31 Oct 2013

How to adjust (ready-made) Roman blinds - tutorial


Before starting with the posts of a new knitting project here is a post on my current sewing project, how I made the Roman blinds for our living room!
The finishing touch before moving in our new home (beside to paint the staircases) is to make curtains. We have a huge bay-window at the front, more than 3 meter (=122 in) wide with almost 1 meter (=39 in) at the sides:

The most important goals were:
- block the view from the outside
- have enough daylight inside
- leave room for the cat to sit on the windowsill

We wanted something modern and clean looking. One of the problems with traditional curtains is that you need space to collect that much of fabric at the sides. Most types of window decoration seemed impossible to have it made in one piece because of the sizing (=too large). At the end of the day it seemed that nothing was available for less than 2000 euro's, and this included only the bay window, but not the others at the side and in the back. Of course, after a whole year of remodeling the house we didn't had that much of money to spend either...
That's when I decided to buy ready-made cord-operated roman blinds which were on sale (30% off) at our local diy store, and adjust the sizing and 'redo' the finishing myself.
  • the bright side:
  • - affordable
    - decent rail system
    - you buy the complete system with fabric in one package
    - the size is adjustable both in length as in width
    - the fabric is a linen-look polyester which is relatively dirt-resistant 
  • the downside:
  • - the fabric finish is ugly
    - you need to adjust the crocket sides anyway (at least, I wouldn't use them as they are)
    - the double-folded and badly stitched sides are cheap looking
    - the ready-made sizing is off

After remake:

calculate the finished measurements:
Whether you buy a ready-made system with or without the fabric, the first step is to calculate the finished measurements. There are two possibilities, you either hang the Roman blinds in the window-frame (left) or you cover the-window frame (right):

  • If you want to place the Roman blind inside the window frame (which is the method I choose) measure the inside of the window-frame. Now you need to make sure there is a little room at the sides and the bottom: distract about 1 cm at the bottom and at the sides. (the top of the shade is the top of the rail system so you don't need to adjust the measurements there)
  • When you cover the window-frame you just need to measure how big the shades should be. It is prettier to cover the window with enough fabric, so allow at least 4-5 inches (or more) extra at the sides, top and bottom. 
did you know...
When taking measurements inside a window-frame always measure in 3-4 different places, especially if you have old window-frames. Take the shortest measurement when calculating!
the steps:
First you need to detach the fabric from the system. To do this pull the cords out:

remove the rods and the bottom bar:

...and detach the fabric which is usually secured with velcro tape for easy cleaning:

As you can see my first blind wasn't looking great, it had crocket edges, but also quite well finished rod pickets with colored rings:

how to adjust:
1. unpick the seams
Start to unpick the edge seams, but leave the rodpockets intact.
Unpicking will take like 80% of the complete refashion project! As you can see there wasn't a lot of seam-allowance used at the edges:

Again, badly stitched, wobbly edges:

When unpicking the bottom seam, mark the place of the lower rings since these  will be removed:


2. Measure and mark the new outside edges.
To measure the new width measure outwards starting from the middle and also from the last rings at the sides to prevent crocket edges. Remember, the cords will pull the fabric in a straight line!

Mark the new outlines: this will be the finished outer edge of the shade

3. When finished fold back the edges all around and press.
(At this point we don't do anything with seam-allowances)

4. Unpick the last few cm's of the rodpockets on both ends, they will be sewn onto the side seams when finished:

5. Measure the seam-allowances
For the sides I used 2.5 cm (1 in) double-folded seams. If you have enough fabric left at the sides cut the edges a little smaller than 5 cm (2 in). If you don't have enough seam-allowance scroll down to the bias-tape method!

6. double fold the edges keeping the side and top seams 2,5 cm (=1 in) and press. It is easier to keep the edges straight if you press before sewing!

7. Pin the seams.
After doing the side-seams make the bottom pocket.
For the bottom bar I made a 3 cm wide seam, so I cut my fabric the double of that: 6 cm.

don't forget to place the bottom rings back before sewing!

8. Trim the corners to prevent bulkiness:

This one is all pinned and ready to sew!
Sew the sides first, then the bottom and the top.

Finished side- and bottom seams:

9. Sew back the edges of the rod-pockets:


10. Sew the velcro back.
Again, I used a 2,5 cm (1 in) double folded back seam.

seam finishing with bias tape:
There is not always enough fabric to make a double-folded 2,5 cm (1 in) seam. I used bias tape to solve the problem.

Place the opened bias tape along the fold line of the outer edge, pin and sew it to the seam allowance. (The bias tape I used is 2 cm wide with 0.5 cm edges. The middle + one edge makes 2.5 cm, leaving a small seam)
Then turn the bias tape under and press. Finish the seam:

If you have even less seam-allowance and can't make the 2,5 cm wide seam consider using a contrasting color for the seam at the back. This won't be visible from the inside but will look neat from the outside.

14. Finally press again all of the finished edges.

As you can see the wider side seams add a professional looking finish:

15. The very last step is to make your rails and rods to size.
- The width of the upper rail need to be the same as the finished width of the shades.
- Make the rods and bottom bar 0,5 cm shorter.
You can choose to hand-stitch the pocket-openings after placing the rods back.

Because on some of the blinds there was just a very small seam-allowance on top I had to attach bias tape to get a 2,5 cm (=1 in) seam to sew the velcro on. I did it with a zigzag stitch which also keeps the fabric from unraveling, since this part won't be visible.
The purpose of the bias tape is not only to help to make a neatly folded seam but also to reinforce the fabric. On the right the finished folded back seam which will be covered by the velcro:

No comments:

Post a Comment