You can make a roman blinds starkly modern with a crisp strong fabric, blousily Victorian with a floral print, or even moodily historic – it all depends on the fabric. And these are so easy to make, it really doesn’t cost the earth (although a curtain maker will ensure that it does…). So have a go – all you need is a basic sewing machine, and the courage to give it a try.
The first step is to measure your window. Decide whether your blind will hang inside the frame, or up to the ceiling. Add 10cm to the width for hemming and/or attaching the lining. You’ll need to add 20cm to the length (for attaching and hemming).
Once you have cut out the fabric, sew the lining and the blind fabric together, ensuring that about 2cm of the blind fabric folds round the back (that way if it flaps open in the breeze you don’t see the lining). Press the seam flat. Yes really – this is important. I always skip steps if I can, but this will make it look neat.
Above you can see the blackout fabric as lining, with a toile-de-jouy turned over.
Then work out where you want the folds in the blind when it is pulled up. If you want a 10cm drop when it is closed, you will need to sew the blind tape at 20cm intervals, so it folds in half to a 10cm drop. Take time to do this calculation several times. There is nothing worse than sewing the tapes on and then realising they are all in the wrong place and you have to unpick them all and start again.
Actually, there is something worse – spilling red wine over your nearly complete blinds. But we won’t go into that here.
Sew your blind tape horizontally across the blind. This is a very easy way of ensuring your blind is horizontal and even when folded. All you do is tie your blind string to the lowest tape and feed it up through the others until you get to the top of the blind. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Hem your blind. Iron the hem.
Then cut a length of timber to the size of the top of the blind, less about 5cm (so that the wood doesn’t show). Staple the blind to the wood, ensuring that the drop length at the front is the right measurement (you can make it longer or shorter at this stage).
Once it is attached, screw in small loops to the underside of the wood (as shown in the photo above) and thread your string up through the lines of tape to the loop (this should all be in a straight vertical line) at the top, and then feed it along the loops until the end. This will be where you pull it up and down.
You can then attach the blind to the wall by drilling two holes through the wood, and putting it up with rawl plugs and screws.
It will take a week or so before it ‘settles down’ and starts hanging naturally in the folds that it is designed to. For the first few times you take it up and down you may have to straighten the folds by hand.
If you want stiffer folds, you can make pockets in the lining (just 1cm wide) and use long steel dowels about 2mm thick to stiffen it. I only do this for very wide windows.