Hobbled Romans also need horizontal stays (also called ribs). These stays support the fabric, keeping it in its folds and allowing it to be raised and lowered properly. A hobbled Roman will not work without these supports.
The first tip in making a hobbled Roman shade is to decide on its vertical fullness.
Two-to-one is a common fullness, but three-to-one offers an additional benefit:
it provides even light control throughout its length because there are three
layers of fabric over the entire shade.
Two-to-one fullness creates three layers of fabric over one section, then only one layer of fabric followed by another three layer section and then only one layer and so on. This creates a striped effect as light shines through the sections with only single layers. Your customer might not like this, which could result in you having to replace the shade at three-times fullness, totally at your expense, of course. (Ask me how I know this!)
Two-times fullness provides twice the amount of fabric compared to the spacing between the folds. For examples, 10 inches of fabrics, held five inches apart. Three-times fullness provides three times the amount of fabric compared to the spacing. For example, 15 inches of fabric held five inches apart. (See Illustration 1)
Determine the finished width of the shade. Pillowcase the side and bottom edges with its lining or turn side hems, whichever method you use for typical Roman shades. (Personally, I do not recommend turning side hems because the edge of the shade is now much thicker than the rest, which affects how nicely it looks and raises and lowers.)
One of the easiest ways to make a hobbled Roman is to sew a small pocket to the back of the shade large enough to hold the rib. Ribs can be round plastic dowels, offered by a variety of suppliers, or they can be flat plastic strips or wood dowels, but usually with less success because they can warp with humidity. Allow enough play in the size of the pocket to sew the shade rings on its edge without making the pocket too small to put the rod into.
For two-times thickness, as in our example, letís say our pocket is 1/2-inch in size, which requires one inch of fabric. If we want a five-inch flap to extend below the bottom soft fold (as in Illustration 1), the first fold in our shade is pressed eight inches from the bottom edge of the shade as indicated in Illustration 2. A crease is then pressed 11 inches from the previous pressed edge for each additional pocket placement. This provides 10 inches of fabric for the shade itself and 1/2-inch of fabric for half of each pocket.
Stitch all pockets. Using a pencil or fabric marking pen, make a mark every 5 1/4 inches on white twill tape. Match the marks on the twill tape to the edge of the sewn pockets. Zigzag or hand stitch rings through the twill tapes and onto the edge of the pocket all in one step. A small amount of twill tape will be held into the zigzag stitch, taking up an extra 1/4-inch, which we allowed for. As you make your shades, you can see what amount is best for you.
Staple the top edge and the ends of the twill tape to the top of your mounting board. Each soft fold will be five inches apart except at the top, which will be 7 1/2 inches because of the amount of fabric actually hanging in the fold. You can adjust this spacing by making the top space of the twill tape only 2 1/2 inches and the amount of fabric only 7 1/2 inches giving a fold of five inches total, as shown in Illustration 3.
The rows of rings are placed with the same spacing as typical Roman shades: along each edge and then every eight to 12 inches apart horizontally. String vertically through the rows of rings and through screw eyes placed into the mounting board. Tie all the cords together and braid them for a finished look.
Wasnít so tough after all was it? The spacing does not have to remain exactly five inches. You can mathematically determine what will come out evenly for your finished length and change the amount of fabric in each fold accordingly. For example, 5 1/2-inch spacing with 16 1/2 inches of fabric for three-times fullness or 11 inches of fabric for two-times fullness.
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.