You know those DIYs that you get to about 98% completed, and then they sit and sit? This relaxed roman blind was one of those. It was already hung and perfectly functional in Bub’s room, but I just needed to do one final step for it to be completed. Basically a year down the line, I finally did it and it took a maximum of 5 minutes. I laugh at myself every time it happens, yet I know that it’ll happen again!
Our nursery room is quite small, so we needed to use space wisely. Having a relaxed roman blind seemed like the best option, as it tucks away nicely and still feels soft. With some advice from Hanja from Onyx & Fair, I got to making my own. I followed a few basic tutorials online, but ended up spending the better part of at least two days planning it all out with my mom, while about 39 weeks pregnant I might add! Hopefully I can save you a bunch of that time though. This DIY is not the simplest or quickest that I’ve done, but I’m still really pleased with the result and think that it was worth it.
Relaxed Roman Blind with blockout
Basic overview: This relaxed roman blind is made from two layers of fabric with a strip of velcro along the top. A strip of wood is attached to the wall, above the window frame, with the other side of the velcro. The blind is then hung by simply connecting the velcro. If needed, the blind part can be easily taken off to wash. Since our window is wide, this design is made to have a double drape. I.e. It has three cords pulling it up, one on each side and one in the middle. You can adapt the basic principals shown here to your own window size.
We added a blockout lining, to try help eek out any extra bits of sleep after sunrise that we could and it works really well!
Having struggled to find instructions online for exactly what I wanted, and having spent so long figuring out all the details, I’ve tried to be as detailed as I can in the instructions. It makes for a long post, but hopefully a helpful one!
Before you start, calculate your dimensions:
Before buying fabric, you need to figure out the dimensions of your blind. Start by measuring the width and height of your window frame. This tutorial is based on the size of our large window (width:168cm x height:128cm). Take your time and make sure that you get your calculations correct. If you get stuck, feel free to ask for help!
Lining (blockout fabric)
W = your window frame width; H = your window frame height.
The lining will not have folded over seams, rather the main front fabric will be folded around the lining. This means that your lining will be cut to the size of your final blind dimensions.
Final blind width: Add on about 6cm on either side of W to allow the blind to go over the sides of your window frame.
Final blind width = 168cm (use your W) + 12cm (to go over sides of window) + 1 cm (top mini seam) = 181cm
(Our blind was set in front of the window frame. If you’d like your blind inside the window frame, then you’ll need to make your blind just slightly narrower than the window frame. Just bear in mind that this may not cut out as much light, as more light may creep around the edges.)
Final blind height: Add sufficient height above the window frame to ensure you won’t be drilling into the lintel when installing the blind. (For us, that was 13cm) Add another couple cm below the blind, for it to hang down over the window frame. (For us, that was 8cm)
Final blind height = 128cm (use your H) +13 cm (amount above window frame) + 8cm (amount below frame) = 149cm
Since the main front fabric will be folded over around the lining, seam allowances need to be added on. I made 3 cm seams, that were folded over twice. I.e. 6cm is added per seam for each side and for the bottom.
Front fabric width = 181cm (use your final blind width) + 12cm (6cm on either side, for seams) = 193cm
Front fabric height = 149cm (use your final blind height) + 6cm (for bottom seam) + 1cm (for top mini seam) = 156cm
You will need 3 pieces of blind cord. Each one will attach near the bottom of the blind, run up to the top of the blind, through a pulley roller, along the top of the blind, through the far right (or left) pulley roller (or lock) and then hangs down the side of the blind for pulling.
Total Cord length = (final blind height x 6) + (Final blind width x 1,5)
What you need:
Click on the links included if you are unsure what the item is and need to see a picture. These are affiliate links, but it does not change the price for you at all.
Fabric for blind, according to calculations above + additional fabric to cover the wooden strip. Find a fabric that is soft enough to drape a little, but firm enough that it can hold its shape while you’re working with it. I used 100% cotton.
100% blockout fabric, according to calculations above.
Good quality scissors
Cotton tape, enough to run the width of your blind (optional)
18 Blind rings
Blind cord, according to calculations above
3 Cord Pulley Rollers or if you cannot find them, eyelet hooks will do (Only 2 needed if you are using a blind lock, see below)
1 Wall cleat (or to prevent having to wind the blind cords to hold the blind up you can get one of these blind locks. This is the ideal solution, but I was unable to find locally.)
Velcro, final blind width
Blind tassel (the wooden end thingy, not a decorative tassel)
1 Wooden strip, final blind width x ~6cm x ~1.8cm)
Glue suitable for fabric (optional, adds as a double adhesive with the staples)
4 Wall plugs and screws, 6cm
~7mm dowel, to run the full width of the blind.
Many of these items can also be purchased together in a little kit. Not all the parts will be used, but it still seems to work out cheaper.
What to do:
These instructions may well get quite wordy. Take them step by step and keep referring back to this diagram if you get lost. Since step photos only show a section of the blind, you can always assume that the top of the blind is at the top of the picture.
1. Cut your fabric to the calculated sizes. Lay the fabric out on the ground and gently make sure it’s all straight.
2. (Optional) 10cm from the bottom of your lining, sew a piece of cotton tape along the width of the blockout lining, on the back/wrong side of the lining. It will end up hidden between the two layers of the blind. The tape is there to provide a little extra support for the bottom row of rings, as these rings will carry the weight of the blind when it is being raised.
If using blockout fabric it can leave a line of dots when the sun shines through. Mine has a sewn line, but it is not at all visible when the blind is pulled up in the day and at night no light is shining through anyway. Another option would be to just add a small piece of fabric to reinforce the area where the bottom middle ring will be sewn.
3. Lay both the lining and front fabric out on a large flat surface, right sides facing each other (as if it’s inside out). Make sure the lining fabric is centred horizontally on the front fabric, i.e. the top edges are flush, and there are 6cm of extra front fabric on the left and the right. Pin and tack them together along the top and then stitch them, 1cm from the top.
Tip: Pinning and tacking gives a much better result, even though it is a pain to do.
4. Turn the fabric to be right sides facing out. Pin along the top seam (sewn in Step 3). Pin it so that the “front fabric” sticks out a few mm above the lining fabric (see image below). This ensures that when the blind is hung up the lining fabric is not at all visible along the top.
5. Tack along the top to secure it and iron it.
6. Fold in your side seams. There should be 6cm of plain “front fabric” down each side. Fold this in half and then fold it over the lining fabric. This should leave you with a seam where you cannot see the raw edge and no lining fabric has been folded. Pin well to secure.
7. Sew the top and both side seams with a straight stitch down the inside edge of the seam.
8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the bottom of the blind. To make the corners fold in easier, cut out any extra fabric from the side seam and then fold it in slightly before doing the folding up. Pin and sew the bottom seam. Sew only along the long, top edge of the seam, creating a pocket in the seam (this is where the dowel will go). Do not sew the seam closed along the short sides yet.
9. Slide the dowel inside the bottom seam. The dowel should be only slightly shorter than the width of the blind. Just short enough to allow you to hand sew the short edges of the seam closed now, with the dowel inside. The dowel acts to give the blind a solid base and not pull in when it’s raised.
10. Cut a piece of velcro the width of the blind. Pin it to the top of the blind, on the back/lining side and sew around the edges.
11. The last step with the actual blind is to add the rings. All rings are sewn on to the back of the blind, the lined side. The bottom row of rings is what the cord is actually attached too. When the cord gets pulled this is what will be raised and will gather up the rest of the blind as it goes. The rest of the rings are there to guide the cord. For the relaxed roman blind shape, each drape is created by a ring.
For this blind’s height I used 6 rings on each side and 6 down the middle. I.e 3 columns, 6 rows (see diagram at the start of the steps). It is important that the rings are in straight rows to prevent lobsided drapes.
Sew side rings along the stitch line of the seam. Starting from the bottom, the bottom ring is sewn on 10 cm from the bottom (sewn to the cotton tape). Sew it by hand, doing a few backstitches and then going through the fabric and around the ring a couple times, followed by a few more backstitches to secure the thread tightly.
12. The next 5 rings are sewn equal distances apart and leaving the same distance above the top ring, as the roller (sewn to the wood strip) acts as a ring too. Distance apart = (Final height – 10cm) ÷ 6 = (149 – 10) ÷ 6 = 23cm
(Remember, 6 as there’s 5 rings and 1 roller)
13. Repeat the same process on the other side seam and then up the middle of the blind.
14. Tie a piece of the cord securely to the bottom ring. Thread it up through the 5 rings above it. Leave enough cord at the top to run along the top of the blind and back down the other side of the blind. Repeat this for the other two columns of rings, using separate pieces of cord.
15. Cover your strip of wood with matching fabric. Wrap it up neatly, like a gift and secure with a staple gun. This wood will not be hugely visible, so don’t worry too much about getting it perfect. You will also be able to cover quite a few of the staples with the velcro later. (Or, if you prefer, you can simply paint the wood to match.)
Remember: The length of the strip of wood should match the final width of your blind. The blind is going to be attached to the wood.
16. Each column of rings now needs a corresponding roller or lock above it, attached to the wood strip. The roller should be attached to the underside of the wood strip (see image below), in line with where the rings will be once the blind is attached. I.e. If the column of rings are 3 cm in from the edge of the blind, the centre of the roller should be 3cm from the edge of the wood strip.
If using a lock, attach this (instead of a roller) on the side where you would like the cords to hang down.
Tip: Cut small crosses in the fabric where you need to screw, so that the screw doesn’t pull threads in the material (as much).
17. Mark 4 points along the front length of the wood strip.These will be used to screw the plank onto the wall. The outer most points should be about 6cm from the ends to keep the wood tightly against the wall. Cut a small cross through the fabric, as in the previous step.
Drill holes through these marks. Hold the wood strip up to the wall and use it as a guide to mark where the holes should be drilled into the wall. Remember to leave enough space above the window to avoid drilling into the lintel.
18. Attach the other side of the velcro to the wood strip with glue (optional) and a generous amount of staples. You want it to be relatively flush with the top of the wood strip, so that the wood does not poke up above the blind. It’s fine if this now covers over the holes you’ve drilled. The screws should be able to go through the velcro.
19. Drill the holes into the wall, add your wall plugs and then screw the wood strip onto the wall.
20. Phew, almost there!! Stick the velcro together, attaching the blind to the wood strip. Thread your cord through the rollers and lock.
21. Finally, thread all the cords through a tassel and tie them together.
Test out your brand new home made relaxed roman blind. You sure can be proud of yourself!!
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