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How-to Sew a Roman Blind

June 17, 2011





After some trial and error the second Roman blind is finished!

 It is hanging in my daughter's room, but after removing the drapes I am realizing the blind looks lonely. So drapes will get hung back up, but first the rod is going to get a makeover {and the paint colour isn't working for me... it looked fantastic in her old room but it reads too purple in this room, another thing to add to the to-do list}

If you are dying to make a fully functioning Roman blind, the instructions are below. Don't let all the photos and steps scare you away. It does look daunting but I tried to be as thorough as possible so you won't have to "guess" your way through like I did. Once you make one, you will realize how easy they are to make. The most important thing I can't stress enough, is to be precise in your measurements. 

Remember the old saying," measure twice, cut once!"



Here is the first blind I made, yes, it is the $%#@ blind. I made this one using information that I found in bits and pieces from the internet and my drapery book.


Dying to make one for yourself and save yourself $$?

 Have no fear, if you can sew a straight stitch on your sewing machine, then you can do it!

Supplies:

Fabric of your choice. {I highly recommend a good heavy weight fabric with a tight weave}
I wouldn't make a blind wider than the width of the fabric. If your window is wider than that, you should make two blinds to sit side-by-side.
Lining. {I used black out lining in order to keep the room dark but there are various types you can use. I highly recommend using a lining as then your blind won't be see-thru, it will look professionally made}


#1: Piece of wood, about 1" x 2", cut to the desired width of your blind, this will be what you use to mount your blind to the window frame
#2: Piece of wood, about 1/4" x 1", cut 1/2" less than the width of your blind, this will be inserted at the bottom of the blind to give it support and hold its shape.
#3: Wooden dowels, about 4-5, 5/16"" thick, cut 1/2 " less than the desired width your blind . If the finished width of your blind is going to be 48", then  cut the dowels to 47 1/2 ". 
This is where my saga began, my windows were wider than 48", the longest length a 5/16" thick dowel is sold.  I searched high and low, but after exhausting my resources I chose to use garden bamboo, purchased at my local garden centre. {Thanks Mel!}
Make sure you find the straightest and even thickness bamboo.


#1: Mounting brackets, to hang up the blind to window
#2: Eye hooks, around 4-5
#3: Small plastic rings, I used 16. 
#4: Nylon cording, about 5 times the length of your blind.
#5: Cleat, you will only need this if you aren't using a cord lock.
#6: 1 1/2- 2" wide twill tape, about 5 times the width of you blind. These will be used to make dowel pockets. OR you can make your own tape, cutting strips of fabric or lining and folding in a hem along the length of the strip.
  



Cord lock. This is optional but it eliminates the need for a cleat to hold the cords in place so the blind will stay drawn. {I decided on this towards the end of making my blind, photos are near the end}
Staple gun
Thread, needle, pins and coordinating thread

1. Before you begin, you  need to decide if you want an outside mount or inside mount blind.

Outside mount {a blind that sits outside of the window frame}:

Or

Inside mount {one that fits inside the window frame}:


2. Measure the dimensions of the window. If you want an inside mount, you need to be precise in your measurements so that it will fit perfectly. For an outside mount you need to determine how much you want the blind to sit outside of the frame. 
Then add 4 inches to the width and 6 inches to the length of your desired finished measurements. These will be your cutting measurements.
My blind is going to be 40"long by 58" wide, so my cutting measurements would be 46" long by 62" wide. 

3. Lay out your fabric and using a square ruler, measure and cut out your fabric.


4. Using the same measurements, cut out your lining.


5. Using an iron, iron a hem on 3 sides of your blind; the bottom and sides. Leave the top part un-hemmed. To get nice crisp corner for your blind follow my steps below. {1} Iron each edge, {2} unfold {3} iron the corner over just to the point where the arrow is pointing, it is the point where the two folds met. {4} Finally, iron back the edges along the original ironed edge. 


6. Do the same with the lining. Ironing a hem only on 3 edges, leaving the top edge un-hemmed.


7. Lay out your ironed fabric on a flat surface


8. Lay the lining on top with wrong sides {hemmed sides}together.


9. Re-measure the width of your blind just to make sure it is "square", make any adjustments to the hems with the iron if needed. 
{This is an easy step to overlook, but it can save you a headache in the end if the blind is too big or too small for the window!}


10. Pin all the edges of the lining to the fabric.



11.  Hand stitch the lining to the fabric, using an invisible stitch, being careful not to go through to the front, just catching the folded edge of the lining and the folded flap {hemmed edge} of the fabric. Alternately, you can sew the edges on the machine. I prefer to hand stitch as then the blind looks more tailored and "clean". 



12. Determine the placement of the dowel pockets. It is best to place the dowels about 10-12" apart so you get 5-6" folds. The placement of the first dowel is half of the space plus 1". So if I choose to place my dowels 10" apart, the first dowel is place 6" from the bottom edge {10/2=5 +1= 6} I know, math again, crazy! 
It is also best to have the last dowel placed about 10" from the top.

Here is a diagram I drew so you can see the dowel placement and the ring placement. I chose to place my dowels about 9" apart, as you want about 4 dowels for a blind my size and I had to fiddle with the placement in order to come close to 10".


13.  Mark the dowel pocket placement using a ruler/yardstick and a pencil. Or if you are Martha, you can use a disappearing ink pen. 




14. Measure the width of the lining, add 1" and cut 4 pieces of twill tape. These will be made into dowel pockets.




15. Iron the twill tape. {1} Iron the tape in half lengthwise {2} Fold over the ends and iron. {3} Pin the iron twill tape to the lining. Place the free {unfolded} edges along the line,  the folded edge facing the bottom edge of the blind.


16. {5} Stitch the edge of the tape {the non-folded edge} with the sewing machine, {5} sewing through the lining and fabric. I used white thread and brown thread so that the lining side was white and {6} the fabric side had coordinating thread.


17. Sew on the plastic rings to the edge of the tape. Because my blind is wide I chose to use 4 rings across the dowel pocket. I placed the rings about 2 1/2 inches from both edges and then evenly spaced the two middle rings and that they line up, up the blind. I think for most blinds, 3 vertical rows of rings would be enough. 
See diagram.




18. Slip the flat wood piece {1/4" x 1"}, cut 1/2" shorter than the width of the blind, into the bottom edge hem. Stitch the corner closed.


19. Slip the dowels, {cut just slightly shorter than the width of the lining} into the twill tape pockets.


20. Stitch the ends closed.


21. Wrap the wood that will be used for mounting the blind with a scrap of lining or fabric. Use a staple gun to hold it in place.


22. Mark the placement of where the batten board will sit. I marked off the top of where my blind will be {the finished height of my blind}. You do this by measuring from the bottom. Since my finished height of my blind is 40", I drew a line 40" from the bottom edge of the blind.


23. Line the mounting board with the staple side facing up the blind along the marked line {where the arrow is pointing} Then lay the board down, staples side is down and now the line is below the board. You can staple the fabric to the top of the board and roll it back up.  You will find the board then lines up perfectly .


24. Mark the placement of the eye hooks by moving the board down to the first dowel pocket, using the plastic rings as guides.


25. Screw in the eye hooks. Since I made 4 vertical rows of plastic rings {see the diagram}, then there will be 4 eye hooks lined up along the mounting board.


26. Now you are going to start threading the nylon cord. Determine which side you want the cords to be pulled from, then start from the farthest row of rings.  I measured the length of the blind, plus the width, plus some excess so you have cord hanging to pull {about 1/2 the height of the blind}. I then cut that length of the cord. 


27. Tie the cord to the bottom ring, then thread through all the vertically placed rings running up the blind to the eye hook that is vertically placed as well. Then thread the string through all the eye hooks that are along the top of the mounting board. Letting the excess string lay to the side.


28. Cut lengths for all the other vertical rows. Everytime it will be shorter as you will need less horizontal length of cord. I found that by taking the cord and laying it out loosely to my desired length and then cutting was easiest. Do that for the remaining vertical rows of rings. You can refer to my drawing to get an idea of what I mean.



29. Leave the excess cord laying to one side. Now you will either mount a cord lock or another eye hook to channel all the cords together. This is how you will open and close the blind. If you use a cord lock then you won't need a cleat, unless you want a tidy way to hang the cords. For this blind I chose to use a cord lock, but with the black and white striped blind I just used another eye hook, but then a cleat is necessary to hold the cords in place so your blind will stay up in place.


30. If using a cord lock, then you will need to screw on the mounting bracket first. If you want to use the eye hook option, photos are at the end of this tutorial. If you are making an outside mount blind, the the brackets will be placed not at the ends of the board but along the back.


31. Now screw the cord lock on top. Making sure the placement is correct. There are "wires" on the top. The cut ends face to the outside of the blind {see the  2nd following photo} and.....



 the "folded" end faces inside the blind. This is important, you want the locking system to lock the "right" way.


32. You are going to thread all the cords through this.


33.  The best way to thread the cords through is to hold the blind up so the cord lock is hanging down and thread the cords in, the small "roll" will open up and they thread in quite easily.



34. Screw the second mounting bracket on the opposite end of the board. You may need to make adjustments once it is up. I realized I had a gap, so I had to move the bracket over a bit.


35. Hang up the blind using the mounting brackets to your window frame.



Alternatively, instead of a cord lock {I am finding with the weight of this blind, the cords on the far end of the blind keep slipping} you can use an eye hook screwed to the end of the board to channel all the cords in one place. If you choose to use this, then you will need a cleat mounted along the window frame to hold the cords so the blind will stay in place.





It will take a few times to "train" the fabric to fold. Just guide the fabric along, eventually it will "remember" and fold on it's own!


Phew! 
I think that is it!
If you are so confused and puzzled, please feel free to email me any questions. I would be more than happy to help!

barbaras{dot}hodgepodge{at}yahoo{dot}ca

If you do end up tackling this project, I would love to see photos so I can share them on my blog!

What are you up to this weekend? My husband rides in an epic mountain bike race so I am heading up there to watch.

Come back Sunday for another installment of "So Canadian,eh?"
my list of talented Canadians is growing!

XO Barbara

*visiting:

37 comments:

  1. First of all, where do you find the time, secondly, can you share some of your talent? I love the project.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! That looked complicated. But it came out beautiful! Great job!

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  3. Looks fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing, now I can only hope mine turn out as well as yours!

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  4. WOW!!! Thank you for this awesome tutorial. I want to tackle this project soon!

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  5. WHOA! You are one talented lady! I'm saving this one... eventually I'd like to try and tackle one for our front entrance (so I'm bookmarking this post AND adding it to next week's Fancy Friday Love haha) Have a great weekend xx

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  6. This is fabulous and your instructions are so concise. I have always loved Roman Blinds and recently the tropical sun just dried up the plastic rings on the lining and also the cords snapped. I painstakingly replaced the brittle rings and replaced the cord. It was very satisfying to complete the project. Lots of nervousness and work. A fabulous post. Thank you and your daughters rooms looks great.

    I think you deserve the weekend off.
    Helen xxx

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  7. Thanks for the great in-depth tutorial.
    I need to make Roman blinds for a few windows in our under-construction home so will definitely be bookmarking this post to help me along.

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  8. Impressive!! Thanks for the sweet comment on my frame post via MadebyGirl. LOVE your blog. You are super talented and way more patient than I to be doing some of those DIY projects! Kudos to you! yeah Canada!. ;) Look forward to following your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. I have made a roman blind once a long, long time ago, and it wasn't a happy ending. With this post I may try it again, with much greater success. Yours both turned out beautiful. I'm sure your daughters' are thrilled. Have a great weekend!

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  10. Seriously amazing! I'm impressed. Over the last three years of tackling virtually every kind of project in my home known to man, attempting to make functioning Roman Shades is the only project that reduced me to tears! I finally gave up and made them faux!

    Great job...Janell

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  11. Amazing tutorial! I've been wanting to do this for my kitchen, I might just have to find some fabric now so I try it out!

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  12. Holy mega-posts Barbara! Not sure if I'm brave enough to attempt this but your project is inspiring. The bamboo worked perfectly.

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  13. THis was sooo informative. You are very talented!

    The Simply Inpsired Home.

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  14. Awesome tutorial Barbara! Don't you feel so good to have it finished! I am in no rush to make another Roman shade - that's for sure. Thanks for linking to my blog!

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  15. This was an awesome tutorial! I pinned it on Pinterest :) No one can ever say they can't make one after reading your tutorial, you did a fantastic job on explaining all the steps! Love the fabric by the way!

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  16. Fantastic post Barbara! Such a great tutorial and I sure like how yours turned out - I linked this to my roman shades project post too today, well done!

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  17. THANKS ! I am getting right on it! :) but where did you find the rolling mechanism? i can't seem to find it anywhere.
    thanks again.

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  18. This is the best roman shade tutorial I have ever seen. Great job! So thorough and great pictures and in words that beginners can understand. I will be linking this to my blog sometime in the future!

    abodecasahome.blogspot.com

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  19. Thanks for this awesome tutorial!

    I have almost all of my materials ready to go, but I have a few questions...if you could answer them, that would be really awesome and sweet of you!

    1) Do I need to use a 2x1" board for the top part? I found a 1x1" squared dowel that I thought might work. Is there a reason it needs to be 2" deep?

    2) Can you tell me where you picked up the cord lock? I didn't find it by the other DIY blind materials at Joanns

    3) Do you think I could use safety pins instead hand-sewing all those white rings? You you think it could still function correctly? I'm using a linen fabric, so its probably a little lighter than the material you used (which I love, btw). Thoughts?

    Thanks again for your detailed post!!!! Kudos!!


    http://pinterest.com/owldeedoo/she-s-crafty/

    ReplyDelete
  20. It look complex...but isn't it...The step by step picture make it easy to follow. like the shades.
    Roman shades concord, ca

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  21. Hi Barbara,

    I'm so happy to find your blog,and doubly happy with this excellent post!
    The roman shade is beautiful thanks so much for the step by step .
    I've a question that I hope you will be able to answer. Along with
    sewing a regular size window , I have plans to make a shade for my
    patio door (sliders). Do you think that it can be done ? Would an
    over-sized roman shade be constructed to the regular size ?
    Any help or suggestions you may share with me will be very
    appreciated.
    Best,
    Elicia ("Elise")
    email: MCGINNHOLD@MSN.CO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elise, I sent you an email but it bounced back. Is there another email I can respond to?

      Delete
  22. You have taught us very simply to sew Roman blinds. It is an excellent post
    Blinds

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  23. Thanks for the simple lesson! I made 2 shades for my daughters house and wish I had stumbled across your instructions 1st! I definitely will be using yours next time! Linda from Indiana

    ReplyDelete
  24. I just bought my Material and lining today. Should I wash them first?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you hope to wash them later, I would as the fabric may shrink. But drapery fabric has a special coating to give it stiffness. It is up to you.

      Delete
  25. Hi Barbara

    When I am sewing on the plastic rings, do I also sew them onto the bottom edge of the blind? If so would it be best to do this before I place the wood in the bottom hem?

    Thanks

    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't sew the rings on the bottom hem, that is where you place a skinny slat of wood. The bottom edge just "hangs" . If you put rings on the bottom edge, it would fold up. Does that make sense?

      Delete
  26. Thank you for taking the time to put together such detailed instructions! My blind turned out quite well.
    Best,
    Shaye

    ReplyDelete
  27. I wish all tutorials were this thorough and accompanied by such helpful pictures. Not sure why, but half the tutorials I found started off ok and then descended into vague descriptions and generalisations that left me floundering. I'm having to - more or less - remake a terrible blind I bought (Oh how I wish I'd just taken it back when I opened the box). However, with the help of your excellent tutorial the whole thing seemed to 'fall into place' and I feel like I might just crack it this time.

    Thank you ...

    ReplyDelete
  28. You really do make this look easy - maybe one day I'll be brave enough to give it a go! Laura @ Blackout Roller Blinds

    ReplyDelete
  29. The written piece is truly fruitful for me personally; continue posting these types of articles.
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  30. This is the tutorial to follow! Love it and just sent you an email with my finished products. thanks again
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    ReplyDelete
  31. Barbara - Many thanks for such an instructive, detailed and considered tutorial. Followed your instructions and delighted with the professional finish. Many thanks. Iwan

    ReplyDelete
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