The Balloon Shade with Gathered Top
A balloon shade is a soft, blousy window treatment that can add a decorative flair to any room. It consists of soft scallops, as little as two to as many that will cascade across the window. You will want to choose soft, light weight fabric for this type of shade. You should line this shade, but do not use interlining. You don't want the fabric to be too heavy - the idea of a balloon shade is light and airy.
You may use an inside board mount or an outside board mount to hang your shade. For details on hardware and installing the mounting board, please refer to the installing the board mount instructions in "How to Make Roman Shades."
A. For inside board mounts, measure the interior width of your window. This will be the width of your board and the finished width of your shade.
B. If you are using an outside mount, then measure the desired width of the board plus the return - the side edges of the board - usually about 1". This will be the width of your board and the finished width of your shade.
C or E. The top edge of the board to the window sill or to where you want the shade to hang when it is not raised. This will be the finished length of your shade.
Square Your Fabric
Refer to the instructions in "How to Make Roman Shades."
Cut Your Fabric
Outside Board Mount: Cut width = B x 2. Remember: B includes the width of the board PLUS the returns.
For a shade that will raise and lower: Cut length = E + 17" (for 3 permanent poufs and hem and top allowance)
For a shade that is permanently raised: Cut length = E + 27" (for 5 permanent poufs and hem and top allowance)
Inside Board Mount: Cut width = A x 2
For a shade that will raise and lower: Cut length = C + 17" (for 3 permanent poufs and hem and top allowance)
For a shade that is permanently raised: Cut length = C + 27" (for 5 permanent poufs and hem and top allowance)
Cut Your Lining
- Cut width = Cut fabric width
- Cut length = Cut fabric length
- Cut mounting strip (use shade fabric)
- Cut width = fabric cut width
- Cut length = 4"
Make Your Binding
- Cut 2 ½" wide bias strips from your fabric - this will be the ½" trim around the edge of the shade. You can also try a contrasting fabric to add interest instead.
- Cut enough to go across the bottom of the shade and up both sides.
- Sew the strips together using a ¼" hem.
Make Your Shade
- Lay your fabric right side down.
- Lay your lining right side up on top of the fabric, edges aligned.
- Bind the side and bottom edges with your binding. The binding should be ½" wide.
These instructions will not explain how to bind the edges of your shade.
Tip: If you don't know how to bind fabric edges, an alternative method is to place your fabric and lining together right sides together and stitch ½" side seams, and then sew a ½" seam at the bottom. If you decide on this method instead of the binding technique, be sure to add 1" to your cut width and ½" to your cut length for your lining and fabric. Refer to "How to Make a Cloud Shade" for details on this method.
Fold the top edge down 2" and press.
- Trim the lining at the fold line.
Sew on the Shirr Tape
- Lay the tape on the lining side of your shade ½" down from the top folded edge.
- Turn under each end of the tape ½" and pull out the cords.
- Sew a straight stitch across the top and bottom of the shirring tape.
- Sew a straight stitch across the shade between each set of cords.
Plan Where the Rings Will Be Sewn on the Back of the Shade
- First you will need to decide how many scallops you want. This is typically decided based on what type of window you are decorating. An odd number is preferable, but you can have just two scallops - you can even have just one for a very narrow window.
- Define where the outermost vertical columns of rings will be sewn; base this on the outside edges of your window, the edges of a window panel, or preferred distance in. The fabric on the outside of these columns will form the butterfly tails.
- Mark the mounting board where these columns will be. Note: You are not marking the fabric at this time, just the board.
- For two scallops, divide the distance between these marks by 2 and mark the center on the mounting board. The distance between the center mark and the outside mark should be no more than 27".
- For three scallops, divide the distance between the outside marks by and mark the board. You can customize the shade to as many scallops you see fit. For very wide windows, you may have 6 or more scallops.
Sew on the Rings
- Measure the mounting board from one of the marked ring columns to the edge of the board (A) and the return (for an outside mount). Multiply the measurement by 2. This is how far you will measure in from the edge of your shade for the outer ring columns.
- Measure the distance between the outer mark and the next interior mark on the board (B). Multiply this measurement by 2. This is how far you will measure across the shade from the outer ring columns. Do this for each interior ring column. In the example here, we only have one center mark for two scallops. You would have two extra marks if you wanted three scallops, etc.
- Refer to the instructions on marking and sewing the rings to your shade in "How To Make a Roman Shade." The first row of rings is 12" above the bottom of the shade, and each row of rings is spaced 6" apart. Instead of measuring in 1" from the edge of the shade, you will use the calculated measurement in step 1.
- Sew on the mounting strip (refer to details below)
- Mark the shirr tape with pins where the row columns intersect the tape.
- Stitch over the center of the cords in the shirr tape - the cords should be secure. This illustration does not show the sewn on mounting strip.
- Pull the cords at each end until the shade is the width of the board, or the width of the board plus returns for an outside mount.
- Adjust the fabric so that the gathers are even and the pins align with the marks on the board.
Sew on the Mounting Strip
- Fold the fabric mounting strip's edges in ½"
- Fold the strip length wise.
- Sew a zig-zag stitch across the raw edges.
- Lay the shade wrong side up.
- Align the raw edge of the strip with the first rib of the shirr tape.
- Sew a straight stitch across the mounting strip and shade where the first stitching line is on the shirr tape.
Install the Shade
Refer to the instructions on installing and rigging a board mount in "How To Make A Roman Shade."
- To create the scallops or poufs at the bottom of the shade, tie the bottom three rings together in each ring column before threading the cord up the shade. If you plan on having a "non-functional" shade, then you may want to tie as many as five rings together.
- Install the weight rod (see details below)
- Staple the mounting strip to the mounting board so that the top edge of the shade is aligned with the top edge of the board.
- Tip: Instead of using a mounting strip, you can staple the shade directly to the board. Then cover the line of staples with decorative cord.
Install the Weight Rod or Wood Dowel
- The weight rod should be 3" longer than the distance between the outer most rings.
- Wrap the rod in lining fabric. Align the rod just above the bottom row of rings. The bottom row of rings is defined by the row that is not tied.
- Center the rod and hand stitch the rod to the lining.
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