Roller blind fabric stiffener
Image by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

The most practical treatment for windows throughout the home and ideal for the kitchen and bathroom. Roller blinds, or roller shades as they are sometimes known, use a minimal amount of fabric, lay flat against the window and roll up to let a maximum amount of light into the room. Best mounted inside the window recess roller blinds can be teamed up with curtains, valances, pelmets and swags and tails to give a coordinating look.

Usually roller blinds pull down from behind the roller, keeping them very close to the window. However, if a fabric is used where the pattern or colour is printed on one side and does not show through to the other side, it can pull down in front of the roller. In this case there could be light showing at each side of the blind as it is not so close to the window.

Most roller blinds are made from kits which come in a range of sizes up to 8 feet (245 cms) wide but, if the size of your window falls between sizes buy the next size up and cut it to size after the brackets have been fitted. Specially stiffened, spongeable fabrics can be bought by the metre and are available up to 69 inches (175 cms) wide. This makes joining widths of fabric unnecessary in most cases as bulky seams can impair the working of the blind. Other fabrics can be used but should be closely woven, lightweight and colourfast. These will need to be stiffened with an aerosol spray or dipped into liquid stiffening solution before they are cut to size as this process may cause the fabric to shrink, but it does stop the fabric from fraying which omits the need for side hems.


  • Roller blind kit with a side pulley mechanism, cut to the required size and fitted inside or outside the window recess.
    The following links may be of some help to you:
  • Fabric.
  • Fabric stiffener.
  • Matching thread.
  • Set square, ruler, pencil and sharp scissors.
  • Double sided adhesive tape, approximately 0.5″ (12 mm) wide.

Measuring and Estimating Fabric Quantities:

  1. If the chosen fabric needs to be stiffened, this must be done before the fabric is cut to size as it may shrink. Add at least 2″ (5 cms) to the width and length to allow for this.
  2. The width of the blind is the same width as the roller excluding the end fixtures. There is no need to add hem allowances as the stiffened fabric will not fray.
  3. The length of the blind, measure from the roller to the window sill and add a minimum of 12″ (30 cms) for the roller to be covered with fabric and the casing allowance. For blinds outside the recess, add a further 2″ (5 cms) to the length. If the blind is to hang where it might get splashed or stained easily, it is worth adding extra length so that the bottom can be cut off when it gets dirty. This will add to the life of the blind. For blinds with a decorative edge at the bottom, add an extra 6” (15 cms) to the length.

Making a Plain Roller Blind:

  1. Stiffen the fabric following the manufacturers instructions, allow to dry and press.
  2. Cut the fabric to the required size, using a set square to make sure all the sides are absolutely square.
  3. Lay the fabric on a flat surface, wrong side up, turn up 1.5″ (3.75 cms) at the bottom edge and stitch close to the raw edge. This measurement should be slightly bigger than half the circumference of the dowel. It can be adjusted to fit any size of dowel.
  4. Cut the dowel 0.75″ (2 cms) shorter than the width of the blind and slide it into the casing.
  5. Lay the blind on a flat surface and mark a line across the width, 0.5″ (12 mm) down from the top edge. If the blind is to roll down from behind the roller, mark this line on the right side of the fabric. If the blind is to hang down in front of the roller, mark the line on the wrong side of the fabric.
  6. Position a length of double sided adhesive tape along the top edge of the blind, along the marked line.
  7. Lay the roller on a flat surface, making sure that the pulley mechanism is to the correct side.
  8. Remove the protective strip from the adhesive tape and press the top edge of the fabric onto the roller. Make sure that the top edge of the fabric is aligned exactly along the marked line on the roller.
  9. Roll up the blind by hand, slot it into the brackets and pull the blind down.
  10. Work the blind up and down until the required tension is achieved.

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