Blinds are becoming a very popular alternative window dressing to a pair of curtains (drapes). The styles of blind described here, although made using very similar techniques, create very different effects. Choose the softly ruched Austrian blind for a pretty, feminine window treatment and the smartly pleated Roman blind for a room with a modern decor.
Use a light or medium weight fabric to make an Austrian blind, anything from lightweight voile or sheer to standard cotton curtain fabric will be suitable. Avoid heavy brocades and hand woven cottons, as these are too thick to drape well. You will need a special type of track to hang and mount the blind; this is known as Austrian blind track, and is widely available.
A Roman blind, on the other hand, will benefit from being made in a reasonably substantial fabric. You can line this type of blind if you wish, to add body to the pleats and also to retain the warmth of a room. You need a batten (furring strip) and angle irons to mount the blind. Use strips of touch and close fastener to hold the blind in place on the batten. An Austrian blinds are mounted in much the same way, with the cords threaded through rings attached to the track.
MAKING A ROMAN BLINDS
- Cut out the fabric. Turn, pin and stitch double 12 mm or 1/2 in side hems. Turn, pin and then machine stitch a double 2.5 cm/1 in hens along the top of the fabric. Press all the hems.
- Pin and stitch a strip of Roman blind tape close to the side edge, turning under 9 cm at the top. Stitch another strip along the remaining edge, then attach further strips at intervals across the blind, 25-30 cm/10-12 in apart.
- At the bottom of the blind, turn over 9mm or 1/8 in and press, then turn over a further 5 cm/2 in to enclose the ends of the tape. Pin and stitch the hem close to the inner fold, leaving the sides open.
- Stitch narrow tucks across the width of the blind to correspond with alternate rows of loops or rings on the tape. Make the first tuck level with the second row of loops or rings from the bottom of the blind. To make the tucks, fold the fabric with the wrong sides facing, and stitch 3mm or 1/8 in from the fold.
CALCULATING FABRIC REQUIREMENTS
To calculate the length, measure the window drop, add 14 cm/ 4I/2 in for hem allowances and a little extra for the horizontal tucks. For the width, measure the window and add 6 cm/ 2 in for side hems. You will need sufficient strips of Roman blind strip to position at 25-30 cm/10-12 in intervals across the width of the blind. Each strip should be the length of the Hind plus 12/1/2 in; make sure there is a loop or ring12 mm/1/2 in up from the bottom of each strip so that they will match across the blind.
Attach the blind to the top of the batten with strips of touch and close fastener. Cut each length of cord to twice the length of the Hind plus the distance of the right-hand edge. Thread each cord through the loops in the tape. Knot each length securely on the bottom loop and thread the other end through the corresponding screw eyes on the batten, ending with all the cord ends on the right hand side of the blind. Knot the cords at the top, cut the ends off level and knot them again.