There are many on-line tutorials for making Roman Blinds. I’ve made them several times before so I just followed the same basic instructions I’ve always used. I don’t remember the original source, as I have 5 photocopied pages that are about 15 years old. The blinds are relatively easy to make, but time-consuming. You don’t need to be a great sewer to pull these off. I’m not going to give a full tutorial here, but this is basically what you need and how you do it.
- decor fabric cut to size of window opening + 2″ in width and about 3″ in length for seam allowances (if you want the same pattern/fabric facing outside, you will need to double that)
- drapery lining cut to size of opening (I’ve skipped the lining in the past and have been disappointed with the result – if the shade is only for decoration, it probably doesn’t matter as much)
- drapery rings (little white plastic rings – number depends on the size of the finished blind – number of vertical rows X number of horizontal rows)
- a mounting board 1″ X 2″ X width of opening
- screw eyes (to go on mounting board)
- shade cord (enough for each vertical row of rings plus the length along the top of the board, so that they all come out one side)
- weight rod for bottom ~ You can use anything for this (dowelling, drapery rod, etc.) It just gives the blind stability and helps it to hang nicely.
- staple gun
- velcro (width of blind)
- optional: light weight horizontal rods of some sort – dowelling, drapery rods, etc. (I ended up using the extra long wood skewers from the Dollar store. I’m hoping they’ll be durable enough as there really is no pressure on them, they are just meant to help the finished shade fall/fold more evenly. I’ve never done this before, so we’ll see.)
- hooks for blind cord (cleats)
What to Do:
- Prepare your mounting board by cutting it to size and painting it, if necessary. Staple gun the velcro strip along the top edge. Add screw eyes along the bottom, placing them above where each of your vertical rows will sit.
- Cut the decor fabric making sure to allow for seam allowances. Measure and press folds for seams.
(You can decide if you want to mount the shade inside the window frame or have it sit outside the frame and extend over the edge of the window: measure according to how you want to mount them.) You will need to fold over a wider pocket (don’t sew the sides) at the bottom, so that you can slip in a weight rod.
- Cut the lining to the size of the finished shade.
- Lay the lining inside the folds of the seams and pin in place.
- Measure out and mark the spots where the rings will need to go. (Vertical rows will sit 1″ from each of the outside edges and the number of additional vertical rows depends on your width – space them about 8″ to 12″ apart). The horizontal rows should start just above the rod pocket at the bottom of the shade (about 2″ – measure carefully as you don’t want uneven horizontal rows) and then spaced 5″ to 8″ apart from the bottom up. ( My blinds are 17″ wide so I have three vertical rows and my horizontal rows are 7″ apart.) Measure carefully and mark the exact spot for each ring with an X.
- I hand stitched all of the rings on. This is easy, but time consuming….a great job to do while watching a movie.
- Once the rings were secured, I slid the skewers in and laid them along each horizontal row. I then ran my machine along each side to create a pocket for them. (I didn’t care what the back of my blinds looked like because Eden’s room is on the second floor and faces the back lane, so I used black thread for the entire project. You’ll notice my sewing isn’t even that straight – I just wanted them done and didn’t really care because the black on black really doesn’t show up.)
- I then sewed along the top, sides and bottoms to finish the seams and sew in the rods. (Remember to leave an open pocket for the weight rod at the bottom.)
- Slide in the weight rod.
- Sew a velcro strip to the top of the blind on the back.
- Mount your prepared board.
- Carefully pre-cut your cord. You will need enough length to travel from the bottom ring (where you will tie it) up the vertical row to the top, through the screw eye on the mounting board and then across the mounting board and through each screw eye along the board until all have been pulled through the screw eye on the far right of the board and secured together in one knot that will not pull through.) This sounds complicated, but basically all of the cords travel vertically up their row and then across the top until each of them meet outside the screw eye on the far right where they are knotted.
- You will want to add cleats so the blind cords can be secured when the blinds are pulled up. I usually mount these about half way up the window frame on the right hand-side.
Disclaimer: If this sounds confusing, don’t follow my plan. I would suggest googling DIY Roman Blinds or Shades and finding a tutorial that suits your needs better. There are even some tutorials that show how to use old aluminum mini blinds as a “skeleton” for making your Roman Shades. Some show how to create them without sewing and others give excellent step by step visuals. I love the finished look of Roman Shades and as mentioned I believe anyone can do them, but you will need to find a tutorial that makes sense for you. Here is a video that seems very good although she makes hers a bit different from mine.
You know how I love to reuse/repurpose and these blinds are no exception. I hung onto some old Romans that I’d made years ago and was able to cut the mounting boards down to fit, reuse the velcro, drapery lining, cord and rings. I really only had to purchase my fabric and rods for this project, so the total was less than $20 for all three blinds. It made sense to reuse the materials from the old blinds and felt good to toss the meager remains once they’d been dismantled.
You might think that making your own blinds isn’t worth the trouble, but for me it is. It is truly an inexpensive way to get a custom look and fit. Living in a heritage home often means that the window sizes are anything but standard. It is difficult to find blinds of any sort that fit and whenever you go “custom” you are looking at mega bucks. With the DIY Romans, you are able to pick the perfect fabric and style for the space and make them custom to your window. I love the clean, contemporary look and the design on the fabric is a perfect fit for Eden’s new room.