construction of insulated roman blinds

agmss15March 11, 2012

Hi - I have been making some insulated roman blinds for my house. I am using quilted 'warm window fabri'c. The blinds are amazingly effective. I put the first one up in my bathroom about a month ago. The temps outside the next day at about noon was 14F - inside was 60-65F - between the shade and the window was 6F. Anyway I am having a problem figuring out how to keep the face fabric hanging smoothly on the backing.. First I sew the face fabric and the quilted fabric together right sides together - the turn inside out. I hem the top and bottom. Attach the velcro. I iron on low carefully - the face fabric seems to look nice and flush w/o looking taut. Then I have to sew on the rings - it seems to me when I do this I make the face fabric lie unevenly. I have tried to pin baste the layers together but that doesn't seem to make much difference. I think I really should baste all the layers together. However since there are two layers of mylar in the quilted fabric I want to puncture it as little as possible. Or should I stretch the blinds and handstitch the rings. I love that my new machine will sew on the rings, tie off and cut the thread. The final product isn't awful - just not quite right. They look fine pulled up but not so great down. Any ideas on how to keep the fabrics in place while I attach the rings?

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I'll be interested in seeing any response as I am getting ready to make 'shades' for a number of my own windows!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 11:47PM
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Hi, I make custom fabric shades for a living. My experience has taught me that to get the best result, hand hem the side edges. Cut the face fabric 2" wider on each side, fold over 1" then 1" again, press, and hand hem over the lining. I have never used this "warm window" fabric you mention, but I DO use heavy flannel interlining between the lining and face. I would mark the vertical lines of rings on the back of the shade with a row of hand basting stitches. Top to hem. Your problem may be in the machine sewing of the rings, they may be sewn too tight. As you can guess, I hand sew on all my rings. So if you aren't scared away by now, the upshot is that a good Roman shade is pretty much ALL hand sewn, except for the hem and any joining of widths on a larger shade. I am all for short cuts, believe me, but the finished product that you have to live with is the priority! Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 8:47AM
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Thank you - Patgirls! I was getting ready to cut out a large one and realized that if I am not happy with how a 24X36 is coming out a 55X68 is going to have a really hard time fitting under the arm of my machine. Curious why the side hems need to be handsewn though? Okay - guess its time to rig up some kind of way to handstitch.
New-Beginnings - I am not sure if you are talking insulated or not. The few I finished made a huge difference up here in Maine this winter. And I cannot express how much I dislike all of my mismatched but necessary curtains.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:49AM
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Yep, setting those rings is the hardest part of making roman shades. We used to use a tacker to attach but spent a lot of time on laying them out. And at times it was too much to stuff into the machine, so we'd hand-sew them. We had to use loose rings too, boss didn't like/trust the ring tape. If it was off a fraction from the marked 9", she felt the whole treatment was going to be off square, so no tape. Had to be sure they were perfectly square in both directions, so we laid them out, then checked them vertically and horizontally. It's time-consuming but less so than hanging the shade, taking it down and resetting rings. It seemed that if one was ring off, they all were a little off....

But I'd like to know why you hate your necessary curtains, agmss15? Are you a nudist at heart, or prefer to see more light in your rooms, or are they just all ugly?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 2:24PM
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Ummmm well no I am not really a nudist - not that anyone would notice unless a neighbor drove by at exactly the right moment.

I have a small unfinished cabin that is at the edge of the wood. It's pretty small with a fair number of windows. I just got the window trim done a few years ago - very simply in butternut.

Anyway through a confluence of events moved up here full time very quickly about a year ago in January. Not the best time to arrive in Maine. Needless to say it was really cold - all my miscellaneous curtains got hung up very quickly. They don't match, cover up the windows and the trim and are a real PITA to open. I felt like my house was shrouded in a dress two sizes too big. So even though it's not warm yet and my blinds are coming slowly - curtains are coming down. Hopefully by next winter I will have lovely roman blinds that fit inside the window frame with hand sewn rings carefully placed.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 4:54PM
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Oh, I will actually be using Warm Windows myself, not so much for the cold (I live near the Texas Gulf Coast) but for the summer heat! I have three windows that face West, and there is NOTHING in my yard to cast some shade on those windows!

Of course, we do have a few cold days in winter so they will help then also.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 12:12AM
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New-beginning - I got interested in making these blinds last August. A friend of mine closed her blinds in the heat of the day in order to keep her house cool. It worked amazingly well. Fewer people have A/C here. So that and putting up all my mismatched curtains again last fall got me started. Hopefully you will proceed faster than I have...


    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 10:52AM
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