1959 instructions to make your own fabric roller shades


IT *LOOKS* PRETTY EASY to make your own fabric roller shade. Click through to the continuing page for instructions from my 1959 booklet by the Consolidated Trimming Corporation. And, I have a few tips of my own, based on my personal experience doing sewing and with these types of shades.  Regarding the window above: Isn’t it hilariously wonderful? Notice how they designers have tricked us into believing the window is taller than it really is, with the addition of the second rod of scalloped cafe curtains at the bottom. Looks impractical given the supposed eating going on, but an interesting idea nonetheless. 

The instructions for making your own fabric roller shades are in the page-scan below. (For your legibility, I inserted them as large as possible “bleeding” into the blog to some degree.)

Additional thoughts from my own experience:

  • I have also read somewhere about the desirability of “stiffening” the fabric. I think you can do this using regular spray starch – you’ll probably want to experiment with a swatch of your fabric first to get the right solution, pun intended. I did some quick online searching (not comprehensive by any means) and found another fabric stiffener apparently used by crafters here
  • You can get your basic supplies for the rod assembly, simple pull-down style, from most hardware stores.
  • Regarding the sewing itself: You are only going to use one piece of fabric – no piecing two pieces vertically, it will bunch up.
  • And regarding the edges – while these instructions say that you can make a hem, I am skeptical. I think it will bunch up on the roller, at the edges, too much. Better to try and see whether you can avoid making hems in the sides by using the starch to “seal” the edges so that they will not fray. Hmmm, this may be tricky. Experiment.



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  1. says

    Use Fray-Check on the edges to stop raveling. It’s basically clear nail polish in a larger bottle with a glue-style top on it rather than a brush.

  2. Femme1 says

    I’ve bought make-it-yourself shades from Jo Ann’s Fabrics; the kit has an adhesive sheet the exact size of the unrolled blind. It worked really well, and I used them for my kitchen.

  3. sablemable says

    Good idea to remake a roller shade! I think I’ll do that with the one in my living room instead of buying a new one, which would probably be too expensive.

    Thanks for all the tips!

  4. M. A. says

    I made a fabric roller shade using the kit from JoAnne Fabrics. The shade looks great, but I cannot get it to pull down or retract. I have followed all installation directions, but it seems to be “stuck.” Has anyone else had this problem?

  5. Lin says

    For Femme1. I just purchased the fuse a shade from JoAnns and it does not have any instructions. Did you include those?

  6. pam kueber says

    Lin, Femme1 did not submit anything so I am not sure what you are talking about. Perhaps you can contact JoAnns directly….

  7. Ginger says

    M.A., sometimes you have to take the roller off and tighten the spring by turning the flat end until it’s wound. But I wasn’t very pleased with the long-term durability of the JoAnne roller. The kit was handy, but you could easily buy the fusing separately and the buy a plain roller at the hardware store.

  8. Nil says

    I have a couple of standard roller shades from Home Depot. I would like to fuse some fabric on it. Can that be done? If so, how?

  9. Char says

    I tried fusing the fabric to the vinyl shade with an iron and the fabric shrank due to steaming and buckled the vinyl. I tried gluing to the vinyl and it worked better but still was too thick and buckled some. I’m going to try just using fabric starch but was going to try to make the shades sun blocking. I think I’m going to give up on that and go for shades that work instead. I MIGHT try to fuse heavier pellon, but just keep in mind that steam shrinks the fabric to cut it AFTER you fuse it and measure it to see how much it changed. I didn’t shrink it first because most home dec. fabric is not meant to be washed.

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