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Monday, May 18, 2015

Rustic Charm Bedroom - Mini blinds to Roman Shades

Check out this update about Roman Shade construction after you read this post.
(Update 11/19/2015)

Still working on Ashlee's room! 
Today I want to talk about her window covering. 
Ashlee's window is now surrounded by my new built ins, including the arch over the top.  The window coverings is an opportunity to add color and softness against the white hardness of the built ins. There is only about 2 inches on either side of the window so I decided that I didn't want curtains.  I wanted roman blinds that could pull up behind the arch and not block much light when they were drawn.  That being said, I went on the search for my fabric which I knew had to have teal and coral colors in it.  I found the perfect material, went to the cutting table and they only had a little more than one yard!!  That was not going to be enough.  And as luck would have it, this fabric could not be ordered; stores sometimes just receive a bolt or two.  After locating only one other store and driving 30 minutes I was successful in purchasing all the fabric I needed for the Roman blind and a pillow.  I may or may not have done a happy dance in the store!! I bought it on sale, so it ended up costing me about $25. 
 (If you want to know I bought it at JoAnn's and it was referenced as Brnd JQ Cttillion Calypso.
 I have made roman blinds before but didn't like having to put a cleat on the wall, so I decided to try the new fad of making a roman blind with a mini blind.

I searched the web and found all kinds of tutorials on how to do this.  As usual I followed a combination of the tutorials and added my own ideas.  
So here is what "I" did!
Let's start with what you will need.

Material of your choice
Lining Material
Mini Blind (new)
Fabric Glue
Straight Pins 
Sewing Machine
Needle and Thread

Most tutorials base your measurement off your inside window dimensions. I wanted mine to lay on the outside of the window, so I based it off of where I wanted the finished blind to hang. For me, that was 56" long by 49" wide. Cut your fabric about 3" inches wider and about 6 inches longer. I cut mine 62" by 52".
  My fabric was not wide enough so I had to piece it.  I will talk about that in a minute.  I also wanted to line my blind.  I cut the lining material the width and length of my finished blind, 56" by 49".  Once I had my piece the right size I ironed out the wrinkles and laid them on the floor. Blind fabric face down with the lining on top; good side up.
  (Hope that makes sense.)
Center the fabric so about 1 1/2" of the blind fabric is exposed on both sides and across the top.  There should be about 4" extra across the bottom.  Fold the blind fabric over the lining on all edges, except the bottom, enclosing the unfinished edges and pin it in place.

Next, I marked every 8 inches with a pin. I started from the bottom of the lining material.
  (Warning you may have to do some math to get your section's to end up evenly.)

I then placed a straight edge (my level) between the pins on either side and drew a line.   I then place several straight pins along this line to secure the lining to the top fabric.  

Here is where I went out on my own. Most tutorials say to just glue the edges in place.  I am a sewer and felt they would be better sewn.  I also wanted the lining to be secured to the front fabric.  So I took my carefully pinned blind to the sewing machine and sewed all around the three sides and across each line I had drawn across the blind.
While I am talking about sewing, let's revisit how I pieced the fabric together to make it wide enough.  I very carefully pinned the two pieces together making sure to line up the flowers and sewed them together. 
 Can you see the seam in the photo below?

Once I was done sewing I took my fabric and laid it back on the floor the same way.  Next I laid my mini blinds on top of the fabric.  Let me make a side note about the mini blinds. I have had lots of mini blinds over the years in my kids bedrooms.  They do not last very long.  They are inexpensive for a reason.  The slats break and the mechanism eventually fails.  Ours average 5-8 years. I did not want to go to all this work and have the mechanism fail, so I bought NEW mini blinds. I know you are freaking out that I actually bought something new!!  But it does happen sometimes!!
I pretty much followed all the tutorials from here on out.  

Photo from allParenting

Pull the strings and extend the mini blinds all the way out.  Cut the strings that control the angle of the blinds.  It looks like a ladder.  It is very important not to cut the thicker cord that actually lifts the blinds up and down. Pop the plugs out of the bottom weighted bar and pull out the strings and untie the knots.  This allows you to pull the weighted bar off and most of the slats. The top bar is lined up with the top of the fabric and one slat every 8 inches. 

Then re-install the bottom bar by threading the cord back through it and tying knots.  I did not put the plugs back in, I just threw them away.  Once everything is lined up and in place, run a line of fabric glue down each slat and press to the fabric for a minute.  Stop applying the glue just before and after the cord on all slats, so the cord is still free to move.  I started at the top gluing the top bar first and each slat in secession till I reached the bottom.  I then glued and wrapped the extra fabric around the bottom bar.  Trim the material if necessary.  Let the whole thing dry for a few hours. 
 (Resist the temptation to pick it up and see how it fits! I was strong and resisted!!)
Once dry, you can use the mini blind instructions and install the new blind. 
 Here are a few more tips.
1.  When gluing the top bar, stop the glue about 2 inches from the ends so you can install the top bar into the brackets. Also I glued the blinds face down and then cut a small hole to allow the pull cords to exit on the front of the blind.  I knew this would be hidden by the built in arch and really wanted the cords to hang down the front for ease of use.  
2. I did not have much room to install the brackets.  In fact my smallest drill would not fit if I install it from the front.  I had to install the brackets from the sides.  In order to get them in the right position I had to add blocks first and then install the brackets to the blocks.

3.  Because I chose to have my blinds rest over the window as oppose to inside the window, I couldn't find the right sized mini blinds.  I just bought the blinds that would fit in the window and then had the fabric extend about an inch past each slat.  It doesn't affect the functionality of the blind and you can't tell from the front.
4.  All the tutorials showed the slats in different orientations.  It seamed it didn't matter how the slat and cord went.  I am here to tell you it does.  Mine have the cord passing behind the the blind and then out the slat.  
That is wrong!!!
It works but sometimes catches when you pull the blind up and down.  If I do it again, I will make sure the cord enters the slat and then exits out the back against the fabric.  

OK enough talking!!!
Here how it looks.

This photo shows the blinds partially drawn open.  When fully drawn you can see only about 5 or 6 inches of the blind.  You can see I added the cute orange pompom trim.  I added this after it was hanging to get it in the right placement.  I just used a needle and thread and sewed it by hand.  

Here is what it looks like with the blinds closed.  

I am happy with the way these turned out.  
They give Ash privacy at night, and let in full light during the day. 
 They also add color, softness and    .  
It was actually really easy and I would do this again!!
What do you think?  
Do you have experience with making roman blinds out of mini blinds?

I am getting close to finishing this room, just a few more projects!!

Thanks for stopping by.

Update about Roman Blind construction.


bsurrounded said...

You're amazing. The fabric is so cute and the perfect window covering for that wall.

pbrenner said...

Those shades turned out beautiful, how wonderful to find enough fabric! The built ins are marvelous - a very high end look, thank you so much for bringing us along on the journey :-)


Unknown said...

I've always liked the look of these types of blinds that bunch up together in layers when pulled up. That look is really fun and adds a different feel and texture to any room. In a lot of ways, it breaks up the monotony of a plain white wall.