Roman blinds are fabric window shades that form pleated horizontal folds when opened. The supplies needed are simple: fabrics for the face and lining, dowel rods, fabric tape wide enough to cover dowel rods, plastic rings, string or light-weight decorative cording, fabric marker, ruler, sewing machine, needle and thread, pressing iron, measuring tape, screw-eyes, staple gun or glue gun, small L-brackets and a 25mm x 50mm board. The length of the board will be determined by the width of the blind.
Decide if the blind will hang inside the window frame, covering only the window opening, or if it will cover the window frame also. Measure the length and width.
Cut the face fabric 150mm longer than the length and 50mm wider than the desired shade width. The lining fabric should be as long as the face fabric but 25mm narrower. Press under a small hem along all sides of both face and lining fabric.
Mark the lining fabric for dowel rod pockets. These will determine the size of the pleats in the finished shade. 200mm to 300mm is the usual size range. Measure up half this space from the bottom of the shade, allow for the width of the fabric tape, and then measure up the full amount to mark the bottom of the next rod pocket. Ignore the extra 150mm at the top of the shade for now.
Pin the fabric tape strips to the wrong side of the lining fabric. Place face sides of lining and shade fabric together. Sew along the long edges of the fabric tape strips to create each pocket. Stitch along outer edges, leaving one side open. Turn right side out and press so that the lining side does not show from the front.
Place dowels in pockets and stitch the open side closed, either on the machine or by hand. Sew a ring to each end of the dowel pockets, about 50 to 75mm in from each side.
Wrap the extra length of the shade top around the board and glue or staple it in place on the back side.
Insert the screw-eyes into the wide, back side of the board at the same spacing from the sides used for the rings.
Screw in L-brackets onto back side of board, above the eyes, at a spacing to allow mounting the shade as desired.
Cut two lengths of cord to twice the length of the shade. Tie one cord to one of the bottom rings and thread it up through the others on that side. Repeat on the other side. Run each cord through its respective screw-eye then run both cords through the eye on the side desired for raising and lowering the Roman blinds.
Tie a knot just past the screw eye, to allow both cords to pull evenly as one.
Mount the shade to the window frame. Pull the blind, adjusting the folds as it closes. “Training” new Roman blinds to fold properly requires opening and closing them a few times.
About the author
Kieron Casey is a BA (Hons) journalism graduate who blogs on a number of topics including DIY, home improvement and Roman blinds.