that direct sunlight is ruining that fabric and thirdly, I hate seeing light coming through  the fabric like that.  Light coming through Curtains doesn't bother me as much, but, Romans and Valances should be properly lined. Most people use the rubber backed fabric lining when they line their Romans.  I don't have a problem with that type of lining, it just isn't appropriate for Romans.  Since the rubber of the fabric is pierced by the needle and thread for the seams or hems, little holes are created.  And if there is holes, light can get through.
What people should use for lining their Romans is Black Out Satin.  It is a densely woven fabric that looks as if there are 3 layers all packed together.  2 outer fabrics and a black inner fabric (see below).  This densely woven fabric allows the needle and the thread to pass through the fabric without creating obvious holes.  That way, when the Romans are up in the window no light shall pass through.

Here is a great Pic of Blackout Satin.  I cannot stress  how it makes a difference when making Romans or Valances to use this type of lining or any Window Treatment where it has to be BLACKED out.

This Roman would have been way more effective if it was properly lined.  A Formal Roman like this one should have been properly lined.  Why do I call it formal?  Well...... the type of fabric it is made of - being a Jacquard and the attached trim at the leading edge of the Roman.  Look how the light and the shadows from the mullions of the window are ruining the look of this Roman (in my opinion).

Here is a gorgeous breakfast area.  I love the Slate floor, the Banquette area, the fabric used in the Roman, the ribbon detail on the Roman.......  I could go on and on.  The thing that undoes it all for me is the fact that the Romans are NOT properly lined.  When you see the shadow of the mullions of the window through the shade-it kinda ruins it!  At least it does for me.  Maybe it doesn't bother the homeowner, but it would bother me.

To me the only exception to this lining rule is when you have a Plain fabric.  If you have any type of pattern be it woven or printed I feel the light shining through the fabric just competes with the pattern or distorts and destroys the look of the pattern. Sometimes you may want a little light filtering through a Roman-it is a personal thing, but, I would only use Plain Fabric for this application.  Here are some examples of Romans that are plain and have not used black out lining that look great:

Look at how gorgeous these Romans look.  The beautiful Linen really shines here.  Using Linen in this way lends an air of casualness to the Breakfast Area.  I love Linen and I love how they have used it here.  Again, a plain fabric was used so it was OK not to line the Roman.

Here is a great example of a Roman that is unlined and provides beautiful filtered light and some privacy.  Again a Plain fabric was used in this application.

Here is a really nice example of a sheer fabric used to create a very relaxed tied Roman with an attached Valance.

This is such a great example of a Sheer Roman.  The clients/designer obviously wanted the look of a Roman with Light filtering capabilities and some privacy.  Really nicely done!

The main challenging part with the Roman that I made is the horizontal stripe.  If you do not keep the fabric "true" or straight as it were, the line of the stripe would look all wonky.  The only reason I did not post how I did my Roman was that there are many tutorials on the net about doing Romans.  When I sewed mine I did not want sewing lines on the front of the blind so any sewing for pockets for dowels was done only on the lining.  So, I had to make sure that the pockets for the dowels were straight with the horizontal stripes of the fabric-challenging but do-able.
To begin with, I bought a stripe that was actually vertical.  I then "railroaded" the fabric -meaning I turned the fabric and used it in the crosswise grain.  The fabrics stripes actually ran vertical with the selvedge (edge of the fabric).  I had to piece 2 widths of fabric together so that they would be long enough for the window.  But I did it in such a way as to "match up" the stripe.  Unless you look super close you cannot tell I pieced it-  So that is how I got Horizontal stripes.
In order to cover the mounting board I also attached a Valance in front so that everything was covered up.

Here is a close up.  You can see that the Roman is properly lined, the Valance is covering up the mounting board and matches the stripe of the Roman. The other thing is that the Roman properly fits the window.  That is one other thing that really bothers me when I see Romans or any type of blind or shade - when it DOES NOT fit the window.  No matter if you or someone else has made the Roman- if it doesn't fit the window it is like looking at someone in  really ill fitting clothes.  Again, if you are going to make it - MAKE IT RIGHT!!  If you have them professionally made then demand to have them remade if they do not fit.  Having Romans made for you costs a small fortune, you should get good value for your money. Not everyone is handy with a sewing machine and there are a lot of great people out there that do great work.

Here are some other great examples of Roman Shades that have been lined properly and fit the window:

These lovely Romans are the "Riad" pattern by Windsor Smith available through Kravet.  I love that pattern.  I am so happy that they were lined properly.  If light were to be filtering through, can you imagine how crazy that pattern would look?  It looks so much more effective lined.

Here is a great example of a Plain fabric that was chosen for the Roman yet it has been lined with a Black out lining.  Personally I think it looks great here.  They may have lined them that way to prevent the mullions of the window showing through.  It certainly would have ruined the look of the room to have mullions showing through the Roman.  As it stands now, the room looks very well thought out.  I usually am not a fan of "Beige" rooms but I LOVE this room.  Love everything about it.  Makes me re-think what "beige" can be when done right!!

I think the designer was very wise to have the Roman use black out lining in this application.  There is so much going on in this room (in a good way!), you would not want shadows from the Roman also competing with everything else in the room.  Great job of lining the Roman!

I know this has been a fairly long posting on Romans.  Originally I was just going to share the Roman I made and be done with it.  But I felt that I had to share some of my thoughts on Romans in general, give you some food for thought.  That way, if you ever make them or have them made you will be armed with a little knowledge that may help in the future.
One other note - If you ever use or have Silk made into Romans - Line them within an inch of their life.  Nothing ruins Silk more than Sunlight/UV.  You may also want to interline(extra lining) them as well.  Heat from the Sun also ruins Silk.

Have a great day everyone


  1. Nice article! I have to bring your attention to one detail- this lining is not 100% blackout. My workroom uses it quite often.

  2. Hey sewing sister. I think everyone who sews knows that no blackout fabric will block 100% of the light. The author never claimed such.

  3. Hi! Great post, thanks! I'm having trouble finding anything called black out satin to use in my roman shades. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

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