Saturday, July 30, 2011

Making a Roman Shade with Handwoven Fabric

I had been wanting to make a shade for a window in my house that faces west.  A lot of sun comes in every day, heating up the house, and I wanted to filter that light a little bit. The window is so narrow that it seemed silly to have curtains there, so I decided to make a Roman shade instead.  That's one of those window shades made out of fabric that pulls up like a blind, sort of, when you pull on a string.

I ordered a kit from a website called Make Roman  When you order the kit, you specify the dimensions of your shade--its width and length--and you receive directions and hardware specific to your very own shade. This makes it pretty easy to assemble the shade.  The directions assume you are going to use store-bought fabric and a liner, but I had woven a piece to fit that space, and I didn't want a liner because I wanted the light to filter through the lacy weave.  It wasn't hard to adapt the directions a little for one piece of handwoven fabric.

The weave is called basket weave. I'm doing a series of lace pieces for my windows, and this was the first one. Basket weave is just two weft threads crossing two warp threads, interspersed with plain weave stripes in this case, and it's a very simple lace weave.  I was trying to use up my stash of 10/2 cotton, and I used some of it in this project, but I have a lot left for future lacy curtains.

 The hardware for assembling the shade includes a piece of wood, to which you screw the pulleys and the cord thingamajig, which makes the shade stay up with a little braking device for the cords inside it. Also you get some plastic rods, which you slide inside these special Roman shade sleeves, which you sew to the back of the shade. These sleeves also allow the cords to pass through them vertically.  It's pretty cool how it all works. You screw the piece of wood to the top of the window frame. The shade attaches to the back side of the wood piece with velcro, so it's possible, theoretically, to remove the shade from the wood piece for cleaning.

The shade works exactly as it was supposed to, which is good.  And, it looks exactly like I wanted it to look: also good. But I realized after I put it together that it's going to be very hard to take it apart to clean it!  You would have to unscrew the wooden mounting board from the window frame, unstring the shade, and take out all the rods.  Maybe I can just vacuum it if it gets too dirty. But in the future, I think I'll make plain old curtains for the other windows. They can be easily taken down in winter to let more light in, and you can wash them, which seems like a good idea with light-colored curtains.