Classical nova outbursts occur in binary systems containing a white dwarf accretor and a Roche-lobe-filling main-sequence star. The outburst is due to a thermonuclear runaway in the accreted material on the surface of the white dwarf, and results in the ejection of up to 10-4 M ⊙of material at velocities of several hundred to a few thousand kilometres per second. There is now strong evidence that the mass ejection takes place via a wind with secularly increasing velocity. The fast ejecta catches up with slower moving material ejected earlier in the outburst, forming a layer of shock-heated gas which gives rise to a short burst of soft X-ray emission. This emission was observed in V838 Her (Nova Herculis 1991), and was succesfully accounted for by the ‘interacting winds’ model. In this paper, we present 2.5-D numerical hydrodynamics calculations of interacting winds in novae which consider the effects of the binary system on shaping the mass-loss, and show that many of the features seen in the optical shells of novae many years after outburst can be accounted for.