Sewing A Roman Blind

roman blind

roman blind ii

roman blind iii

roman blind iv

This is my first completed project for the #ginghamalong. Huzzah!

Man, this roman blind nearly killed me. The sash window is a mammoth 130 cm wide and with a drop of 175 cm. That’s a heck of a lot of fabric to handle and I spent a lot of my time on my hands and knees on the parquet floor. Back breaking!

roman blind on floorroman blind on floor ii

The project involved many, many trips to the shops for various bits and pieces. I ran out of nylon cord, couldn’t track down a cord cleat, needed screw eyes, staples for my staple gun, a cut-to-measure rod and dowel… The list seemed to go on and on and I was for ever darting out of the door with my purse tucked into my armpit. So, here’s one of my biggest tips if you’re making a roman blind…

Don’t rely on chain DIY retailer centres. They won’t have what you need, or they’ll only sell them in packs of 100, you shan’t be able to find a helpful member of staff and if you do, they won’t know what you’re asking for. They certainly shan’t be able or willing to cut a single piece of wood to a specific length for you. You’ll find yourself listlessly wandering endless aisles, tears tracking down your cheeks, having lost all sense of time, place and self. ‘Who am I? I used to sew, I think. Used to be good. Can someone staple me to this trellis fencing, please? Just put me out of my misery. JUST. DO. IT!’

Instead, I silently thanked the gods that I lived near something as rare as hen’s teeth – a high street with independent traders. My local ironmongers saved me from suicide by trellis fencing! If you’re making a roman blind, find your local independent shop too.

This sounds like a lot of belly aching, and it was at the time. I hand sewed on 48 rings in order to ensure that the blind’s folds wouldn’t sag. (I wasn’t using rods in my folds.) I’ve since been informed of marvellous inventions such as this.

blind rings

blind rings ii

blind rings iii

I followed the Craftsy course on roman blinds (sadly, no longer available) and the teaching was excellent. So is the standard of roman blind. There’s not a single visible stitch from the right side of the blind. Even the dowel rod is hidden behind matching fabric.

dowel rod roman blind

This was a big old project and I’m glad it’s done. But yeah, I love my blinds. They add a great detail to my new office, which I spent four (five?) days redecorating from scratch. An important step, I felt, in the mental preparation for life’s next chapter. A room of one’s own, and all that.

I bet Virginia Woolf never had to climb a stepladder.

Office Instagram Image

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40 Responses to Sewing A Roman Blind

  1. Actually snorted coffee right out of my nose at the Virginia Woolf line…

    The blind looks amazing, well done you!

  2. I love your blinds. I can imagine that the gingham was a challenge to work with considering all that goes into roman shades. Roman shades are one of my favorite home dec projects but, they are quite intimidating. I guess it is the extreme sense of accomplishment felt after all the work that makes it so much fun. At least for me anyway.

  3. Jon says: Check this out, a fantastic kit that has everyting you need to make a roman blind, just add the fabric!! I have used them loads of times and they give a really professional finish to your blinds, and no tears in the DIY store!!!

    • Jenny Lester says:

      I too use Terrys roman blind kits which come complete with everything apart from the fabric and are excellently priced – especially when you add up the cost of all the required elements!! I have used one to make a 2.5m blind which was quite a project!!

  4. Miriana says:

    I feel your pain. I made a vast one for my mum – had to seam it (and bloody pattern match) twice to get the width. The size of the fabric made it such a chore (I had to do it at my parents’ place as only their living room was the only room big enough) as was my 2 year old running all over it while I tried to measure and cut. And the endless boring boring straight seems. And the figuring out the right size of the main fabric and the lining (I’ve got a maths degree and found it super annoying). It’s on my list of something I would happily pay someone else to do.

    • Ha, ha, ha – this rings many bells!

      • Miriana says:

        Only for the woman who looks after my children once a week for 7 years (as well as the full time looking after of me for many more years than that)! And even so, next time, I’ll just front up the money for someone else to have the pleasure.

  5. Well done Karen Love my blinds I made, lots and lots of hand sewing but managed to make 5 roman blinds for my bay window and got pattern to match all the way across too. Not for the faint hearted though. Congratulations on your newly decorated office too,

  6. Tanya says:

    Stupendous blinds! I’ve never got round to making my own; how many hours do you think it took (not including dashing out for supplies)? I’m liking Jon’s idea below I must admit…

  7. fiona jones says:

    I have made several Roman blinds, with varying degrees of success. The longer the blind, the trickier the pleating is to hang well, in my experience.
    There is a helpful company called Merrick and Day that are an Aladin’s cave of supplies, they offer courses, and are helpful on the phone. I think they have a video showing how to use some of their products.

  8. Maaike says:

    I design and sell custom window treatments for a living (please note that I don’t say I actually make them!!), and customers frequently are shocked at the high cost of Roman blinds for large or wide windows. I tell them about the large amount of handwork involved – but in the future I might just direct them to this post instead! And for the record, yours look phenomenal!!!! Every bit as professional and perfectly finished as those produced by our workrooms!!! Go you!!

  9. Allison Graden says:

    Hahahaha! Definitely can relate to the tears in the DIY store!! So frustrating when you have to run out again and again. I have to confess that the Roman blinds that I’ve made where with the ring tape that you just sew on the back. The down side of course is that the stitching shows through to the front of the blind so it usually works best with plain colors or a really busy print.

  10. I’m with Maaike. Folks are always astonished at the cost of custom drapes and blinds. Just because you can get them cheap at Dunelm……
    This blind is lovely.
    I have twelve to make for the new house at least. Not overwhelmed by that prospect. Even less so by the three sets of double door curtains that will be at least 2 – 2.5 widths of fabric per curtain. I think by the end of it I’ll be looking out for trellis and a staple gun too! 😉

  11. Kim says:

    I need this motivation- I have quite a few Windows I’d love to have this treatment on! I’m not a gingham girl, but those look fantastic! 👍

  12. Zoe says:

    These are beautiful, I love the black and white check 🙂

  13. Justine says:

    Well done Karen! The first time is always the hardest but I promise you it does get better! I’ve been making Roman blinds for over 20 years now and the invention of the blind tape has definitely made the task easier. I’m now off to make hand pleated (and mostly hand sewn) curtains for my living room. I’d rather a Roman blind any day!

  14. Ooooh….I love me my gingham and these blinds are gorgeous! So worth the effort, yes?! For years I had small check black and white gingham valances in my kitchen. The black really adds that designer punch!

  15. Anna says:

    OMG your windows are even bigger than mine! And I have to stand on tiptoes on the windowsill to reach the top of mine… Much respect for getting such a nice job done!

  16. JamieLMac says:

    I made a Roman blind too. I hated it! I used rods on mine but made sure to do pockets so I could take them out to wash the whole thing. Your blind looks great! It’s so nice that it’s done. I vowed not to make another.

  17. Lynsey says:

    Oh wow, stunning, I’m a huge gingham fan and your bling is gorgeous, it looks so well made, I think I may have thrown the towel with some of the issues you had.

  18. redsilvia says:

    Well done and you don’t have to do it again! Rest up and enjoy.

  19. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Gorgeous blinds, Karen. Heartiest congratulations! Your new office looks fabulous with these!
    Must admit your para that begins, “Don’t rely on chain DIY retailer centres….” also reminded me of our fabric/craft store centers (across the pond). We are very envious of Blighty’s fabric shops and market stalls.

  20. esewing says:

    Excellent job , Roman blinds are the best and far more labour intensive than they look , as you have discovered , the course you followed must have been good to give you the confidence attempt these in a check fabric !
    Congrats on the redec , the blinds are so stylish you won’t want to redecorate for many years

  21. I made two blinds for our log cabin today and made a proper hash of them, how can they be so difficult? It’s only straight lines, I would honestly rather make a bra!!! So much respect to your classy blind. Jo x

  22. sophie o. says:

    wow! congratulations! after looking at the first pictures, I thought Roman blinds could be great for my sewing room, but since the Cratsy class isn’t available anymore and after reading about all the hard work that went into it, I’m not so sure anymore.. What a great use of gingham fabric!

  23. Angela B says:

    I do love your blind, but the back breaking, knee killing efforts involved in blind/curtain making are the reasons I get them made for me now. Expensive I know, but my body & sanity are a tad more important to me now.

  24. Kathy says:

    Blimey! Well done you for tracking all the bits down. I made my first Roman blind recently but used a kit with all the bits in. I did it to save money but it sounds like the kit route is a heck of a lot easier too. Maybe that’s cheating though?!

  25. Marion says:

    really lovely ! just a quick question : is it lined with black out fabric ?

  26. megan says:

    There is something for being totally ignorant. I made my first Roman blind without a clue, just tried to work it out from looking at blinds. I hand sewed on all those little plastic rings for the cord to go through. Next blind I did with the rod tape as it was two metres wide. I also had to use a step ladder and climb onto the kitchen bench top. They looked fine and did the job well. I did it because I wanted a particular size and colour and I was thrifty, or cheap even. I would love to try a kit I think it sounds idiot proof and I might not have so much unseeing. I think you did very well and I see you had help. A small bright blinking light goes on in my cats head when there is fabric on the floor. You simply have to laugh.

  27. These blinds look great, and I love the black and white checkered look. I think something like that would look great in my house. I do not like how you described the work as back breaking. I am not as young as I once was. I do not think I can handle a job like that. I will have to look around for some places I can buy similar blinds.

  28. Wow, I would never have thought to use gingham to make blinds but it looks really lovely. I love the black gingham. Thanks for the top tips about the tapes and stuff. I have to make a blind for my sewing room very soon and it will come in very handy. Xx

  29. Pingback: Ginghamalong – The Bettine Dress | Did You Make That?

  30. Emma Dennett says:

    Hello, I’m about to begin making 4 (or 9 if I can cope) Roman blinds – I made a mental note of your blog post and came back to it Karen! Is this the tutorial you used? It’s a PDF, now on Bluprint (aka the new Craftsy).

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