Saturday, 3 November 2012

Roman Blinds

Let me begin by saying that I REALLY don't like horizontal blinds.  They are just great big dust collectors.  Of course, our house came equipped with nothing but venetian blinds.  My husband (the taskmaster) declared one day that I should learn how to make roman blinds.  He even bought me a serger for my birthday, which I later learned he figured I could use to make us some blinds.  The window that he really wanted us to work on is our 7 foot wide bedroom window.  Me being the practical one in our relationship, thought that it would be better to begin with one of our smaller windows.
To be honest, I wasn't super thrilled about the idea of making roman blinds.  For one thing, choosing fabric to match the walls and decor is really difficult.  It typically involves me going back and forth to the fabric store with swatches of fabric until we find one that fits.  The second thing that I absolutely dread is having to cut yards and yards of fabric in straight lines!  Luckily, my husband volunteered to do the cutting.  
We chose a lighter fabric for the front, and a thermal blocker for the back, which blocks out about 50-70% of the light and also helps to insulate.  We bought enough fabric to furnish two smaller windows (one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom).  The saleslady at the fabric store was nice enough to map it all out for me, detailing the number of rings, the length of strings and the distance between the dowels.  Combining this knowledge with what I had found on various websites (Terrell Designs, and Brown Paper Packages), I figured I was ready to get started.
We measured our window and had to make a blind that was 33.5" wide and 33.5" tall.  We cut the exterior fabric to be 35.5" wide by 43" tall and the interior fabric to be 34.5" wide by 48" tall.  We also cut out strips of the thermal blocker that were 3" by 33".  These would be the pockets for the dowels.    I began by hemming both the exterior and interior fabrics separately at the bottom of the curtain.  I then measured the placement of the dowels.  I was told to leave 8" without a dowel at the top of the curtain, I then measured 3.7" according to the calculations of the saleslady for the placement of each dowel.  I marked each placement with my aqua-trickmaster pen.  I then sewed the pockets onto the front of the thermal blocker.
From here, I sewed the front and back pieces together with the right sides together.  According to the Terrell Design website, I sewed the one side of the fabrics together and then realigned to sew the other side together.  This allows the exterior fabric to wrap around, keeping the seam hidden from the sides of the blind.  When sewing the sides, I was careful to not close the pockets for the dowels.  After sewing the two sides, I flipped the curtain and ironed the edges.  I inserted a dowel into the bottom hem of the thermal blocker and into each of the pockets.

My husband covered the headrail with the blind fabric, attached the screw eyes for the strings as well as the pulley along the right side.  We stapled the blind top to the headrail.  I then marked the placement of the screw eyes and pulley and attached the rings to the alternating dowels in the corresponding places.  I proceeded to string the blind by tying a knot after the bottom ring and then pulling the string through each ring, up through the corresponding eye screw and then into the pulley.

After making the blind, I realized that roman blinds are not as complicated as I had originally thought.  They came together nicely and are definitely a HUGE improvement over the horizontal blinds that they replaced.

Upon hanging the blind, we realized that by deciding to put the pockets onto the back of the thermal blocker my measurements were off.  Therefore the blind doesn't pull up as high as I wanted it to and there is a bit extra hanging down below the blind.  These are definitely things that I will need to take into account for the next set of blinds that I make.

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