Austrian Blinds

Image of a finished Austrian blindAustrian Blinds are in reality a curtain, and are made up as such with a fullness of twice the track or batten width. The only differences being that the blind is pulled up from the bottom to the top by means of cords attached at the back, and is made longer than the required finished drop. The extra fabric in the length forms scallops, even when the blind is in the lowered position.

Austrian Blinds are generally made up in lightweight curtain fabrics, they will hang better and exclude more light if they are lined. They can be hung inside or outside the window recess. If they are hung outside the recess they can be frilled at the side and bottom edges. However, if they are hung inside the recess, they look better if a frill is added to the bottom edge only.

Press & drape heading tape is attached to the top edge so that the blind can be hung from a blind track or a wooden batten. Grip tape will be needed if a wooden batten is used.

The instructions below are for a Lined Austrian Blind with 3 scallops, fitted outside the window recess. A 3” (7.5 cms) single gathered frill is added to the side and bottom edges.

The dimensions can be adjusted for other sizes of blinds.

Image of colour code key for diagrams

Requirements:

  • Blind track or wooden batten, 8" (20 cms) wider than the window.
  • Lightweight curtain fabric.
  • Lining.
    4 screw eyelets, if a wooden batten is used.
  • Curtain hooks, if an Austrian blind track is used.
  • Austrian blind tape. (The length of the flat blind x the number of scallops) + 1 blind length approx.
  • Nylon cord. Approx (twice the blind length + 1 width) for each length of Austrian blind tape.
  • Press & drape curtain heading tape, approx twice the length of the blind track or wooden batten.
  • Grip tape, the length of the wooden batten, if used.
  • Wall cleat and an acorn.

Measuring and Estimating Fabric Quantities:

  1. Fix the blind track or wooden batten in the chosen position. If the blind is to hang inside the window recess, fix it to the underside of the window frame. If the blind is to hang outside the window recess, fix it to the top or above the window frame. Attach the grip tape to the front edge of the wooden batten, if used.
  2. To calculate the flat length of the blind, measure from the top of the track or batten to the bottom of the window frame and add 20" (50 cms) (call this A) so the blind will have some fullness when lowered over the window, this allows for top hem and bottom seam allowances. Allow extra length for pattern matching, if necessary.
  3. To calculate the width, measure the length of the track or batten and double it, this allows for fullness (call this B). Divide this number by the width of the fabric to be used and round up to the next whole number. This will be the number of widths of fabric required.
  4. For a single gathered frill, 3" (7.5 cms) wide, you will need strips 4" (10 cms) long cut from across the fabric width. To calculate the amount of frill required, take the measurement "A" as above and double it. Add this to the measurement "B". Now double this figure to allow the frill to be gathered, with a fullness ratio of 2.
    Example:
    Window length = 60" (152 cms), so "A" will be 80" (202 cms).
    Window width = 30" (76 cms), so the track or batten measurement will be 38" (96 cms).
    So "B" will be 76" (192 cms).
    Therefore the amount of frill needed will be 2 x "A" = 160" (404 cms) + "B". Making a total of 236" (596 cms).
    Double this, making a grand total of 472" (1192 cms).
  5. To calculate how many strips are required for the frill, divide this number [472" (1192 cms)] by the width of the fabric. As this does not have to be exact work to the nearest whole width of fabric.
  6. Cut the required number of strips from across the width of the fabric, allowing extra length for pattern matching where necessary.

Making an Austrian Blind:

  1. Cut 1 piece of the main fabric and 1 piece of the lining to the required measurements. If more than 1 width is required, join them together using a flat seam and matching the pattern if necessary. Press the seams open. Make sure there is a full width in the centre with equal part widths added at each side.
  2. To make the frill join the strips together with a 0.5" (12 mm) French seam to make one long length, matching the pattern where necessary. Neaten each end by turning in a double 0.25" (6 mm) hem and stitch. Turn up a double 0.25" (6 mm) hem along the bottom edge, pin, stitch and press. Work 2 rows of gathering stitches along the top edge. Pull up the gathering threads until it measures twice "A" + "B". Adjust the gathers evenly.
  3. Lay the blind fabric, right side up, on a flat surface. Starting 1" (2.5 cms) down from the top edge, lay the frill onto the blind, wrong side up, with the frills facing towards the centre and matching the raw edges.
  4. Image refers to steps 3 to 5 of making an Austrian blindWorking down one side, across the bottom and then up the other side, pin the frill into place, finishing 1" (2.5 cms) from the top edge at the other side. Adjust the gathers if necessary to help ease the frill around the corners.
  5. Machine stitch into place, 0.5” (12 mm) in from the raw edges, between the 2 rows of gathering stitches. Remove the gathering threads.
  6. Lay the blind, right side up, on a flat surface with the frills facing towards the centre. Place the lining, wrong side up, on top. Position it so that the raw edges match along the bottom and side edges.
  7. Pin and stitch through all thicknesses around all 3 edges, 0.5" (12 mm) in from the raw edges.
  8. Turn right side out and press lightly.
  9. Image refers to steps 9 and 10 of making an Austrian blindLay the blind, lining side up, onto a flat surface. Cut 2 lengths of Austrian blind tape slightly longer than the length of the blind, making sure that the first loop on the tape will be 2" (5 cms) up from the frill seam. Position the tapes vertically on the fabric, alongside the frill seam at each side. Make sure that the loops of the tape are aligned across the blind. Turn under 0.5" (12 mm) at the bottom edge of each tape to neaten.
  10. Pin and stitch the tapes in place. Stitch both sides in the same direction to avoid puckering.
  11. Divide the width between the Austrian blind tapes into equal sections of 12" - 20" (30 - 50 cms) and mark a vertical line down the blind at each point.
  12. Pin and stitch a length of Austrian blind tape centrally on each vertical line, turning under 0.5” (12 mm) at the bottom edge to neaten. Make sure that the tapes are parallel and that the loops on all the tapes are aligned across the blind.
  13. Image refers to steps 13 to 16 of making an Austrian blindLay the blind, lining side up, onto a flat surface. Turn down 1" (2.5 cms) at the top edge and press the fold.
  14. Knot the cords, to the wrong side, at one end of the heading tape and free them to the right side, at the other end. Pin the heading tape on the wrong side of the blind, close to the top fold, turning in 1" (2.5 cms) at each end to neaten.
  15. Insert a cord tidy bag, approximately 2" (5 cms) in from the edge where the cords are free.
  16. Stitch the heading tape in place along the top and bottom edges, making sure to stitch both sides in the same direction to avoid puckering.

Hanging an Austrian Blind:

  1. Image refers to hanging an Austrian blindDecide from which side of the window you wish to work your blind i.e. left or right. These instructions are for a right-handed operation, just reverse the instructions for a left-handed operation.
  2. Lay the blind, lining side up, onto a flat surface. Cut pieces of nylon cord for each length of the Austrian blind tape. Cut each piece twice the length of the blind + 1 width.
  3. Starting at the right hand side, attach a piece of nylon cord to the bottom loop of the Austrian blind tape and thread it up through all the loops to the top edge.
  4. Repeat for the other blind tapes.
  5. Pull up the cords on the heading tape to fit the blind track or batten and adjust the gathers evenly. Secure the ends of the cords with a sliding loop. Wind up the surplus cord and tuck it into the cord tidy bag.
  6. Attach the top of the blind to the wooden batten, by pressing the heading tape onto the grip tape. Screw the eyes into the underside of the wooden batten, directly above each of the Austrian blind tapes. If using an Austrian blind track insert curtain hooks into the pockets on the heading tape and hang the blind on the track.
  7. Thread all the nylon cords through the cord holders on the track or the screw eyes on the batten, working from left to right. With the bottom of the blind at window sill level, cut all the nylon cords level with the bottom of the window. Thread all the cords through the acorn and knot to secure.
  8. Fix a cleat at the right hand side approximately halfway down the window. Pull up the blind and wind the cords around the cleat in a figure of eight to secure.

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