Adventures in Dressmaking: Brr!! It's cold out--insulated window blind tutorial

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brr!! It's cold out--insulated window blind tutorial

Brr!!  It's cold in Oregon, and our little house could use some extra insulation on the windows.  I've sure you've seen tutorials on how to make roman shades and insulated blinds, but this one's actually a reuse tutorial: how to make insulated blinds out of a blanket.

It sounds weird, but I was thinking about my options for insulated blinds and here they are:

  • Buy the warm weather-proofing stuff from JoAnn's.  I think it's about $30/yard, but has a layer of batting in between layers of plastic-ey stuff and is qulited, and you add your fabric of choice in front.
  • Buy the rubber-backed fabrics from JoAnn's and add fabric to the front.  I've done this before, but it is really more blackout blind fabric than warm blind stuff--it makes the room completely dark, and, I imagine, a little warmer.  It's more like $8/yard if I remember right.  I don't like how dark it is, though.
  • (This was an "ah-ha!" moment:) Use extra quilt batting and make my own warm insulated blinds with a fabric backing and decorative fabric front.  Sometimes you can get quilt batting pretty cheaply.
  • (And even more "ah-ha-ha!" moment:) What existing item out there is quilted, insulated, and fabric-backed already?  Yes, blankets--remember those polyester-ey quilted bedspreads at cheap hotels in the 60's-90's?  They came in all kinds of heinous prints.  But they're the perfect weight and insulation for a window blind!  Why not use one of those, if you can find one that's not too weird-looking?
Immediately after having this last thought, I found this at the Goodwill Outlet:
It's one of those quilted bedspreads, a pretty old one, probably 60's based on the color and typeface on the tag.  I washed it, of course, and it was ready to be transformed!

Here's the simple tutorial:

  • Measure your windows.  You'll want to make blinds in pretty much exactly the same measurements as your windows in both height and width.
  • Cut the bedspread to the right size--add 1" on both vertical sides for the hems, and add about 4" to the length for the tension rod casing and the bottom hem.  Here's an example of what you'll add:
    • Window: 60" wide x 35" high
    • Shade: 62" wide x 39" long


  • The easy thing about turning the quilted bedspread into a shade is that, since it's so bulky and already quilted, you can easily fold under the edge only once and you won't have any raveling or excess bulk.  Do this on all four sides, making sure your top casing is open so the tension ride can slide through.

  • Hang with a tension rod! (Forgive the bedroom pictures; it's one of the last rooms to get decorated since we moved!)

  • Optional: Of course you can buy window shade hardware at the fabric store to make true Roman shades that you can pull up with a cord.  Or, you can go the easy way like I did and use cute grosgrain ribbon to tie the shades up on either side if you want more light!

There you go--I hope it helps if you ever find the perfect quilted bedspread! ;)  Or use the same technique with quilt batting and a back and front fabric.

19 comments:

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  1. Clever idea!! Here in Quebec city, it's getting colder everyday. Those shades would look really great in our windows. :)

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  2. oh oh, I totally do this. My mom did it when we were kids to keep the house cozy in the winter cool in the summer. I live in Central Oregon, it gets cold at night here through June. I have double a triple layered curtains before, and I am going to be starting on some Holiday themed living room shades and pillows to spice it up a bit...
    great reuse!

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  3. I think if I found a blanket that was heinous in appearance but easy on the wallet, I'd just use it as the middle of a prettier fabric sammich. :)

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  4. LOVE IT! What a great find.
    Now about those pillow cases. Are those in a previous post and if not, please tell me about how you made them. I love them.

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  5. Thanks!
    @Tara, I thought I'd posted about those, but I guess not, so I'll do a post on them tomorrow!!

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  6. What an awesome use for those terrible feeling polyester bedspreads. Nice work!

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  7. Thanks for this post! Draft at windows is always a problem for me, so I'll definitely keep this in mind as the weather turns colder! What a lovely and quick way to both fix a problem/create a homemade, handmade project. :)

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  8. Excellent idea! I live in this ancient, drafty house. Will definitely be making some of these. Now if only I didn't have so many windows....

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  9. This is smart- I have lovely, big, old, drafty windows that need some insulation. I've put the plastic wrap stuff up in the past, but I'm never terribly impressed with it.

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  10. A very smart idea, can work with so many ways..... Thanks for sharing..
    Can you please spare a little bit of your time for my new post, its something different I hope you enjoyed
    http://craftaworld.blogspot.com/
    Love
    Farah

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  11. What a fantastic idea!! I'm fighting the urge to use a lot of profane language to properly express my excitement, lol

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  12. What a great idea? thanks for the info. I have several older quilted blankets, which I will use.

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  13. Love your idea here!!! Have been needing something to warm up my house during winter months (since the plastic alone is not working). Cannot wait to go hit up my local thrift store and make my own!

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  14. Another approach is to use an insulated roman shade kit. They can be very effective and cut a lot of time and hassle out of the project.
    A good one that includes insulating materials is available from:
    www.diyinsulatedshades,com

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  15. you made it easy to follow...turned out beautiful..like it.

    window shutters clayton, ca

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  16. Brilliant idea! thanks for sharing!!

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