How to Make London Shades - dummies

By Mark Montano, Carly Sommerstein

London shades look a bit like the balloon valance, but they’re more utilitarian. They have the same shirred, puffed look when the ribbon is pulled up to make the shade ascend. Perfect for the bedroom, living room, or dining room, you can really go to town with a contrasting ribbon for a dramatic look.

These shades are designed for a standard 30-inch-wide window, but you can adjust the measurements to treat any size window. Like the Roman shade, they mount above your window, so keep that in mind when planning and measuring.

You need the following supplies to make one London shade:

  • Medium- or heavyweight fabric

    You need the proper amount of yardage based on the size of your window. Cut it to the size of your window, plus an additional 10 inches for the width and 5 inches for the length.

  • 1 piece of 1-x-2-inch wood as long as your window is wide

  • Four pieces of durable ribbon, each 2 yards long

    If the dimensions of your window are larger than our standard 30 x 60, add 1 foot of ribbon per foot longer.

  • Chalk

  • Iron and ironing board

  • Screwdriver or hammer

  • Screws or nails (for attaching the shade)

  • Sewing machine and appropriate color heavy-duty thread

  • Staple gun with 3/8-inch staples

Follow these instructions to make your London shade:

  1. Hem the sides of your London shade fabric by pressing the fabric on each side 1/2 inch, folding in another 1/2 inch, and then sewing along the edges.

  2. Hem the bottom of your London shade fabric by pressing and then stitching the fabric.

  3. Measure and chalk vertical lines on the back of your shade fabric, using this image as your guide.


  4. Stitch the lines that are 2 inches apart together, making four sleeves on the back of your shade.


  5. Attach the 1-x-2-inch board to the wall above your window and casing, using screws or nails.

  6. Thread a piece of ribbon through each sleeve, letting it hang out from the bottom.

  7. Attach the ribbon to the top of your shade by hand sewing or with your sewing machine.

  8. Press a 1/2-inch fold at the top of your shade, tuck it under, and staple it to the top of the board.


  9. Pull the ribbons at the bottom of the shade to cinch the shade to the desired length and tie each ribbon in a bow.