I’m a new sewer and would like to try to make my own roller shades. Can anyone recommend a roller shade kit with clear instructions and more importantly a good shade mechanism? I don’t want to put a lot of work into something that is not going to stand up to general use. Thank you–Monica G
Monica, I just hopped over here from the other Taunton boards and thought I'd reply to you, even tho it's a bit late...
Here goes. I made my own roller shades a few years ago. I was unable to find a kit at the time, so I just wound up buying plain cardboard ones at the store (maybe Home Depot?). I had them cut the the width of my window, took off the plastic, then stapled & glued my new fabric on. One pitfall was that I purchased this 'shade lining' material at the fabric store, which cost some astronimical amount of money ($12/yd or so). But I had already had the stuff cut when I saw the price and was tired of messing with it. You may want to play with fusible linings and such. I still have them, and they are beautiful. The windows are rather tall, 70", so most mornings it takes several pulls to get them to retract, 'cuz they're heavy. I've seen heavier-duty shades made with wood rollers in homes, but those were custom items. Probably from a drapery store, and $$$.
So I guess my recommendation would be try to choose a light fabric if it's a tall or wide window. Mine wasn't, but it worked out anyway. The shades only cost a couple of bucks, and over time the mechanism has been more reliable than I expected. Go ahead and play with it.
As for assembly, after I fused the lining to the fabric, which is boring, tedious work, I satin stitched the edges for ravel control. I didn't think all those layers would behave in my sewing machine, so I didn't mess with a hem.
If I can figure out how to post a picture, I will later. It's acting up on me today.
*Monica, years ago I made a houseful of roller shades, using inexpensive cardboard shades, as Theresa mentions above. It worked great! I was following some instructions from a magazine, I think, and didn't even line them, so the light filtered through the shade fabric. They were gorgeous, and lasted until I moved (several years). I used some beautiful fabrics--a couple of jacquard woven cottons, a wide puffy cotton seersucker with vertical woven floral bands. You don't want to turn under and sew the edges, because when you roll up the shade, the turned edges will be thicker and they won't roll evenly; they'll crumple and bunch at the edges. So instead of hemming, I cut the shade exactly to width and used a fine bead of Elmers glue along the edge from the wrong side (I believe this was before Fray Check was invented), then smoothed the glue evenly along the edge. The shades would never be washed, so the glue worked very well. These days, I would probably use Fray Check instead.Much more recently, a few years ago, I made a lined shade using one of the kits available (I can't remember the company name). The layers were fused together, after sewing and turning, and the seams were offset a bit to the wrong side, so they didn't lie right along the edge. The shade was pulled up and down using a rope mechanism at one side. This shade was more 'correct', since it was lined and color didn't show from the outside, but it was much heavier, and the fusing made the fabric a bit stiff and lumpy looking, especially after using it for a couple of years. I honestly prefer the simple shades I made ages ago, and they were MUCH quicker and easier to make.
*Ok, got the camera to cooperate (perhaps a bit of operator error in there...). Here's the pic. Hope it helps, or if you're still looking here for help.
*Theresa, your shades are gorgeous! Thanks for the pic. Mine were just plain at the bottom, with a slat; I like your decorative hem.
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