blinds up

If you read my Kitchen Makeover post you will know that after having my kitchen renovated by my social landlord – Northwards Housing, I was on the lookout for some blinds to add a finishing touch.  I hunted high and low for bargains and was not happy either with the design or the price of all of the ones that I found online.  I decided to see how easy it would be to make my own.

There were quite a few tutorials on YouTube but some made the process look really difficult and almost put me off.  I eventually found a simple-ish tutorial that convinced me that it was within my capabilities to at least have a go.

First step was to measure my window to determine how much material I would need to order. As I was installing the blind on the outside of the window recess,  I measured from the top of the board above the window to where I wanted the length of the blind to finish.  I then measured the width from outside edge to outside edge and added an extra inch each side so that the blind would overlap the edges of the window a little.

blinds diagram 1

The measurements above are for the finished blind but you have to add on an extra 10cm all the way around for the double folded hem.  You can sew the hem using invisible stitching if you know how or you can use a sewing machine for a more professional looking finish (I picked up my ancient electric sewing machine from eBay for £22 and it works a treat).

Another thing that you have to take into account when working out the required amount of fabric is that you are going to fold the blind fabric over the top and behind the wooden baton and secure it with your staple gun – this will require an extra 8cm adding onto the length…With me so far??  It really isn’t complicated but all of these factors mean you will end up with the correct sized blind when you’ve finished.

Here is how the maths for the final required amount of fabric:

Width 125 + 10 for hem = 135cm

Length 143 + 10 for hem + 8 for top fold = 161cm

Most of the fabrics that I found came in 140cm widths and is sold by the metre (100cm) I needed 2 metres for my kitchen blind.  I bought my fabric from the clearance section of an online fabric retailer called Abakhan  for the bargain price of £1.45 a metre!

I bought this wooden baton from B & Q for under £2 and the other bits and pieces listed below I bought from eBay or Amazon(apart from the drill, tape measure and staple gun).

Equipment required

  • Blind material
  • Wooden baton approx 2″ x 1″
  • 4 x 3″ screws
  • 3 x Eye hooks
  • Blind Cord
  • 1 x Cleat
  • Small Roman blind Curtain Rings
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Tape measure
  • Sharp, household scissors
  • Dressmaking pins
  • Staple gun
  • Drill
blind kit

Some of the kit

I would recommend laying your fabric out flat on a clean floor to measure and pin.  Measure the required width ensuring that you are measuring across the width of the fabric and not the length.  If using a plain fabric, you can trim off the excess from one side of the fabric.  However, if using a patterned material you are best trimming the excess off both sides to maintain the integrity of the pattern, you do this by working out how much you need to trim and dividing it by 2.  In my case it was as follows:

140 – 135 = 5

5 divided by 2 = 2.5

This meant that I trimmed 2.5cm from the left and the right sides of the material.  Next, you can cut the length to the correct measurement, try to make sure that you cut as straight a line as possible when trimming.  Now that you have the trimming done, you can move onto pinning the hem in place.  Fold a 2″ hem along the top of the fabric then fold 2″  again, this gets rid of any frayed edges which would make your finished blind look tatty. Pin in place checking that you have maintained the straight edges.  Do this on all 4 sides of the material then stitch into place using your chosen method of machining or hand sewing.

ready to sew

That is the hardest part of the blind made!

Here is where I usually enlist the help of my hubby, it is something I could do myself but I like to make him feel useful ;)

Cut your baton of wood to the same length as the width of your blind, drill pilot holes into the front of the wood for when you come to screw the blind to the plinth above the window; one central and one at both ends of the wood approx. 2 inches from the end.  Next job is to screw the eyelets to the bottom narrow edge of your baton, these are placed at each end approx. 1″ in, with another in the centre.

baton diagramThe eyelets in the diagram above are facing the wrong way, you will need to turn them so that the holes are  side on rather than facing the front.

Your baton is now ready to be stapled to the blind material, place the baton on the reverse side of the fabric 3″ down from the top, make sure that the eyelets are at the bottom of the baton still.  Fold over the 3″ of material to cover the top of the baton, adjust as necessary and staple into place.  The fabric should cover the baton completely.  At this stage I usually poke a small hole with something sharp through the fabric into the pilot holes to make it easier when it comes to putting up the finished blind.attach baton diagramThe next step is to create the folds and attach the Roman blind curtain rings to the blind material. Place the fabric reverse side up on a flat surface and fold from the bottom, there are formulas out there to use but I generally use my eye and judgement – for this blind I created 2 folds with a backdrop piece at the bottom of the blind.

folded blindWith the blinds folded in place still, mark your placements for the Roman blind curtain rings with tailors chalk or  pencil.  The rings will need to be lined up with the eyelets on the baton vertically and on top of each of the folds.

ring placementStitch the rings in place using 3 or 4 stitches, be careful to use invisible stitching so that they cannot be seen from the front of the blind.  Once all of the rings are in place lay your blind out flat on the floor and decide which side you want your blind mechanism to be.  If you want it to be on the left hand side, you will start stringing your blind cord from the left finishing on the right as your blind is reverse side up.

In the diagram above the blind cord mechanism will be on the left hand side of the blind when hung in place, so the blind cord will be strung starting on the left.  Click on the diagram to view a larger image.   Roughly measure how much blind cord you will need to go from the bottom left hand ring straight up to the eyelet directly above and across the baton then down to the bottom of the blind.  Cut the appropriate length and tie one end to the bottom left hand ring using 4 simple knots.  Thread the cord up through the ring above then through the eyelet above that.  Take the cord through the other 2 eyelets on the baton and leave the remaining cord dangling to the right.  Repeat the process with the middle row of rings, taking it to the right again and leaving the cord dangling with the first.  The final length of blind cord will go up and through the right hand side eyelet and dangle with the other 2.

Tie a knot near the top of the 3 dangling pieces of cord to keep all three together and plait the 3 pieces of cord finishing with a knot at the bottom.  The blind is now ready to be hung at the window, make sure you attach the baton to the plinth above the window by going under and behind the front of the main fabric of the blind, this way the fixing screws will not be visible.  The cleat is used to wrap your blind cord up when the blind is raised,  attach it to the inside of the window recess as high as is comfortable for you to reach.  When you raise your blind, wrap the plaited cord around it in a figure of eight until it feels secure.

The first time you raise the blind you will need to help the folds into place, try to leave the blind raised for a couple of days to help the fabric “remember”  the folds.  If you can’t do this, don’t worry – you will have to help the folds sit correctly for a few days but then it should start to fall into place naturally.

You can add extra touches like tassles or a bar through the bottom hem of the blind, or line the material if you feel it necessary.  I have a few blind projects lined up so I will upload more instructions as I go along, I may even try to figure out doing a video instructable to try to make it a bit easier to follow. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below if you are unsure of anything.

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “DIY Soft fold Roman Blinds

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