Hand Made Window Curtains

Annie Holdens Hand Made Costswold Window Blind


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Roman Blinds

Which kind of Roman blind?


Roman blinds can be unlined, lined or interlined, depending on the role they are expected to play and, of course, your budget.

Roman blinds can be fitted either inside or outside the window recess.   If fitted inside the recess, the top pleat will obscure at least 12cm of the top of the window and if this would block out too much light, it might be better to fit the blind outside the window aperture.   To fit a blind outside the recess you will need at least 10cm above the window and at least 5cm either side and below the sill.

Roman blinds tend to look better if they are longer than they are wide and a solution to a wide window might be two or even three blinds side-by-side.

Stripes lend themselves naturally to Roman blinds but an oversized floral design can make a wonderful dramatic statement.


Unlined Roman blinds

Unlined blind imageUnlined blinds are the cheapest option.   They do an excellent job of cutting down unwanted glare and will protect furnishings to some degree from light damage.   They will also shut out the night on dark evenings although they do not provide complete privacy.

The pockets for the rods are usually sewn into the face fabric, so additional fabric will have to be allowed for this.   We usually allow an extra 2cm for each rod although, to match a check for example, we may increase this slightly.  


Alternatively, when rod pockets would spoil the look of a pattern, it is possible to use blind rod tape which is sewn to the reverse of the face fabric and which provides a casing for the rod.

Unlined blinds can look wonderful in a conservatory or sun-room; as well as cut down the heat, they add a softness that helps catch the echoes.   Totally plain, in a fine cotton or linen, they can dim the light and help prevent heat build-up in the summer.

Unlined blinds, however, do deteriorate relatively quickly from the effects of sunlight and become brittle, especially when made from cotton, linen or silk.


unlined roman blind image

It is sensible to use unlined blinds in kitchens and bathrooms as they will need to be washed fairly frequently and, if lined, there is always the danger that the face fabric and lining will shrink by noticably different amounts.

Unlined blinds are simple and generally give clean lines which sit very well in both modern and period interiors.

Unlined blinds provide only a little protection against draughts and, at night, shadows will be visible from the outside so they are best used where privacy and insulation are not a problem.





Lined Roman Blinds

Adding a lining protects the face fabric from the effects of sunlight and takes the blinds up the road to sophistication.   The lining can be coloured to tone with the face fabric and brought round to form a border, or you could use a different patterned fabric as lining where the blind will be overlooked from the outside. 

With lined Roman blinds, the pockets for the rods are sewn into the lining and, although against a light window the rods may be visible, they are much more discrete than in an unlined blind.  

If privacy, light exclusion or insulation are on your list of priorities, it makes sense to line the blind.   Lining will protect the face fabric and add a degree of sophistication and elegance.  


Lined Roman blind image


Lining Roman blinds reduces the 'crisp' effect slightly and adds softness and depth to the blind.   It will also add weight and improve draught-stopping qualities as well as privacy.  








lined roman blind image

The lining will help reduce light and lining with blackout material will cut the light almost completely.

No matter how well fitting blinds are, however, there will always be small amounts of light showing round the edges and if complete blackout is required, pelmets, lambrequins or curtains should be considered in addition to a blind.




Interlined Roman Blinds

Interlining Roman blinds improve insulation or light-exclusion.   It will add to the thickness of the blind and the folds will be softer and appear slightly padded.   It will also improve the insulating properties of the blind for a draughty window.   Interlining with blackout will provide good light-exclusion when a coloured or patterned lining is to be used although this will not give the slightly padded look of dommet interlining.

If two layers of fabric (lining and interlining) would add too much weight or thickness to the blind, it is possible to use a bonded lining, where fleece is bonded either to cotton or blackout lining and only one layer needs to be used.   While these fabrics are quite expensive, they can be cheaper than buying both lining and interlining.



Roman Blind mechanism

There are a number of mechanisms available on the market to operate Roman blinds;  although we generally use the traditional method of a covered wooden baton with screw eyes to guide the cords which are then wound round a cleat to fasten the blind in the raised position.   We tend to use this system unless another is specifically requested;  it is simple, economic and sturdy enough for most normal handling, with the one disadvantage that you have to anchor the cords on the cleat when raising the blind.   If this is likely to prove a problem, you should chose an alternative mechanism.

Alternative Roman blind systems involve cord-locking devices or rotary side-winding systems operated by continuous chain through the mechanism.   For large, heavy, or interlined curtains, the side-winding mechanism, although more expensive, is probably the best choice.   The latest, boxed side-winders are very discrete and have the advantage that you can raise or lower the blind to any level without having to secure the cords.   Ratchet systems are cheaper but are really only for lighter or smaller blinds.   If you would like us to use one of these mechanisms when making blinds for you then please let us know.    The mechanisms can also be bought in kit form for the home blind-maker in various lengths, which include all the components needed to create a blind at home, apart from the fabric.



Finishing Touches

There is plenty of scope for those perfect finishing touches to Roman blinds. 

A beaded or bobble fringe can add a touch of sophistication,

or a border can emphasise one of the colours of the face fabric (an inset border looks particularly effective),

or a contrast lining can be brought round to the face to form an outer border…

or a dramatic print can be left to speak for itself!




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