Tuesday, 23 August 2011

How To Make Your Own Roman Blinds

Roman blinds are a lovely addition to any home, but designer made Roman blinds can be very expensive. Fortunately they are not difficult to make and can be done using some common hardware and craft supplies.

The first thing to consider is the fabric. The front fabric should match or nicely complement the room decor. Quilters should consider a pieced front fabric to show off their talents. It is even possible to reuse or upcycle fabric from old drapes or bed sheets for an environmentally friendly project. The back fabric needs to be a nice UV resistant curtain lining. This is easy to come by either at the fabric store or by scrounging old worn out curtains from the rag bin. It is best to avoid plain muslin because it will not protect the front fabric or other interior fabrics from fading.

The fabrics should be cut to the size of the window plus one inch for seam allowances on the sides and four inches for seam allowance plus hem and casing on the top and bottom. Add additional allowance for an outside mount if desired. The bottom edges of both the front fabric and the lining get a three inch hem. This forms the casing for the metal strip. Place the right sides of the fabric together and sew one side from the bottom up. The metal bar fits nicely into the front fabric hem and the other side may be sewn to seal it inside.

Brass rings are a must. Plastic ones will wear out or begin to crumble from long exposure to sunlight. Battens can be either shade ribs or wooden dowels, cut one in smaller than the finished width of the shade. These help stiffen the fabric for better folds in the shade.

The trickiest part of Roman blinds is measuring to determine the placement of the battens and rings. A good tip to be aware of is that the blinds will hang and fold better if the distance between the rings is graduated, with the longest distance being at the bottom and the shortest on top. Seven inches, then six, then five, then four, then three make a good spacing for the rings. Alter this according to the length of the finished blind.

Each ring should have a batten to give it support. The mid point between each two rings should also have a batten to support the fold. So if the first ring is four inches from the bottom and the next ring is seven inches from it, there should be another batten at three and a half inches from the first ring. White glue will not hold the battens for long. Gem glue is a much better choice. Avoid hot glue. The battens should be glued to the wrong side of the front fabric. Allow the glue to dry overnight, then turn the tube so that the right sides are out. Press the edges and sew the brass rings to every other batten in three columns, sewing through both layers of fabric. Thread should match the front of the blind.
The soft side of the velcro goes on the top edge of the blind. Fold the fabric over one inch, trimming uneven edges. Press and sew the velcro to cover the raw edge.

The shade bracket is a simple one inch thick piece of wood measured to match the window frame. The bracket can be left plain or dressed up with a clean piece of muslin. For inside mount blinds, mount three eye screws on the wide face of the board--one on the right side, one in the middle, and one on the left--and staple the hook side of the velcro to the narrow face. The board faces are reversed for outside mount blinds. Mount the bracket in the window with two screws and attach the blind to the bracket.

Three strings loop through the eye screws from right to left, turning to catch a column of brass rings and fastening at the bottom of the lowest ring in each column. The closest string goes through only the first eye screw. The middle string goes through the middle and first eye screw. The furthest string goes through all three eye screws. These strings knot together on the right side to become a single pull string. Pull the string to raise the finished blind or relax to lower it. The string attaches to a cleat mounted on the wall when the blind is drawn up.