Measuring Pelmets and Blinds
How to correctly measure roman blinds and pelmets for curtain makers
Measuring for blinds and pelmets can be tricky. In Europe, a standard fabric roll is 140cm wide. Some fabrics are available in larger widths of 3, 3.10 and 3.30m if you are lucky. You’ll need to add in extra fabric for seam allowance and turn over. We recommend +10cm to the width and +20cm to the height. Blinds wider than 130cm will require extra panels to be added to each side. The solid length of fabric is always kept in the center. You can repeat the same fabric, or chose a contrasting and complementing one. If there is a pattern repeat, you’ll have to add the specified amount again. For example, if the stated repeat is 65cm, you’ll have to add another 65cm. Always check the pattern direction, and be sure to clearly label if you want the fabric railroaded. Premier Choice, who we, and most of the industry use, do a great line in border and bespoke end options.
Modern blinds tend to be slimmer, and less ostentatious than their predecessors. Today’s pelmets usually just cover the unattractive profile of the cassette, and so can sit as close as 7cm to the wall. By law, all blind chains must now either be deemed “easy break” or be attached to a chain tidy and tensioner, as they are a danger to children and pets. Easy break chains will snap when put under “undue” pressure, unfortunately that usually means they break every time we’ve had a bad day at the office and are a little rough. Connectors can be bought to reattach them, but the frustration has led to an increase in spring and wand roller sales.
The standard cord length is 130cm. Don’t forget to have to enlarged if dealing with a period property with tall windows, or with a petit client. Cassettes and cords are usually available in brass, chrome and white. Be warned, brass and chrome can be quite noisy.
If you are ordering from Premier Choice, they will always ask for an recess’ exact measurements, not the measurements of the desired cassette. When ordering from other companies it is important to specify, clearly, exactly which measurements you are providing them with. It’s a costly, and sometime irreparable mistake if you don’t.
With a standard lining you will see the skeleton structure of the roman blind when sun shines through. You can avoid this by adding a more dense backing fabric, but be aware that that will cause the blind to become stiffer and may affect the hanging. Some fabrics, like silk, should always be backed with a black out material, as sun will rot it in as little as 10 years. Standard lining will always allow light through, so some material fading is to be expected. To prevent this, you could chose a product that contains Trevira which will block UV rays (and also be handily flame retardant). If losing heat is a concern, then there is a huge range of thermal lining fabrics available which will provide added insulation. If you do chose to go with a standard lining, be aware that these are almost always an off-white or yellow tone unless specified otherwise.
When measuring older or period windows, be sure to measure the width and height at the bottom, middle and top. These windows are frequently not symmetrical and you will have to set the blind width to the smallest measurement, or it won’t be able to come down. If you have a shiny of bold fabric that you’d like to show off, then a waterfall stack would be most suitable. To hide a fabric, opt for a self stack.