Perhaps we first should explain what is a bottom-up shade? A bottom-up shade is a Roman shade that pulls up from the bottom rather than dropping down from the top. To function, this shade has two entirely different sets of cords. And remember, when the shade is dropped down, the cords show.
The bottom-up shade is perfect for anyone who desires privacy through the lower section of the window while being able to enjoy light or fresh air entering from the top portion. This shade would work well in bedrooms, bathrooms, home offices and even eating areas. Who wants the neighbors driving by and seeing that you’re having hotdogs again! What about restaurants? Another good application.
Bottom-up shades must have a valance to hide the top board, which is needed to hold the screw eyes and cords. On typical shades this board is hidden by the shade fabric, but not with this style because the fabric drops down away from the board. Also, using ribs (horizontal supports across the shade fabric) helps the shade raise and lower better.
THE WORKING CORD
Cord 1 (see illustration) raises and lowers the shade. It is attached to the top of the shade using whatever method you choose. One way would be to sew on a ring and tie the end of the cord to the ring. Note: always put a little glue on knots to keep them from slipping out.
A weight bar, usually a length of oval or round rodding, is placed at the top of the shade in a pocket between the fabric and its lining. When the cord is drawn, it pulls against this weight bar, keeping the top of the shade moving evenly across its width.
Screw eyes are placed in the top board in line with the cords. These cords are strung through the eyes and out to one side. If the shade is small and only two cords are used, they cannot be braided as they usually are. Instead, tie simple knots periodically to keep them together. A special trick: tie another piece of cord into the very first knot (and glue it!) This provides a third cord so they all can be braided for a more finished look.
A weight bar or board is also used at the bottom of the shade to stabilize it.
THE GUIDE CORD
Cord 2 provides a guide for the shade to slide up and down on. It does not pull. This cord starts at the bottom of the shade. It can be sewn on or tied to a sewn-on ring. The cord then feeds through a row of rings placed vertically along the back side of the shade, through the same screw eye as the first cord, through the next screw eye and down the next vertical row of rings and is then secured to the bottom of the shade.
If more than two rows of rings are used, the cord can be tied to each screw eye rather than running over to the next screw eye and row of rings. The vertical spacing of rings is determined by the size of folds desired when the shade lowers (i.e., rings placed five inches apart would create 2-1/2-inch folds).
Because the cords always show when the shade is dropped down, using the smallest appropriate size cord would make it less noticeable. To determine the appropriate size out of the several that are available, judge by the weight rating of the cord. You certainly would not want to choose a cord rated for less than the weight of your shade!
Cheryl Strickland is owner of Professional Drapery School, Swannanoa, NC, and is an internationally acclaimed speaker with 20 years experience in the window coverings industry. She is the publisher and editor of Sew WHAT?, an international monthly newsletter for professional drapery workrooms.