There are few things that make me as anxious as Maths.
I dropped the subject in high school and aside from restaurant bills, I barely touch the stuff. And that, fellow makers, is the only con of making your own Roman blinds: the maths. The pros though! They look really stylish, they need to be custom made for each window, and it’s sooo much fun choosing the perfect fabric.
What I also love is that Roman blinds are fairly easy to do for beginner sewers. I had my sewing guru with me guiding me literally step-by-step, but since she’s not a sewing fairy and can’t magically appear everywhere, she let me photograph the process and put together this pretty exhaustive tutorial.
I’ve also created a handy spreadsheet you can download to do all your maths for you. Well… when I say * I * created, I mean my mathematically inclined brother created. But anyway, this helps with a lot of the maths. I’ll get into the details around the numbers a bit later – and granted, this isn’t intimidating for everyone! I am just NOT a numbers person.
This tutorial is based on my window measurements: 149cm wide x 118cm long. I rounded these up to numbers that are easier to work with; 150cm x 120cm.
Here’s a little diagramme to help with the numbers:
You will need
- Meaurements spreadsheet
- Plank – the width of your window, not too wide (mine was 150cm long x 9.5cm wide)
- Pre-washed and ironed fabric – you’ll need to do a little maths here. The fabric must be double the height of your window frame + 4cm per ‘fold’ (I had 3 – so that’s 12cm) + 4cm for the top + 4cm for the bottom. I bought 8m of fabric.
- Matching thread
- 3 x 10mm dowel rods, cut to curtain width (this is to stablise each ‘fold’ and help them hang nicely; I needed 3 – you might need more depending on how many folds you want. You need one rod for the bottom of the curtain for it to hang properly.)
- Velcro, cut to curtain width
- Curtain cord (you’ll need a few metres of this! I got around 30ms)
- No-more nails
- Screw-eyes (I got the #6 size)
- Clear plastic rings (I got clear plastic PVC rings, 16mm)
- Hand-sewing needles
- Decorative curtain cord end
- Curtain loop
NOTE: All seams are 2cm
Because I’m making my curtain in two parts, note that you’ll have to repeat these instructions for the other curtain.
- MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE: Make sure you get your fabric the right length! Wax print fabrics are very narrow, so I did two my curtains in two parts. I also like the freedom that gives you to open parts of the curtain and not the whole thing. The only flaw is that it can have a slight chink in the middle.
Height: height of window + plank height + 4cm top + 4cm bottom + 4cm per ‘fold’ (I did 3, so 12cms)
So mine was: 120 + 9.5 + 4 + 4 + 12 = 152cmWidth: Half of the window width (or the whole window width, depending on your fabric) + 2cm on left + 2cm on right
So mine was: (150/2) + 2 + 2 = rounded up to 85cm
- FOLD AND PIN: Fold fabric in half, right sides facing, and pin the long sides together.
- SEW down both lengths of the curtain and over the top, back tacking at the beginning and end. Leave the short end open – this will be the bottom of your curtain. Turn inside out.
- IRON the seams flat, right side out.
- PIN the soft side of the velcro at the BACK of the curtain, about 1.5cm from the top and sides of the curtain. It’s important to use the soft side of the velcro, because it’s better in the washing machine if you ever need to wash your curtains.
- STITCH the velcro down, as close to the edge as possible, back tacking at the corners to keep the velcro secure. At the corners, keep the needle in the fabric, lift the foot up, and rotate the fabric and put the foot back down. This way you can sew the velcro down in one go.
- FOLDS: Now we’ll be dividing your fabric up into the folds you see when you pull the curtains up. Divide the total length of your curtain by the number of dowel rods you’ll be using (remember you’ll be putting one at the bottom of your curtain).
To work out the panel size between the dowel rods:
152 (total length) MINUS 12 (4 for each dowel rod x 3 number of dowel rods) DIVIDE 3 (number of dowel rods) = panel size
152 – 12 % 3 = 46cm
- Using chalk or a fabric pen, measure out the panel (in this case, 50.6cm from the top). Fold the curtain – towards the front – at the mark you’ve made and stitch down with a 2cm hem. Repeat for each panel. This will make a loop for each dowel rod; this loop must face towards the back of the curtain (the same side as the velcro). FOR THE BOTTOM PANEL: Measure 46.5cm, and not the full 50.6cms – leave room for the hem. Roll the hem in, and stitch down at 2cms.
- Push the dowel rods through the loops you’ve just sewn. They’re supposed to be a little tight but you can wiggle them through.
- HAND STITCH THE PLASTIC HOOPS: On each dowel rod, hand stitch down three of the plastic PVC hoops: ine in the centre, and one 1.5cm from the left side and 1.5cm from the right hand side. See below:
Make sure the hoops line up for each dowel rod.
- Now staple the velcro to the top of the plank , so the plank is hidden by the fabric.
- SCREW the screw hooks into the plank at the points mirroring the plastic loops on the curtains. These you can actually push in by hand – no fancy tools needed. Hold the plastic curtain loops against the wood and make marks so you know where these points are.
- Using no-more nails, stick the plank flush against the top of the window sill wall, with the screw hooks facing down.
- Thread the cord through through the loops.
- Put a decorative end on the cords
- Screw the brass hook into the wall to hang the curtains up
And you’re done!