My friend Julie has lovely homemade Roman blinds in every window of her house. Some are fitted inside the window frame opening, and topped by a valance. Others, designed to add extra insulation value to the more weather-battered windows, hand outside the width of the window opening and fasten to the edge of the trim with hidden magnetic strips — clever and effective to stop a draft!
This past weekend, Julie came over and we walked around with measuring tape and swatches of fabric, making big plans. She talked me through the process while I made notes, and you know I was completely astonished at how totally “do-able” this project could be!
Okay, it’s a little bit fiddly to be sure to get things measured up right — and I had to look at one of my existing, store-bought Roman shades in order to figure how how to run the cord through — but I’ll definitely be doing this again.
The beauty of making your own window treatments, besides the money-saving aspect, is that you can get exactly what you want — no compromise.
So plan ahead when you’re buying new bedding, for example, and pick up an extra flat twin-sized sheet to turn into matching blinds… or make over a vintage lace tablecloth into a window shade… show off your personal style — the possibilities are endless!
Supplies to Make a Roman Shade:
Light to medium-weight fabrics work best for Roman blinds, as heavy-weight drapery fabric won’t fold as neatly when the blind is raised, creates a fair amount of bulk at the head of your window, and can put unnecessary strain on your mounting hardware.
Think about using an insulating or heat-reflecting fabric as your liner, if energy conservation is part of your window-covering plan.
Strips of wooden or plastic dowelling
I’d recommend using wooden dowels (dowelling) instead of plastic, because it’s less likely to develop a warp or bend if your window gets a lot of strong hot sun.
Small plastic rings
About a half-inch in diameter should do it. In the case of your rings, do go for plastic — it will help the cord to slide more smoothly.
And what the heck is an acorn, you ask? In this context, it’s the proper name for that little weight thingie that dangles at the end of your blind cords. You thread the cords through the hole in the acorn, then tie a knot. Acorns come in all styles and finishes, by the way, from a classic blend-with-wall white ceramic to a shiny golden gilt. I like a nice natural-finished wooden acorn to match the window trims in this old house, but it’s all a matter of taste…
The stick-and-sew kind is easiest to work with. The strip comes in a roll so you can buy it as one long piece and cut off the length you need, as you need it.
• 1″ size wooden batten, the width of the blind
• Wall cleat
• Screw eyelets, four.
Sew… now what?
Well, I’m not lending you my friend Julie to show how to put it together! I still need her expert advice for the window shades for my sunroom makeover. But there’s plenty of help to be had — truly, making a Roman shade is much easier than you would think, with nothing more than a bit of guidance…
The best free sewing instructions for a Roman shade I’ve found so far are at Alternative-Windows.com, complete with clear diagrams. The directions are for a lined plain Roman blind that’s fitted onto a wooden batten, simple, elegant, and versatile.