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There are two types of ruched blinds, the Austrian and the festoon, and the headings or both are gathered in the same way as a curtain heading.
Although the blinds are similar in appearance, an Austrian blind is ruched only at its lower edge, while a festoon blind is ruched along its entire length.
Ruched blinds are drawn up by a system of parallel rows of cords threaded through rings or loops that are attached to the back of the blind, in the same way as a roman blind.
You can make up ruched blinds with or without a lining. Of the two blinds, the Austrian type is more suitable for heavy fabrics.
To enhance the ruffled effect of the blind, add a frill or fringe at the lower edge and sides.
Measure the window and estimate the size of the finished blind. Decide on the blind fullness and the width and number of finished swags. The lightweight fabric provides the fullest swags.
You will need blind fabric, lining fabric, heading tape, Austrian blind tape strips with loops or rings, pull-up cords, a cleat, a hanging system such as a ruched blind track or heading board, and the basic sewing kit.
Cut the main fabric to the required drop, adding 4 cm to the length for turnings and 15 - 60 cm for ruching at the bottom edge. For the width, cut fabric to one- to two-and-a-half times desired width, depending on the fabric used and on the heading, plus 3 cm for side turnings.
If joins in the fabric are necessary, allow 3 cm for french seams. Join panels by making seams along the vertical lines where the edges of the swags will fall, and place half widths at the sides.
Cut lining to the same size as the main fabric, and stagger joins in the lining and in the main fabric to ease the gathering of the blind.
1. Attaching Lining Place the lining fabric and the main fabric right sides together. Pin, tack, and sew a seam of 1.5 cm from the side and lower edges of the material. Clip the corners. Turn the fabrics right sides out and press.
2. Attaching Heading Lay the blind out on a flat surface, with the lining side up. Turn the heading edge allowance by 4 cm to the wrong side, then press. Pin, tack and sew the heading tape in place.
3. Position Tape Mark the positions for the tape strips on the lining, beginning 3 cm in from the sides. Decide on the spacing for the strips. If the fabric is one-hand-a-half times the finished blind width, the strips should be positioned apart one-and-a-half times the finished swag width. Cut the strips to the length of the blind less than the heading, allowing 1.5 cm at the ends for turning.
4. Positioning Loops Pin and tack the first tape strip in position with a line of stitching down each side. Turn under the raw ends. Attach the remaining tape strips, making sure that the loops align horizontally. Measure from the lower edge of the blind and mark the loop positions.
5. Attaching Tape Sew each of the tape strips in position, again making sure that the loops align across the blind.
6. Fitting Edging For the fringe edging, measure the width of the blind, adding 3 cm at each end for the turnings. Cut the fringe to this length.
7. Securing Ends Turn each end of the fringe 1.5 cm twice to the wrong side. Slipstitch the ends to secure them in place, taking care since the fringing can unravel easily. Slipstitch the length of fringe along the bottom edge of the front of the blind.
8. Attaching Cord Cut a length of cord for each tape strip to twice the finished blind length, plus the necessary amount for the cord to run along the top of the blind to the pull-up side. The cords are used to pull up and ruche the blind.
9. Threading Loops For each strip, tie one end of the cord to the loop nearest to the base of the blind. Leave a long end free when tying off. This loose end will be secured to a loop, two or three loops from the bottom to make the bottom swag. Thread the cord up to the heading edge through the loops in the tape strip.
10. Gathering Heading Pull up the heading tape and wind the drawstrings around a cord tidy. Insert the curtain hooks and hang the blind on the track, or fix it to a heading board. For roman blinds please see my article on "Roman Blinds".
11. Threading Track Decide which side of the blind the pull-up cord is to hang. Thread the cords through slots on the track corresponding to the top of the line of each tape. Feed the cords through the slots to the side edge where the pull cord will hang. Attach the track to its brackets on the wall, and fix the cleat in position. To form the swag, tie the loose end of the cord to the bottom two or three loops of the tape strip - depending on the depth of ruche required.
The Finished Blind
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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