Add beauty and block out the sun with easy-to-make Roman blinds. These versatile blinds can be constructed with a variety of different fabrics, which makes it easy to coordinate each shade with the personality of the room. Using wooden dowels lowers the cost, creates attractive fold lines and makes the finished shade lightweight enough to raise and lower easily.
Wooden dowels come in many sizes and are available at home improvement stores such as www.Lowes.com or www.HomeDepot.com. You can also find them at craft stores. Choose your dowel based on the material you will be using for your shade. For example, thicker dowels are appropriate for heavier materials such as lightweight upholstery fabrics. Thinner rods are better suited for fabrics such as broadcloth. Buy enough dowel rods to accommodate the length of your shade. Position the first rod 2 inches from the top and the last rod an inch from the bottom. You will position the other dowel rods equal distances apart along the length of the shade. Use more dowel rods for shades with small folds and fewer rods for shades with more dramatic folds. Generally speaking, your rods should be spaced a minimum of 8 inches and not more than 12 inches apart. Cut the length of the dowel rods 1 inch shorter than the width of your shade.
Purchase all of your materials before beginning your project. Needed materials include fabric and lining, plastic rings, Velcro, screw eyelets, a wooden batten, nylon cording and, of course, wood dowels. The amount of each material needed will depend on your measurements. The length and width of your fabric and lining should equal your window measurements plus 2 inches added to the width and 3 inches added to the length to accommodate seams. You will use a 1-inch seam allowance on each side and the bottom and a 2-inch seam allowance on the top. Purchase an additional ½ yard of the lining fabric to make the casings for your dowels. Alternatively, you can use wide, pre-folded bias tape for your dowel casings. The casings will show on the back side of your shade, so choose a colour of bias tape that blends and coordinates with the fabric. You can find the plastic rings and other items at hardware, home improvement or craft stores. Determine the length of nylon cord needed by following this simple formula: (two times the window width plus window length) times three. Buy enough plastic rings so that you can sew one on each dowel casing at both sides and at intervals of 8 inches along the casing pocket. The length of the wooden batten and Velcro should equal the width of the window.
Blind Construction Tips
Iron your fabric before cutting. Use a yardstick and a large flat surface to measure and cut your materials. Sew the side and bottom seams together first, with right sides facing inward. Use your iron to eliminate wrinkles after sewing and turning your fabric. Leave the ends of your rod pockets open for rod insertion. Use a needle and thread to slip stitch the ends of the pockets closed and to attach your plastic rings. Attach the rings on the dowel pockets in straight, vertical columns with the rings in the first and last columns 2 inches from the side edge. Add additional columns of rings equal distances apart. The wider the shade, the more columns of rings you will need. Use the Velcro to attach and hang the shade. Cut the cord into equal lengths and tie one piece securely onto each bottom ring. Thread the cord up through the rings on the shade, one cord per column. Use the eyelet screws, attached to the batten to thread the cords at the top and to direct all of the cords to one side of the window. After testing, you can braid the cords together to make one attractive pull string.