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Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

How to shorten and recover a readymade Roman shade

After my huge success recovering a cheap blackout Roman shade for Lucy's room with some pretty block print fabric, I decided I need at least one more custom fabric shade! Our upstairs bathroom gets crazy sun in the afternoons and I knew I'd have to hang something pretty but also very functional there. (We renovated it last fall, and it's not a problem in the fall/winter.) The problem with my readymade blackout shade project? The cheap Roman shades only come in a couple lengths (like 60") and that window is short. 

You can hang a too-long shade on a window and just leave a bunch of extra at the bottom... but it's not ideal. I ordered the right width of this Roman shade (around $50) and figured there must be a way to shorten it. Well, there is, and I'm sharing how!


Tutorial for how to shorten a readymade Roman shade (and recover it)

You will need:

Instructions:

1. Determine how much to take off the shade--from the top. Pull the shade down to the right length below or at the bottom of the window and fold the folds up at the top--for me there were 3 full extra panels to remove. 

We'll take these out of the top of the shade so we don't have to mess with the tension cords that make it function!

2. Take apart the valance by undoing the seam at the top (through the velcro strip). You should only have to remove one of the seams through the velcro (the bottom one). This was super easy on mine as there were big stitches. Just snip every few threads in the seam and pull.

3. Cut off the extra panels. Cut right below one of the little plastic bars in the shade, so you have an easy, flat piece of fabric to sew through.

IMPORANT: Make sure this cut is straight (or redo it after cutting if it's not). Otherwise your shade will hang crooked when done. 

4. Snip the guiding threads in the looser cord above the panels you removed. DO NOT CUT the tight cord. Sorry for the all caps. Very important!!!

5. Re-assemble the valance. Insert the new top panel into the velcro, again keeping it very straight. The fabric is stiff so you shouldn't need many pins near or in the seam, but I pinned the top piece to the valance to make sure they lined up perfectly, and keep the top of the top piece in place for the seam.

6. Redo that one seam--through the velcro and new top panel.

This was a little tricky to do, with the top rail bouncing around in the way! I recommend putting your sewing machine on a large table for this.

7. Sew the gathering cord back down (at the same exact length on both sides). Cut off the excess.

That's it! It's the right length now!!

Now, I'll bounce you over to my DIY custom fabric patterned Roman shade tutorial for all the steps for recovering the shade. Here's just a teaser. Lightweight fabric (I used this pretty floral block print), spray adhesive, weights to keep the shade stretched out... 

To make it really look pro, match the patterns on the valance!

Tacky Glue for the little edges so you don't get spray adhesive all over everything. 

And hang! The shade comes with easy mounting hardware so just screw in (you can do either inside or outside mount--just plan ahead when you choose the width) and click the pretty new patterned shade in.

I wanted a fabric that worked with the green of the trim and paneling as well as the grey tile floor, a smaller scale pattern since the floor tile is already patterned. This green isn't exactly the same but I think it works! (See all about this bathroom reno here.)

This one was a little nerve-wracking for me since I'd never done it before and my heart may have raced a bit when snipping the loose cord but not the tension one...! but overall this is really not a hard project! And makes such a big impact!!

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