London blinds, or London shades as they are sometimes known, are a cross between a Roman and an Austrian blind. They are softer than Roman blinds but more tailored than Austrian blinds with the fullness coming from inverted pleats and can be lined or unlined.
The blind is pulled up and down with cords threaded through Austrian blind tapes that are attached to the blind at the back of the pleats.
London blinds can be used as a single window treatment or teamed with curtains, valances or pelmets to give a layered look.
They are best made in light to medium weight fabrics.
The instructions below are for a lined London blind with 2 inverted pleats.
- Suitable fabric.
- Matching thread.
- Blind track or wooden batten, 1" x 1" (2.5 x 2.5 cms) x width of the finished blind.
- Stick and sew Velcro, the width of the finished blind.
- Austrian blind tape, approximately twice the blind length.
- Cleat and acorn.
- Nylon cord, twice ( 2 x length + width of blind).
- 3 screw eyelets for use with the wooden batten.
Measuring and Estimating Fabric Quantities:
- Fix the blind track or wooden batten in position either into the ceiling of the window recess or onto the wall above the window frame. This is dependent on whether you intend your finished blind to hang inside or outside the window recess. If the track or batten is to go outside the window recess then it needs to be at least 2" (5 cms) wider than the window frame.
- Attach the adhesive side of the Velcro to the front edge of the batten, if used.
- Inside the Recess:
Measure the length from the top of the track or batten to the window sill and add 1.5" (3.75 cms) for hems. Add extra length for pattern matching where necessary.
- Measure the width of the window, adding 1" (2.5 cms) for seams and 24" (60 cms) for pleats [12" (30 cms) for each pleat]. 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 required.
- Outside the Recess:
Measure the length from the top of the track or wooden batten to 2" (5 cms) below the window sill and add 1.5" (3.75 cms) for hems. Add extra length for pattern matching where necessary.
- Measure the width of the track or wooden batten and add 1" (2.5 cms) for seams and 24" (60 cms) for pleats [12" (30 cms) for each pleat]. 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 required.
Making a London Blind:
- Cut 1 piece of fabric and 1 piece of lining to the required size. If more than 1 width is required, add equal part widths to each side of a full width in the centre. Join widths together with a flat seam, matching the pattern across all the widths if necessary.
- Place the fabric and the lining, right sides together, matching the raw edges.
- Pin and stitch the side and bottom edges, 0.5" (12 mm) in from the raw edges.
- Turn right side out and press.
- Lay the blind on a flat surface, wrong side up, and mark parallel lines down the length of the blind 6", 12" and 18" (15, 30, 45 cms) in from each side edge.
- Cut the Austrian blind tape in half.
- Turn 1" (2.5 cms) under at the bottom edges of the tapes and place them centrally over the 12" (30 cms) lines so that the first loop is 2" (5 cms) up from the bottom edge of the blind on each tape.
- Pin and stitch the tapes down both sides and across the bottom. Stitch the sides in the same direction to avoid puckering.
- Turn in 1" (2.5 cms) at the top edge of the blind, including the end of the tape, and slipstitch.
- Fold the blind down the centre of the tape, right sides together, and matching the marked lines.
- Pin and stitch down the marked lines, 4" (10 cms) from the top edge and secure the ends of the thread firmly.
- Pin and stitch on the marked lines, 2" (5 cms) up from the bottom edge and secure the ends of the thread firmly.
- Press the pleats down the length of the blind with the stitching centred over the tape.
- Pin and stitch the “sew” side of the Velcro across the top of the blind, on the wrong side, close to the top fold. Stitch both sides in the same direction to avoid puckering.
- Cut the nylon cord in half and secure each piece to the bottom loops on the blind tapes.
- Thread the cords up through all the loops on the blind tapes.
- Hang the blind onto the track or batten by pressing the 2 halves of the Velcro together.
- Screw an eyelet on the underside of the wooden batten, if used, directly above each tape on the blind and one at the end of the batten. It can go on the left or right hand side depending on where you wish to raise and lower the blind from.
- Thread the cords through the eyelets on the batten, or through the cord holders on the track, so that they hang together at 1 side.
- Trim the ends of the cords half way down the blind.
- Thread the cords through the acorn and knot to secure.
- Position the cleat, at a convenient height, at the side of the window frame and fix in place.
- Pull up the blind and wind the cords around the cleat in a figure of eight to secure.