09 Mar Complete Guide to Blinds
Roman Blinds (main picture Vanessa Arbuthnott) are probably the most elegant and can be made to fit almost any sized window in a multitude of ways. For the most practical option, ask for a rotary chain track (also choose your bead colour). This is almost essential for wider or heavier blinds but will also enable anyone to pull them up or down easily, keeping each pleat completely uniform.
Blinds can be made in fabric that is either patterned or plain. For a pattern, think of how it will be when it is folded up, as well as hanging straight. Small repeating patterns and stripes are best, but with clever planning, larger scale patterns can be used too.
Good fabrics for plain blinds try: my range of Perfect Plains
How to choose blinds – there are 3 main types of blinds:
Pictured here Inchyra Woven Ticking, available from PatternSpy.
A simpler option is the traditional corded pull and cleat. This is fine for smaller windows and gives a more traditional look, but can be known to tangle.
If the window is larger and has an interesting architrave, you might want to fit the blind inside the window surround up against the glass. If the window is small, consider making the blind larger than the opening. (see picture below). This has the added benefit of not covering anything but the smallest strip of window at the top when the blind is opened.
Once you have decided on how the blind is to be operated and where in the window it will sit, you then need to decide how you want it made. It can be lined, interlined, black-out lined or unlined according to the effect you want. It can also have a border in a second co-ordinating or contrasting fabric (see picture below – for fabric scheme details see Shibori Geometrics) or have strips of braid sewn on.
Don’t forget to think about whether you want anything on the window cill to be hidden or not when the blind is down and how deep you want each pleat. A curtain maker will best advise on this as the thickness of fabric and any lining will effect how bulky the pleats will be when pulled up. Blinds should never finish higher than the bottom of the window cill, even if you don’t think you will ever lower them completely.
Trimmings work particularly well when sewn along the bottom of roman blinds and can blend in or be a stark contrast.
Trimmings can also be sewn along the bottom of a pelmet
Pictured here Inchyra Dedalo fabric, available from PatternSpy.
A roman blind can be strung in two ways; either so it pulls up under itself so that the least amount of light is lost, or they can be strung to create a cascade effect so that you can see each fold.
Roller Blinds are a simpler style of blind and work well in rooms where you want maximum light or a very simple look. They can be laminated (white or black-out) or unbacked so the fabric can be seen on both sides (remember to choose a fabric with two good sides for this.
Roller blinds can be operated with either a chain side winder, much like a roman blind, or a spring roll mechanism, but beware these can sometimes be troublesome. Where privacy is an issue, they can sometimes be made bottom up so a view can be blocked without losing light. For these a sheer or neutral colour may be best with a 2nd blind or curtain for night use on top.
To make them a little more formal, they can have a pelmet header or have simple dress curtains on either side.
Swedish Blinds have a very pretty Scandinavian look and work best where you want to see a contrasting lining. Using a simple rolling mechanism the blinds roll up and down loosely giving a more relaxed and informal style.
Remember, blinds are often the most cost effective way to dress your windows as you need considerably less fabric than for curtains.