As you know, we moved house back in May of this year. I have been wanting to get on with the soft furnishings in the house for a while now and recently decided it was the turn of the kitchen/diner to get some and attention in the window department.
We inherited the very functional but frankly, very dull, dark grey roller blinds in every window in the house and the kitchen and dining room were no different. Granted, they serve a purpose but I hate roller blinds. Particularly when they are fitted in the window recess so you can’t put things on the window sills… I like the odd plant or photo frame on mine.
So, I decided to have two sets of curtains for the two dining room windows and a Roman blind for the kitchen window. Easy. My fabric choice was Cath Kidston’s reddy pink and white polka dot cotton duck. I’ve made simple curtains before so decided to do the same this time, just add a lining and try to get some better gather action going along the top of the curtain. So far so good.
The Roman blind never seemed that easy. So why oh why I ended up trying to make it I’m not sure! After costing up the price of getting someone else to make it for me (an experienced, seamstress who MAKES ROMAN BLINDS EVERYDAY), encouragement from friends and colleagues, and ample research on Pinterest and You Tube, I thought, why not try myself? How hard can it be?
Let’s just pause there. How hard can it be? Exact measuring of two pieces of fabric, drilling a baton to a wall, threading 15 eyelets and screw eyes… thinking back, that actually sounds quite tricky!
My window is fairly wide – 180cm – by 110cm drop. I went in to my local home furnishing shop and was assisted by a lovely lady with all my measurements, cord purchasing, eyelet choosing etc. I was emboldened by YouTube films of blokes with staple guns and drills making blinds, of bloggers like me quickly whipping up a blind in an hour. What I didn’t take into account was all of their blinds were tiny in width. and the majority of them used dowel rods for batons on each fold. Oh.
So onto the fabric of the blind. I measured and checked and measured my outer and lining fabric before cutting. I carefully machine sewed them together, turned inside out and hand sewed the last few centimetres, adding a wooden baton in the bottom. At this point I’m still thinking this is easy..
So far so good. It looked fairly square and fitted the window.
Next step, I measured my fabric and working with my measurements given by lovely blind making lady, sewed on my eyelets at the correct intervals.. five eyelets per row, three rows. It was looking good. I felt confident. Meantime, husband has cut a wooden baton, drilled it to the wall, screwed screw eyes in at corresponding intervals to my eyelets with one at the end, on the right hand side where we would feed all the cord through.
Velcro in hand, I velcroed the top of the blind, husband velcroed the baton on the wall. We stuck the two together. It looked AMAZING!! Together we threaded the eyelets through each section, up over the baton and through and down the right hand side. We tested the bottom section. All good. It was nearly done.
And then we pulled the cords… Oh. Big oh. Big fat oh. What is going on with these blinking folds??!??
Disappointed. I’d read quite a few blogs and guides on making Roman blinds, they all warned that if you don’t use dowel rods the folds won’t automatically hold. We tried for ages to get them to fold in the right way, coaxing the fabric into place. I even got my iron out and attempted to steam them into place but we just couldn’t stop the big bunchy, mess in the middle. So we gave up and called it a night.
You’ve probably noticed in the first photo I’ve posted it’s dark outside and the one above it’s daytime. Well, I slept on it, kept the blind up and went back to it the day after to try and fix my misshapen folds. However, the fabric had different ideas.
I think there are two main problems. 1) not enough eyelets to take the weight of the fabric and 2) eyelets not close enough to the edge of the vertical edge of the blind. So, I have taken the blind down, cut off all the eyelets and taken out all of the cord. I have also purchased three dowel rods to add to the blind if I can’t get the eyelets to work on their own.
My plan of action is to visit my friendly blind lady tomorrow to get some advice and then try again… Keep your fingers crossed and eyes peeled for Roman blind making – Part 2.