"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stringing Up a Roll Shade

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this or not, but when I was a kid, my mom worked for an interior designer. She sewed all kinds of commissioned stuff... Roman shades, bolsters, bedspreads, stuff like that.

I didn't help out much, but I did learn how to string up a shade with cord and some eye hooks. What I've done in two of the girls' rooms is much simpler than anything my mom ever did and it certainly doesn't hang as nice as her creations, but it's functional and simple and, most importantly, I like it.

Also, if you're interested, there's more info about the embroidery and design here.


After I did the curtain in Joey's room, I made the mistake of mentioning that these are pretty easy to make. ;) Well, they are fairly easy for shades (especially if you leave them unlined like I did for Joey's- here and here), but apparently, I had a bit of amnesia about the difficulty level, because this was more complicated than I remember.


They're also surprisingly difficult to describe how to make (because I'm totally uptight about including every little detail in stuff like this). But, since I've had a request for a tutorial for these, I'll give it a shot. Please let me know if anything is unclear or if you have any questions what so ever.

Materials and Tools
-A piece of fabric already lined and sewn to the right width of the window, but longer than the heigth of the window by at least a foot. (Basically, I put the two pieces right sides together and sewed them along the sides, not top or bottom, then flipped them right side out and ironed) This would be so much easier if you could find a really thick piece of fabric that looks good on both sides and doesn't fray when cut (For the unlined version in Joey's room I just ironed the edges back on itself and attached with that iron-on fusible stuff- this was before I had a sewing machine.).
-A 1 x 2 piece of wood, cut to the width of the window (should fit inside the sill)
-2 inch long wood screws (4 or 5 depending on width of window)
-3 screw in hook eyes
-Cord (Length should equal 4 times the height of the window plus 2 times the width of the window plus a couple of feet) This will be cut into two pieces, but you'll want to do a dry run like in step E) to figure out where to cut.
-Wooden closet rod cut to width of window with edges sanded (looks like a giant dowel with a diameter of an inch or two)
-Hot Glue Gun
-1 Cord Pull
-1 Cleat

Abbreviated Simple Version of Tutorial (which is probably good enough for most normal people)
A) Wrap top of fabric around the 1 x 2 and staple.
B) Hot glue bottom of fabric around closet rod.
C) Staple cord to top of 1 x 2.
D) Attach hook eyes on underside of 1 x 2.
E) Run cord down from staples (1), down front of fabric, around rod (2), through hook eyes (3) and out the hook eye on the side of the curtain (4). Repeat with other bit of cord.
F) Attach to inside of window.
G) Attach cord pull and cleat.

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Version for those who prefer a more anal retentive explanation
-Basically, what I did is to first attach the 1 x 2 to the sill with the 1 inch front edge just flush with the wall. (I always drill pilot holes first before I attach screws) It's much easier to get this all lined up now, when there's nothing hanging from it.
-Now remove the screws and the wood. On the ends of the wood, mark which side is top and which is front and left and right so when you reattach it later, everything will still line up, which, you know, is a good thing.

A) Wrap top of fabric around the 1 x 2 and staple.
-Lay out the fabric right side down on a big flat surface (most likely the floor) and at the top of the fabric (double check to make sure the pattern is how you want it), lay down the 1 x 2 with the left and right on the correct sides (well, as you're looking at the back of it, the left will be on the right and vice versa, but imagine looking at it from the front and how the board should be).
-The board should be a couple inches from and parallel to the top edge of the fabric. The top part of the board should be facing up and the front part of the board should be closest to the edge of the fabric.
-Wrap the small bit of fabric up onto the 1 x 2, making sure it's parallel all along the length of the board.
-Staple it down.
-Now if you leave the board still and pull the length of unattached fabric up and over the board, pulling taut as you go, you'll see exactly how this will hang when it's mounted.
-Staple along the top again. (The board should now be completely covered except for the ends)
-Feel along the board to find the pilot holes under the fabric (for mounting). Poke into those with the awl and wiggle it around. Now use some sharp scissors to open this up just a bit. If you're worried about the fabric fraying, you can put some fray check (or even watered down white glue) around the hole first and cut it after it's dried.
-Do this all along both sides of the holes. You're doing this so that when you screw it to the sill, the fabric doesn't catch and tear.

B) Hot glue bottom of fabric around closet rod.
-This is the most fiddly part (especially if it's lined).
-I found it helpful to use watered down white glue as a temporary hold to get things started. I painted it on and smoothed the fabric against the wood, pulling it even as I went.
-When it's dry, roll the rod up the fabric just to the point where you want it to hang when the shade is completely lowered.
-Make a mark on the backside of the fabric just where the rod makes contact with the fabric. (point 5 on the diagram)
-Unroll the rod a half inch or so and draw a line from the mark all the way across the width. This is your hot glue line.
-Put hot glue on line and roll rod back up to make contact, keeping taut (I had to do this in sections).

C) Staple cord to top of 1 x 2. (This is spot 1 on the diagram)
-Decide where you want the two cords to be, measure so they're evenly spaced from the sides and mark the spots with a pencil on top of the fabric covered 1 x 2. Make sure that neither of these overlaps where you've already got the holes drilled.
-Lay one end of the cord on the spot and staple it to the wood about a half an inch from the back side.
-Fold that piece over on itself and staple again (in the middle of the wood).
-If you want, you can staple it down one more time right next to the front edge of the wood. (This ensures that it hangs at the right place when you attach it to the window frame.)

D) Attach hook eyes on underside of 1 x 2.
-You'll want to put one each, exactly on the underside from where you just stapled the cord (spots 3 on the diagram). Plus, put another one just at the edge of the 1 x 2, on the side where you want the pull cord to be (spot 4 on the diagram).
-I started the holes with an awl and wiggled it around in there pretty good until it was the right size for the hook eyes to screw into without tearing the fabric.

E) Run cord from staples (1) down front of fabric, around rod (2), through hook eye (3) and out the hook eye on the side of the curtain (4). Repeat with other bit of cord.

F) Attach to inside of window.
-This is a lot easier with a friend (or two).
-I found it easiest to first partially screw all the screws into the 1 x 2, just so their tips are sticking out a smidge on the top side of the board. It makes it easier to line them up with the holes that you drilled earlier.
-Once it's all lined up, all you need to do is finish screwing them all in.

G) Attach cord pull and cleat.
-After everything is all hung up, run the ends of the cord through a cord pull.
-Tie a tight knot in the cord.
-Cut the cord off just under the knot; the pull will sit on this knot.
-Attach cleat to wall with 2 screws (either inside window frame or on wall next to window).

Now I would like to mention that this may or may not (probably not) be the best method of making a roll up shade for your windows. Curtains that pull to the side would be easier and might look nicer, depending on your fabric and the style you're after. But, these give nice clean lines when they're hanging down and add a feeling of softness when they're rolled up. Also, I didn't need as much fabric as I would otherwise (which honestly is why I figured this out the first time in Joey's room because the fabric I'd bought was the last they had in the store and it wasn't enough to do a regular slide to the side type curtain).

1 comment:

Wendy said...

If you're interested in seeing the comments from the original post, you can check them out here.