Roman blind tutorial...

Monday, 26 January 2015
How tricky can it be?...

I posted a picture on Instagram last week showing a Roman blind I made for my bathroom and it got a whole lotta love (likes)! I was very appreciative of this, as I always am but particularly this one as it has been something I have been very nervous about making. 

First of all I was tempted by the tutorial in 'The Great British Sewing Bee' book but it wanted you to put the channels for the dowels into the blind by sewing pin tucks into the lining. The maths worried me and I needed a super simple tutorial to start me off so, after a lot of time on Pintrest, I went for this one on the 33 Shades of Green Blog

This one suggested making separate pockets, that you stitch on afterwards, for the dowels and I thought this would take away the scary maths calculations. 

I'm not sure I would do the pockets again, for various reasons. I'll get to that later... 

If in doubt, stripe it out...
So I have the tutorial I want, I have the measurements, now for the fun part, choosing the fabric. I knew I wanted a stripe (I always want a stripe) and after a little nosey around old faithful, Dunelm, I decided on the one in the picture above. At £11.99 per metre I was happy with the quality and the price. The total cost of this blind (with some old bits of wood from the garage for fixtures) came to around £40, which considering the cost of custom made Roman blinds I thought was pretty reasonable. 

So, on with the make. As usual I'm not going to do a step by step guide as the tutorial I have linked is great but I hope you will read this before you do it and learn from my mistakes.

After measuring my fabric to the required length the tutorial asks you to iron a 2 inch hem  along the sides and bottom of both the front (patterned) fabric and the lining...

... what I particularly liked about this tutorial was these mitred corners. I had never seen this before and I'm not sure when else you could use this method and what for but look how neat and tidy these corners are! 

 Later on in the project you will use these tidy corners as little envelopes for a weighty piece of wood for the bottom of the blind. I didn't realise this until that point in the instructions and I'm not sure why, but I thought it was really neat! 

Once you have ironed down 2 inch hems along the sides and bottom of the two pieces of fabric lay them on top of each other, wrong sides together.

Little tip here; lay them out and pin them. Corners first, then the middle of each side. Make sure you pull the lining fabric pretty taut. I think my lining was a little saggy. This wasn't really a problem but I think if the lining was tighter it would look more professional. Now, pin pin pin, and when you think you have pinned enough pin some more. I'm a lazy pinner and this was not a good trait to have on this project, I'll get to that in a little while.    

Now you are at the point where you have to make long pockets for your dowels. There are some clever measurements that you need to follow for this part and the linked tutorial tells you all of that. But this is where I made some mistakes and after this I'm sure I would think again about whether to make the channels through the pin tuck method rather than these pockets. 

The major issue with this method is the ability to stitch in a straight line. I thought I was pretty good at this but lazy pinitus got me again. 

So the pockets look all lovely and straight here but...

I didn't pin enough (again!!!!) and I went a bit skewiff :-(

Now, this isn't the biggest problem for these blinds, as I do not intend to have them drawn and I only went wonky on the last pocket. As you have to stitch through both pieces of material you can see the top stitching on the front of the blind. Therefore, if you intend to draw the blinds, take my advice and pin pin and pin again so that your channels are super duper straight!

The tutorial gives you some suggestions about how to fit the blind to a baton. I didn't have a staple gun so I used drawing pins, not perfect but fine. It also suggests that you fit the blind to the baton above the window with Velcro but the blind was far too heavy so it ended up being drilled. 

So here it is in situ and as I said previously you can't see the wonky stitching when it is open but when it's closed it doesn't look so great. 

Next time I would definitely go with the pintuck option. For 1. If my top stitching is poor it doesn't matter so much and 2. The maths isn't as scary now I look at it again. 

I'm hoping to make another one of these blinds for the landing window in the near future. That window is much bigger than this one so I'm glad I had a practice run first. I'll no doubt blog about that project and hopefully you will see an improvement. 

All in all I am very happy with the finished result and I am glad that I took the plunge into the scary world of window dressing.

Do it! I'm sure you'll be fine.

Amy x

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