With all their fiddly looking fixings and mechanisms, you’d be forgiven for thinking roller blinds are tricky to make, but we are on a mission to prove otherwise! We’re determined to use our crafty skills wherever we can, and that includes whipping up our own window dressings (it gives us a good excuse to go fabric shopping, after all!).
We love roller blinds for their practicality and style, and there are handy kits available that contain everything you need to create your own – all you’ll need to do is pick out your perfect fabric. Our comprehensive guide has every step explained, from sizing up your window to hanging your finished blind.
Roller blinds are simple to make and a practical treatment for a window, and are popular because of their functionality and style. They sit flat against the window and can be rolled right up to let the maximum amount of light into a room. The only sewing involved is to hem the bottom edge to make a casing. The top of the fabric is then stuck to a special roller blind mechanism, which is attached above the window. Roller blinds can be purchased ready made in a variety of plains and patterns, but, if you want one to perfectly coordinate with the rest of your room, then the answer is, of course, to make your own – follow our guide to find out how.
How to fit roller blinds
Sewing your own roller blinds is just part of the job! You also need to know how to fit them. Read on to learn how to fit roller blinds perfectly, what roller blind fittings you’ll need and how to use roller blind kits.
Roller blind kits
You can buy specialist roller blind kits which contain everything you need to make your blind, including a pre-adhesive-taped top roller, side winder or spring mechanism, bottom bar and brackets. The spring mechanism has a pull cord in the bottom of the centre of the blind, which you tug lightly to make the blind roll up on its own – this cord and fitting is included in the kit. The sidewinder mechanism has a chain and pulley system.
Roller blind kits range from around 45cm (18in) to 240cm (95in) wide, so buy the next size up from your window width then cut it down to fit with a hacksaw.
Order your roller blind kit:
- Sunlover roller blind kit (up to 90cm/30in wide)
- Sunlover DIY roller blind kit (up to 120cm/47in wide)
- Sunlover DIY roller blind kit (up to 190cm/74in wide)
Where to fix your roller blind
You can hang your blind inside the window recess so it lies right next to the glass. This will cut out more light and insulate the room to some extent, too. To do this, measure exactly the width and drop of the area inside the window. This is usually the outer edge of the window frame, and you can attach your blind mechanism to the frame. If you want your blind to hang outside the window recess, then measure the outside of the recess and add at least 5cm (2in) all the way around, depending on the overlap you want.
Which way should you roll your roller blind?
Usually a blind rolls so that the roller is in front of the fabric and the fabric rolls down behind it. This makes it lie flat to the window. You also have the option to make a blind that rolls the other way – this is called a reverse rolled blind. The fabric rolls over the top of the roller, so you don’t see it and the blind sits away from the window. These are made in exactly the same way as a regular blind – the only difference is that you keep the wrong side of the fabric on top, and when you fit it you need to turn the blind around so the fabric rolls down in front of the roller.
How to fix the brackets for your roller blind
Your roller blind kit will come with a pair of fixing brackets. First you’ll need to decide whether they will be face, top or side fixed – this will depend on where your blind is going to be hung and what from. Fix them in place using suitable screws, depending on whether you are fixing them in plaster or wood. The instructions that come with your blind kit will explain how to fix the brackets and also how to cut the mechanism and bottom bar to fit within the brackets.
You can buy fabric stiffener as either a spray or a solution, and it will stiffen most absorbent fabrics permanently. The bottle will tell you how much fabric it will cover; follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to treat your fabric. It’s not recommended for use on synthetic or Scotchgard-coated fabric, but most cotton fabrics will work well. Peg up your fabric on a washing line while starching it so it doesn’t crease.
Read on to learn how to make roller blinds for your home.
You Will Need
- Roller blind kit
- Fabric stiffener
- Basic sewing kit
Measure the exact drop of your finished blind then add 30cm (12in) to this; this includes a 5cm (2in) allowance for the hem and 25cm (10in) to be wound onto the roller. For the width, you need to add 10cm (4in) to each side of the finished width as the fabric often shrinks when the stiffening spray or solution is added. Stiffen the fabric following the manufacturers instructions – this keeps it flat and also helps to stop the edges from fraying, as it isn’t hemmed. Allow the fabric to dry and press well. Cut the fabric to the finished length plus 30cm (12in) and the exact width, using a set square.
Lay your cut fabric on a flat surface, wrong side (WS) up. Turn the bottom edge up by 5cm (2in) and stitch down close to the raw edge. This doesn’t need a double hem, as the stiffening solution will stop it from fraying and you need to keep fabric bulk to a minimum so it rolls around the top roller. Cut the bottom bar supplied in your kit 2cm (¾in) shorter than the width of the blind and slide it into the casing. If you have made a spring mechanism blind, thread the cord through the knot holder then thread the other end through the acorn and knot. Now screw the knot holder through the fabric to the back of the bottom bar.
Lay the hemmed blind on a flat surface and mark a line across the width, 1.5cm (5⁄8in) down from the top edge. If the blind is to roll down from behind the roller, mark this line on the right side (RS) of the fabric. If you’re making a reverse rolled blind, mark the line on the WS of the fabric. Lay the roller on a flat surface. Remove the protective strip from the adhesive tape that usually comes already stuck to your roller then press the top edge of the fabric onto the roller. Make sure the top edge of the tape is aligned exactly along the marked line. If your roller doesn’t come with tape attached then simply use double-sided tape for this.
Roll up the blind by hand, slot it into the brackets you fixed to the window earlier and pull the blind down until you get some resistance. Now slowly release the blind until it locks. Take the blind from the brackets and roll the fabric back onto the roller by hand. Place it back in the brackets, repeating the process until the tension is sufficient to allow the blind to rise smoothly to the top. Make sure you don’t add too much tension to the blind, as it won’t rise properly. If you do, though, just unroll it and start again. For sidewinder mechanisms, you simply pull the chain to raise and lower the blind.