Below are instructions for a very simple window shade. They are loosely based on a pattern I purchased several years ago—Vogue 1247, a “very easy” pattern. I love these shades because they are endlessly adaptable, and I have dreamed up so many variations that I have not had the chance to implement.
Window treatments are so expensive, often because they involve so much fabric, but these use only twice the size of your window (I suppose you could even make them unlined if privacy is not a concern). These could be made using new or thrifted fabrics. I have also dreamed of making little window quilts, because I think the stitching would play so interestingly in the light. There is even the possiblity of embellishing these with appliques or trimmings.
Please email me if you get the chance to make these, I would love to post some on the blog. Also, let me know if you find any mistakes in this tutorial so I can correct them as soon as possible.
Note: Keep in mind that you need to be able to reach the top of the shade in order to operate it, so if you are short or have very tall windows this could be a problem.
1 Place hooks in the upper corners of your window frame.
I have used white cup hooks from Target on the pictured window, but there are obviously more creative options here, including decorative hooks or very small knobs. There is also room to deviate with the placement of the hooks. For example, if you place another set of hooks half way down the window, you could open the shade from the top down. You could also place them at even more intervals for greater possibilities.
2 Measure windows.
3 Add 1” to horizontal and vertical measurements to allow for ½” seam allowances.
4 Cut two pieces of fabric to these measurements, one for front, and one for back.
The front piece can be made of one piece of fabric, or many fabrics pieced together, but keep in mind that because light shows through curtains, your seams will be visible, so make them as even and neat as possible.
For the back, it may be best to choose a light non-printed fabric to minimize fading. You could use a curtain lining fabric, but you could also use thrifted sheets or other used fabrics.
5 Cut out fabric for loops, keeping in mind the design possibilities here.
Start with one 2” x 30” strip of fabric. Fold in ½ lengthwise, stitch long edge together (½” seam allowance). Trim seam allowance to scant ¼”. Turn and press. Cut the long strip into six, 5” segments. Bring ends of each segment together, basting if necessary.
The above measurements will make loops that are about 2 ½” long. Check your hook placement to make sure that that length is adequate to make it from the edge of the shade to your hooks. Make the loops longer if necessary.
6 Lay shade front flat, right side up. For loop placement, take the vertical measurement of the shade and divide by 5. Place one loop on each side ½” from the top of the shade, aligning raw edges of the loop with the raw edge of the shade and pinning. Place another loop 2/5 of the way down the shade, and another 4/5 of the way down (on each side).
There is quite a bit of room for experimentation when it comes to placing these loops. The above measurements simply get you a neatly folded shade at the top of your window when fully folded up. If you placed more loops down each side, you would have greater flexibility in how these can be arranged on your windows.
7 Place shade lining on top of shade front and loops, right side down. (Right sides are now facing with loops sandwiched between) Pin front and lining together.
8 Sew around three sides of shade, leaving top or bottom of shade open for turning.
9 Turn shade.
10 Turn the 4th side of shade under ½” and pin.
11 Press shade.
12 Topstitch all four sides of blind as close as you can to the edge (1/4” or less).
13 Hang blind as desired on the hooks.
Note: I will add more photos if the sun ever comes out again in Michigan.