Because Roman shades operate by pulling action on strings through small loops, many problems can arise with the strings in their daily operations. The loops can pop off the back, or the string mechanism at the top of the roman shade can wear out. Here are tips on how to identify, fix, and prevent common string problems and other situations that can occur with your roman shades.
The Shade Pulls Inward on Itself
The inward pull makes the shade bunch up unevenly when it is opened. This is not actually a string problem but is caused by a lack of weight in the bottom edge of the roman shade. Slip a long wood dowel into the rod pocket at the bottom of the shade to add weight so it will pull up and fold correctly.
The Shade Pulls Up Unevenly on One Side or the Other
This problem is usually due to uneven string length. This can have two causes; first that the string was cut too short, or second, that it was not looped through all the rear lifting loops. To solve the first problem, note that the string farthest from the pulling side needs to be longest as it must reach all the way across the top of the Roman shade. When trimming the strings after installation this third-string may have been cut too short. Make sure to check the string tension before installing to see that each string is exerting even tension on the shade's sections. To solve the second problem, turn the shade over and examine the lifting loops to see they are all strung correctly. A loop may also have come detached from the back of the shade. Find the loose loop and reattach it with thicker #10 thread, or make a linking loop from a cord remnant, insert the lifting loop and sew the cord loop firmly to the shade back.
Roman shades can have cords as fine as 0.9 mm in thickness. This delicate cord will not stand up to much pulling, and will first show wear at the metal eyelets across the top of the roman shade. First, inspect the metal eyelets for rough spots that could cause cord wear. Remove and replace any eyelets that are not perfectly smooth inside and out. Restring lifting loops with the new string. Should your strings continue to wear out quickly, the string is not strong enough for the high amount of shade movement. You will need to take down the Roman shade, purchase a repair kit with 1.4 or even 1.8 mm string and restring the entire shade at the back.
Shades are not Folding Neatly
This problem can be due to fabric stiffness. Extend the shade fully and run a handheld steamer over the entire shade. Hand fold the shade where you want the folds, and steam the folds into place with the steamer. Check as well that the string lifting loops are equally spaced, and are pulling the shade into equal sections.
Shade does not come Down Smoothly
Strings may be catching on the inside of the loops. Wax the strings with neutral wax-type shoe polish.