You don't use internal battens in a Relaxed shade. You do
have to dress the shade when you raise it, unless you really like the unstructured (messy) look. I can assure you that someone spent quite some time arranging the folds in all of those cool photographs you see in the magazines. So be sure you can live with that before you make one.
You can use the Hardware Calculator to help you decide on Fold Depth and number of folds. Simply use the Finished Shade Width and Finished Shade Length. You will have to modify several items: the number of lift rings, the amount of lift cord, and the number of flat pulleys. Remember that you will not be using internal battens. Generally, you will have two columns of rings. If the Calculator says you have 4 lift lines, half the recommended amount of these three items. The math will be harder for 3 or 5 lift lines, but you should be able to figure it out.
Okay, now we need to talk geometry. Or perhaps, preservation of matter (fabric). Where does that lovely drape in the middle of the shade come from? Unfortunately, it comes from the sides of the shade. We can easily visualize this by using a piece of string. Cut the string exactly the width of your window and hold it taut. Now, drape the string so that the center is several inches below each end. What a nice shape your string is making. But oops, the ends of the string are now several inches in from the edges of the window.Ways to Eliminate the Pulling In at the SidesOption 1
: make the shade 1" to 2" wider than the Finished Width and softly gather the top. This eliminates the effect of the sides moving in.Option 2
: hold a string up to the window and let it droop just like you want your shade to hang. Then measure the string and cut the fabric into a trapezoid, with the top the "correct" Finished Width and the bottom the string width. You still need to add 2" (1" on each side) for your cut width. Your lift rings will be placed the same distance from the sides all along each column.Option 3
: I just heard of this recommendation and it is very interesting. The first set (lowest) of rings are placed about 1.5" from the sides, then the next set of rings are placed 2" in from the sides, while the rest are placed 2.5" from the sides. If this works, it might be the easiest solution.
A customer sent me this comment: "I made relaxed Roman shades using your Option 3. They came out beautifully and are very easy to "fold" when pulled up."
P Guidry, Lafayette, LouisianaWeight Rod for a Relaxed Shade
A bottom weight rod also helps keep the relaxed shade square. The rod is enclosed in a fabric sleeve and attached to the back of the shade just below the bottom set of lift rings. Cut the rod slightly longer than the distance between the two columns of rings. Make a fabric sleeve (or you can purchase Rod Tubing
in our store), slip the rod inside and whip stitch the end closed. Whip stitch the cloth-covered rod to the back of the shade. Be sure to attach the rod ONLY at the lift rings. If you attach it in the center, the shade will not sag. Tips for making Relaxed shades:
- If your lift lines are several inches in from the sides of the shade, place an extra flat pulley (or screw eye) at the outside edge of the shade. This way, you don't have to reach way inside the shade to find the cords. If you are using a cord lock pulley, place it at the outside edge of the board along with a tandem pulley.
- Relaxed shades look best on windows that are at most 48" wide.
- You somehow have to account for the fact that when the bottom of the shade sags, the sides will be pulled in. You may like this look. If you use the standard cutting directions for a Roman shade, the bottom edges will be narrower than the top of the shade.