Monday, December 1, 2014

Ribbon Trimmed Roman Shades from Windows by Melissa on Etsy

How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was peaceful. We'd already gone through the debacle of cooking a giant bird, and on Thursday we spent a quiet day at the lake with my family. I caught up with my youngest sister, gorged myself on cranberry sauce (my favorite!) and stuffing, watched Christmas Vacation, and played a lot of Don't Starve with Keith. So peaceful. We spent the rest of the weekend avoiding shopping, seeing friends, and playing more Don't Starve. Having Keith at home all day, for 4 days, was wonderful.

But enough chitchat. Let's talk about Roman shades.

Roman Shades by Windows by Melissa on Etsy
When I first saw our house, I fell in love with its many tall windows. The windows and natural light were a big selling point. As soon as we moved in, though, I realized we were on display 24/7, and especially at night. Our house is on a corner, so it feels extra exposed. Even the den at the back of the house is exposed to the main road that runs through our neighborhood. Hi, neighbors!

Rewind to June: This room was TOTALLY exposed to the outside world.
As much as I love the curtains in our other rooms, I didn't want floor-length draperies in the den. I was looking for something more casual that would provide privacy while still letting in lots of light. Blinds would've been okay, but I really love the softly draped look of Roman shades. They don't look too fussy or perfect, but they're pretty. Especially when they're dressed up with a crisp bit of black ribbon trim. 

To make a long story short: I did some research, read a lot of reviews, waited a few months, saved up, and bought handmade Roman shades from Windows by Melissa on Etsy. It wasn't cheap, but we needed privacy at night. And I wanted to get something we really love, rather than buy something just okay that we'll want to replace in a few years.

Working with Melissa was easy. I sent her an inquiry and our window measurements. She sent me a few questions and made sure I understood their eight week turnaround time. I didn't mind waiting eight weeks, because they make everything by hand according to the customer's exact specifications. I wanted basic white fabric with black trim, but Melissa will work with any fabric you have in mind.

See those crisp folds? These shades are awesome.
Our shades arrived exactly when Melissa said they would, and we installed them a month ago. I wanted to live with them for a while before writing this, so I could tell you what they're really like. For the first five days, we had to pull the shades all the way up and leave them that way to train the fabric into shape. It was so, so, so, so hard not to use them! It was worth the wait, though, because now when we lift the shades, the pleats fold neatly.

Three sleepy pets and four Roman shades.
The shades provide privacy without blacking out the windows entirely during the day, which is exactly what I wanted. The only thing I don't completely love is that if the shades are lowered during the day, you can see the shadow of the "guts" inside the shade... you know, the mechanism that pulls it up. That's because they don't have blackout lining. I chose to have no blackout lining, because I didn't want the room to be too dark during the day. I normally solve the problem by lifting the shade higher during the day. In the picture above, though, I left one shade lower so you can see the shadow. 

If you're shopping for Roman shades, and a) you want to leave the shades lowered during the day, and b) the shadow would bother you a lot, then you'll probably want to pay a bit extra and get Roman shades with blackout lining.

As you've probably guessed, I'm very happy with them. I like supporting independent seamstresses, and I love the custom look and fit. And speaking of custom fitted window shades, be sure to measure each window--twice. Or even three times! My mother insisted I measure each window, even though they all looked the same. As it turns out, one of our windows is half an inch wider than the others, and I never would've guessed it. If I had measured one window and asked for five shades in that size, I would've made an expensive mistake. Thanks, Mom!

* This is a totally, completely, 100% unsponsored post.


  1. Those are lovely. I am a sucker for black and white, though. It's so simple and graphic but classy.

    1. That's exactly how I feel about black and white, too. :)

  2. Beautiful!! Do you know the name of your seamstress or seamstresses?


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