How to Guides ...
I know for some people this can seem like a very complicated job, my simple ‘how to’ guides are supposed to help de-stress the whole process, so here goes….
- First things first, do you already have your required pole or track fitted? If not then it needs to be installed before you take your measurements for your curtains because you always measure the track or pole not the window itself.
- Always use a metal tape measure and double check all measurements.
- Measurements should be taken in full centimetres. Where the measurement falls between two whole centimetres, always round down to the nearest whole number (e.g. 140.5cm record 140cm).
- For best performance your curtain track or pole should be positioned 15cm above the window.
- The track or pole should extend beyond the window either side if possible, to allow for the curtains to be drawn back off the window to optimise natural light into the room. A general guide amount is about 20 - 30cm either side of the window for goblet, triple pleat or tab top curtains and 15cm for pencil pleat headed curtains.
- For standard curtain tracks, measure from one end to the other.
- For over lapping curtain tracks you must include the measurement of the overlap as an addition.
A+B is total width for track.
- For curtain poles, you need to measure between three decorative finials.
- For bay windows
When measuring a bay window for curtains, apply the same method as for measuring standard curtain tracks, allowing for returns as in picture 2, or over lapping tracks as mentioned before.
Don’t forget the general rule about optimising the light from your window and extending the tracks or poles either side off of the window, 20 - 30cm either side of the window for goblet, triple pleat or tab top curtains and 15cm for pencil pleat headed curtains.
- For tracks, measure from the top of the track to allow it to be hidden behind the curtains.
- For poles, measure from the underside of the curtain ring to allow the pole to be seen (or hidden depending on choice) above the curtain.
- For eyelet curtains, measure from the top of the pole and add 2.5cm to account for fabric that will sit above the eyelet.
- For tab- top curtains, measure from the top of the pole.
- If there is a radiator below the window it is recommended that your curtain sits 3cm above the top so the heat can escape into the room and not rise up behind the curtains.
- For all of the above now measure from the correct point to your desired length
- Sill length - 1cm above the sill to prevent wear to hems.
- Below sill – ideally curtains should finish 15cm below sill to block out light and prevent draughts
- Floor length – 1cm above the floor to prevent wear to hems
- If you would like your curtains to drape on the floor or sill for a more relaxed style then add a little extra to the length.
Important point to remember, window sills and floors are not always level in houses so make a point of measuring at several points across the window to check and use the smallest measurement to ensure the best fit.
Amount of fabric needed for different curtain headings
Depending on which style you choose as a header for your curtains there is always a general rule of thumb as to how much fabric has to be used to achieve a soft gathered look for when your curtains are closed:
- Pencil Pleat = pole/track width x 2
- Goblet or Triple pleat = pole/track width x 2.5
- Eyelet = pole/track width x 2
- Boxed pleats = pole/track width x 3
- Tab top = the width of pole /track
- You need to decide if your blind is going to fit inside or outside of the window recess.
- If you favour it sitting inside the recess check that there is nothing fitted which may interfere with the blind being fully extended, i.e. window handles, phone sockets or other fixtures.
- A deep window recess can provide space for your blind to fit neatly inside the recess and finish flush to the wall however if you have a shallow window recess, you may wish to keep this space clear and have the blind fitted to the outside of the recess.
- For a blind fitted to the outside of the recess, it is generally recommended allowing 5cm either side of your window and a further 10cm to the overall length for optimum blind performance.
- It is recommended that a blind be fitted at a minimum of 10-15cm above the window, how much further you go above this is down to personal preference, as it alters the proportions of the window, depends on how much space there is and natural light that it needed in the room.
- Always use a metal tape measure.
- Measurements should be taken in full centimetres. Where the measurement falls between two whole centimetres, always round down to the nearest whole number.
- Measure the width and length at several points across the window to allow for it not being level.
- Double check your measurements.
- It is usual for the overall width of a roman blind to be reduced by 1.5cm anyway, to allow for ease of use.
As you can see from the image the measurements are not consistent in width, if this is the case (as it might be most homes) take the smaller measurement as this will allow the blind to be raised and lowered easily without snagging on the wall.
When measuring for a blind to fit outside of a window recess don’t forget to add 5cm either side of your window and a further 10cm to the overall length.
Bay windows can appear tricky to measure but here are few top tips to make it easier:
The fixings for the blinds cannot be fitted right into the corners of the windows, they have to be placed so that when your roman blinds are up (stack), they do not clash with the blind next to them. The general rule is that the longer or thicker the blinds will be, the more gap needs to be left on the angle of the window.
Right Angled Square Bay Window
A = width minus 8cm
B = width minus 5cm
C = width minus 5cm
Three Sided Bay Window
A = width minus 6cm
B = width minus 4cm
C = width minus 4cm
Five Sided Bay Window
A = width minus 6cm
B = width minus 6cm
C = width minus 6cm
D = width minus 4cm
E = width minus 4cm
There are different ways in fitting roman blinds:
- Manual Track. The traditional method requires a wooden baton fixed to a bracket, the string of the blind are then strung through small metal eyelets on this baton, and a cleat is fixed to the wall to tie the blind cords to when it is in a raised position.
- Sidewinder Track. A cassette head rail is the more convenient of fitting a roman blind. The pre-loaded cord spool ensures the cords pull up straight and at equal speeds, thus making sure the roman blind pulls up neat and straight. In operation it is very similar to most roller blinds. Generally it is recommended that any blind over 125cm wide are mounted on a beaded system due to its strength in supporting the blind, however they are available from 60cm wide. Depending on the depth of the recess these can be used inside or outside of a window recess.
Young children can strangle in the loop of pull cords and chains which operate window coverings. New safety regulations BS EN 13120 apply from the 28th February 2014: please use the link the read the following instructions provided with your blind and use the safety equipment supplied. Make it safe leaflet.
Valances cover the top of the window and can be hung alone or paired with blinds or curtains. Similarly to that of the Pelmet, a valances function is to hide the curtain fixtures and to add a certain style to the room.
They can have a number of effects including pleats, smocking or swags (drapped material).
Curtain poles are solid poles that curtains hang on. They come in a vast array of designs but generally offer either a contemporary feel or traditional look. They are often wood or metal effect. They can be fitted to all shapes of windows, including bays.
If needed, we can fit these for you, when we fit the finished curtains.
Poles can be bare or covered with pelmets - see the next section for more information.
A pelmet is a decorative framework placed above a window. They can be shaped however you would like and can be covered in material or left to bare wood, whatever suits your style best.
Their primary use is to cover curtain fixtures.
Roman Blinds are very simple designs offering a stylish and economical alternative to curtains. They are suitable for most windows, even conservatories.
Each of our blinds are made to measure and readily adapt to a number of fabrics weights and designs. They can be lined or unlined. They can also be mounted with poles and double poles to be used with curtains when you don't want to close them and spoil the elegance of a room's drapery.
Roller Blinds are still very popular and have been around successfully for years.
They fit on a self rolling spring fitting and can be any width you need. This type of blind is very popular in kitchens and bathrooms as they are easy to operate and where there is not a lot of room between the top of the window and a side wall.
The blinds can be as plain or ornate as you wish along the draw down end and often have tassles.
Where can I find a guide to fabric suppliers?
We all know how difficult it can be to find that perfect fabric for that particular job whether it’s intended for curtains, cushions or blinds. I am also aware of how few shops are out there on the ‘normal high street’ who sell good quality or a good selection of fabric these days, so I have compiled a list of a wide range of Fabric Designers and Suppliers that can be contacted and viewed over the internet, in the privacy and comfort of your own lounge and PJ’s.I have made this quite a comprehensive list to allow for most people’s budgets. This is not, however, the complete list, of course, there are quite possibly hundreds of designers and suppliers out there so the internet is always a good way to search. Most companies will send out small swatches off each fabric either for free or for a nominal fee, or will let you know the nearest supplier to you geographically for you to see before committing yourself further. So grab yourself a cup of tea and sit down and enjoy! x