DO-IT-YOURSELVES viz. CUSTOM ROMAN BLIND
If you’re a hardcore fan of fabric, but tired of the looks of drapery, Roman blind is THE most viable option to go for. Enough of the masses of fabric trailing on the floor, catching dust and spewing out allergens…a Roman shade is a tailored panel of fabric that can be fitted into the recess of a window frame or mounted on the casing and comes attached to a system of cords and loops that allows them to be raised for light and ventilation and lowered for shading and insulation. When raised, it traditionally folds into neat pleats, giving it the elegance of drapery. There are variations available today – hobbled Hobbled Roman Shades that retain the pleated look when fully lowered or the many Relaxed Roman shades that are curved or ruched or swagged at the bottom edge, embellished with decorative frills and tassels, just like conventional drapes.
The original Roman shades were constructed way back when in the days the Roman Colosseum functioned as an amphitheater at its full glory, and some covering was needed to protect spectators from the intense Mediterranean sun – thick canvas was used with ropes and pulleys to lower over the audience/spectator stands and provide shade, and pulled back with the same mechanism when the sun waned. This gave rise to home dwellers hanging panels of wet cloth over their windows as protection from the heat, and dust from the cobbled streets, which then led to the innovation of using cords and eyelets to raise and lower the treatments in folds, to let in air and light as desired. This ancient window treatment came to be known as Roman Shades and is used extensively in lieu of drapery, both for functional ease and modern styling. They can be fashioned out of thick cloth, natural material like bamboo, light and sheer fabric, depending on the function they’re expected to perform.
A question uppermost in many minds is the cost factor – be assured that Roman Shades are obviously more economical to use than drapes as volumes of fabric is not required in its construction. But many folks grapple with the DIY concept of fabricating Roman shades from fabric lying unused or from already existing drapery– interesting! Not as easy as stitching and curtains and attaching hooks to drape them, I can tell you that much! A challenging task for many, including myself, who have no clue about the basics of tailoring. That said, there are those who welcome the challenge, as it lends that unbeatable sense of accomplishment. Here are a few steps in the DIY roman shades construction;
- Pre-wash fabric and lining that are to be used, to prevent shrinkage once tailored and washed, though not necessary if they’re to be dry-cleaned. Press before cutting the fabric. Fix brackets to the top of the window frame.
- Measure the window they are to cover – while cutting the fabric, allow for a generous hem to turn in at the bottom, and for mounting allowances on either side and for the top bar to be covered.
- Decide on if a single dowel or narrow rod is to be used to weigh the bottom of the shade down, or if a few are to be evenly spaced on the body of the panel to create neat, evenly weighted folds.
- Small metal/plastic rings are then sewn in columns on the back of the shade, a minimum of two columns on either side, the columns varying according to the breadth of the shade.
- Thread the lifting cords through the rings and secure the ends after looping the cords through the cord lock attached to the top bar.
- Hang the shade by fitting the top bar into brackets fixed on the window frame.
Et voila! A seemingly easy-to-make, modern window covering! And at a fraction of what it cost’s to buy! For those not skilled at sewing, you could get DIY Roman blind kits – boxes filled with all the material you would need – you could put the Roman shade together with just a pair of scissors and a screwdriver, and hang on your window frame! The advantage of a DIY roman blinds construction – humongous savings! The disadvantages – the homegrown appeal tends to wear out quickly, and the shade starts to unravel faster than expected!
Custom Roman blinds, on the other hand, look infinitely neat, tailored, and professional. There is a wealth of the most attractive choices that you can select from to go with any decor and window style. There is the difference in price to consider, of course – custom shades can cost anywhere between 80 to 600 dollars, depending on the fabric you choose (silk, canvas, linen, jacquard, wool, suede, etc), the style and features selected, the mechanism used and most of all, the size.
Roman shades, when used with sensible insulated backing, can prove to be one of the best all-season window covering options as the fabric and backing used can serve light filtering or room darkening needs, along with insulation against the winter cold or summer heat. Roman shades come fitted with the continuous cord loop and cordless lift mechanisms with comply with all child safety norms. They even come with the top-down/bottom-up control option for optimum privacy and room lightening. Some of the quality manufacturers provide motorized lift controls, which is endlessly convenient to use, and today, it’s becoming a requirement for sustainable window treatments, in order to optimize energy consumption.
Be it a DIY option or a customized one, Roman shades are a window treatment one can’t really go wrong with, but I personally feel the customized versions available at Zebrablinds.ca are really unbeatable and amazing, considering the sheer variety within reach, what with the flabbergasting rebates they have going on!