DIY Oval Window Shade

An oval window lends a distinctive look.
An oval window lends a distinctive look. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

An oval window adds architectural interest that is unmatched by other window shapes. It is rare, and its inclusion in the facade of a home suggests individualism, but it is in the treatment of the window that the design savvy of the homeowner shines. Each oval window requires a custom-made shade specific to its size. An advanced-level home decor sewer, experienced in the construction of Roman shades, can use a few drapery workroom tricks to make a modified Roman shade that is both functional and adaptable to her decor style. It is important to remember that an oval shade will not draw up past the widest width of the oval.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Template paper
  • Scissors
  • Shade fabric
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Weighted cord
  • Roman shade lift rings
  • Eye-screws
  • Lift cord
  • Stapler
  • Cord cleat

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Make a template of the inside of the window frame of the window.

Measure the template and note the length and width.

Cut the fabric for the shade 2 inches longer than the length of the template and 10 inches wider than the width of the template.

Fold the fabric, right sides together, along the center length. Sew from the top of the fabric to the bottom, 4 inches from the folded edge.

Lay the fabric on the table, right side to the table, and force the center fold down toward the sewn seam. The excess fabric will fall away to each side, creating an inverted pleat that is 4 inches wide. Press this pleat flat and pin it in place along each folded edge. Lay the template on the fabric and cut around it, adding 2 inches all around for seam allowances. Pin the pleat in place along the cut edge around the top of the shade.

Fold the shade in half, horizontally. Place a pin in the fold at each outside edge.

Make a 1-inch snip, from the outside edge toward the center of the shade at each pin location. Use sharp-tipped fabric scissors. Below this snip and around to the snip on the other side of the shade is the bottom of the shade. Above this snip is the top of the shade. Finish the cut edges of the shade with a zigzag stitch, or with serging, around the top half of the shade.

Remove the stitches and pins that hold the pleat in place. Finish the bottom edge with a zigzag or serged finish. Turn the bottom hem up 1 inch and stitch close to the finished edge, from the snip on one side to the snip on the other.

Insert weighted chain in the bottom hem and hand-stitch it in place at each end. Turn the top hem over 1 inch, toward the back of the shade, and press to create the stapling allowance fold. Sew lift rings along the center of the back of the pleat, starting at the bottom hem and placing a ring every 4 inches to within 4 inches of the top of the pleat.

Match the center of the window frame to the pleat center. Place the right side of the fabric against the inside of the window frame and staple on the stapling allowance fold from the center to the end of the stapling allowance on one side, then from the center to the other side.

Insert an eye-screw through the fabric of the shade, up into the window frame, at the top and center of the oval. This eye-screw lines up with the lift rings sewn on the back of the shade. Insert eye-screws every 2 inches along the frame to one side edge of the oval. These eye-screws carry the lift cord to the outside edge of the shade.

Tie a lift cord to the bottom ring on the shade, thread it up and through all the rings on the shade, into the corresponding ring inserted into the window frame and through the eye-screws to the outside edge.

Pull the lift cord to raise the shade. Attach a cord cleat to the wall to anchor the lift cord and hold the shade in place when it is open.

Tips & Warnings

  • Weighted cord is a knit cord filled with weighted beads, used to weight the bottom hem of sheer drapes. It is available in most home-decor sewing stores.
  • Lift cord can be any knit drapery cord and is available in most home-decor sewing stores.
  • Do not hang corded shades in any area accessible by children and ensure that the cord cleat is also out of their reach.
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