We often get enquiries about wide roman blinds, and after blogging about this some time ago it seems only right to bring back the topic this month. Window manufactuers are forever raising the bar (if you pardon the pun) with their innovative products (think bifold doors for example), and the proportions of these more often than not call for a slightly out of the ordinary curtain or blind solution.
So what’s the big deal about wide roman blinds? Well the point is that typically roman blinds don’t extend wider than, say a width or a width or a half of fabric (ie up to 2metres). It’s technically challenging to get a flat panel of fabric to hang symmetrically over large widths and drops (especially where patterns need to be matched) and blind manufacturers play to this rule by only making components to a certain size – dowelling rods for example tend to stop at 2.4metres wide.
So why go wide with a roman blind? The circumstances tend to dictate what window treatment to go for. For example, with a kitchen with bifold doors, space limitations and practical considerations (amount of traffic through the room) make the case for roman blinds or rollers more compelling than, say curtains.
Our largest roman blind to date: So when a couple from Scotland approached us to make a roman blind for them – 382cms wide by 230cms drop in one of our crewel fabrics we had to think quite carefully about the issues.
The mechanism: A blind of this size and weight requires a geared mechanism to operate it – you just physically wouldn’t be able to operate such a blind with a traditional cord (and cleat) mechanism. Our preferred choice for this size of product is a continous chain operated headrail system from Evans Textiles (who also supply motorised systems) – and not all manufacturers make mechanisms this wide. The blind was fabricated with traditional dowelling rod pockets made from the lining fabric itself – into which are sewn 7mm rods. The rods themselves are only manufactured to 2.4metres in width, so we had to length the rods ourselves in our workshop.
Fabrication issues: the technical challenge for our workroom was to join together 3 widths of crewel fabric with the pattern matching seamlessly from width to width. On the face of it this isn’t a problem, but if patterns are woven asymmetrically from width to width (as is often the case with hand embroidered crewel fabrics), this can throw out the shape of the fabric when joined. From experience we also recommend blinds of these dimensions to be fabricated with blackout lining, as this provides strength and stability to the blind – quite apart from preventing sunlight from damaging the blind or diminishing the overall effect of the pattern.
Other considerations: whilst it was important that the blind cleared the window when raised (as as not to interrupt the stunning views of the East Lothian countryside) we also didn’t want to put too many rod pockets into the blind – as too many blind folds can make a blind rather cumbersome when stacked. After some careful calculations we made the blind with 5 rod pockets which delivered a finished stack space of just over 30cms.
And finally: whilst this wasn’t planned, the blind when lowered enhanced the acoustics of the room – much to the delight of our music loving client!