Condo Blues: Make Insulated Roman Shades

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Make Insulated Roman Shades

My bedroom has a pitched ceiling and is cold during the winter because, as all you sciencey people know, heat rises. I’m trying to keep my energy use and bill as low as I can. I didn’t want to use a space heater in that room if I could help it because Blitzkrieg likes to cuddle up to heat sources. While I like that all of the girl dogs find Blitzkrieg smoking hot at the dog park, I didn’t want him literally smoking hot because he decided that his tail and Mr. Space Header should be close friends.

The bedroom is on the south side of my house. I tried opening the curtains to let in the winter sun shine in, basically using passive solar heat instead of a space heater to warm up the room.  It worked OK, but the room wasn’t as warm as it could be. I did some research. Build it Solar had the answer to my problem:

“Adding some form of insulating thermal shade to the window will greatly reduce night heat loss. While windows are very good collectors, they do lose a lot of heat at night, so some form of insulating shade is very important to reduce night losses.”

The Color of Money easily took care of the same problem with a pair of thermal backed curtains. However I already had a pair of unlined curtains that I liked for that room

I decided to make a thermal window shade. Some people call them window quilts. My thermal window shades are the same concept except I didn’t make a quilt pattern on mine. I wanted mine to look like an insulated roman shade.


I made them from materials in my sewing stash – so the price was right. Free! The construction was simple.

1. I measured the length and width of the window and added an extra inch to the measurements for a seam allowance. I added an extra four inches to the length so I could make a little flap over rod pocket hoochie bobber to hide the tension rod I used to hang it in the window.

2. I cut out the exterior and interior liner fabric liner according to my measurements.
  • I used white fleece fabric for the back part of the shade. This is the fabric faces out toward the window.
  •  I used a remnant of purple microfiber upholstery weight fabric for the front of the shade that faces into the room. Side note: What do you think of the wall color? Some days I like it, others I don’t. What do you think?
  •  I used 3 layers of leftover terrycloth for the thermal lining instead of the traditional batting because I was trying to use up my fabric stash. You could use thermal batting too.
3. To make sure that the shades hung straight. I sewed a pocket in the bottom of the shade. I cut an el cheapo curtain rod to size and slide it in the bottom pocket for weight A wooden dowel rod would work too but this is what I had left over from my Early Need Something Cheap Because It’s My First Apartment Dweller Decorating Style so that’s what I used.

I pulled the rod out of the pocket for this photo

4. I didn’t buy ring tape and string or a roman shade kit so I could open my shade like well, a roman shade. When I first made my insulated window shade I didn’t think I’d open it to let in the winter sun and heat. Also the sting and loop kit thingy I bought looked like a pain to install so I returned it.

  • Instead I used a couple of plastic clips from the temporary paper Redi Shades we bought to cover the windows when we first moved in and stayed on the windows longer than I care to admit. I recycled the paper shades long ago but kept the plastic clips thinking I could do something with them.
I pulled back the curtains so you can get a good look at the clips

No one really sees this because the curtains hide the sides of the shades and the clips. Besides visitors don’t come in my bedroom anyway, so I’m keeping the semi-ghetto clip system.

Don’t tell my neighbor the interior designer this OK? He thinks I have a good design sense. If he saw my plastic clips he’d kick my butt 8 ways to Sunday, I’m sure.

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This post is part of Metamorphosis Monday, The Persimmon Perch, Market Yourself Monday, Trash to Treasure TuesdayDIY Day, Today's Creative Blog, Penny Pinching Party. The Girl Creative, Toot Your Horn Tuesday, Works for Me Wednesday, and Show and Tell.


Robj98168 said...

Is " rod pocket hoochie bobber" a technical term?
Just wondering.

Heidi said...

If it works, don't change it! No one needs to know about the clips. If you saw all the ways I used my staple and glue guns to finish projects when I am being lazy...anyway, you did great work. the shade looks perfect!
Stop by sometime,
Heidi - Heart and Home

ChefDruck said...

Well, I can understand why relying on the winter sun wasn't terribly helpful... there isn't any! Or at least, very very rarely.

These shades look awesome. You are one talented seamstress and very creative DIY girl. You inspire me! My kids think the sewing box that my MIL gave me is a curiosity because they have never seen anyone use it.

No I wasn't Sleeping said...

we need new somethings in our window too. I don't however have fabric lying around, and I hate the thought of buying something new.
I keep hoping the perfect something will show up at a yard sale somewhere.
Did I mention I have been looking for that perfect something for 10 years now?
I am having Give Aways for the whole month of February. Come check it out at

Jen said...

First of all I am jealous that you have South windows and secondly I am jealous that you have high ceilings. Those are 2 of the things I am currently house hunting for. I really love this idea and will be featuring you at my Penny Pinching Party tomorrow. Thanks for sharing.

Jennia Hart said...

What a great idea!!! I have been thinking about some type of insulating for my bedroom windows- a huge patio door type slider. I think I can mix a destash with a quick trip to JoAnn's with a 40% off coupon.

I agree that the curtains (for insulation) rarely need to be pulled up in the winter, the heat didn't help me as much as the cold did. I LOVE your idea of a quick functional fix instead of a complicated one.

This is my first visit but I can tell that I like your style!

Jennia Hart said...

Ack, I meant to say the heat from the sun didn't help as much as the cold at night hurt the room temp. It is late, what can I say!!

Ally @momstownmedia said...

What a great idea to keep things cosy inside! Thanks for linking up to momstown arts and crafts!

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