Fabric Covered Mini Blinds

kl_blindsdownWe have some unique blinds on our 26 that I have never seen anywhere else – very functional, inexpensive, and easy to make. A previous owner made them originally. Basically it involves using old mini blind slats and making an accordion casing out of fabric. They are mounted with snap screws and ultrasuede straps. I re-made the whole set last year for under $100. If you sew at all you could make them. I prefer the fabric over the plastic or wood minis because they are quieter, and I think it adds a nice contrast to the teak cabin walls. Each blind has a finished size of 25.5 inches long by 22.75 inches wide.

kl_snap_screwMaterials
21 1” plastic mini-blind slats, each cut to 22” long
1 piece drapery fabric cut 26.5” by 23.75”
1 piece drapery lining cut 26.5” by 23.75”
2 straps, 9” long
2 snap screws with snap heads, and tool to install them (see Figure 1)
Thread

Assembly
Fold under 1/2 inch along one side of fabric and press. Repeat for one side of lining. Place fabric and lining right sides together. Both pressed under edges should be together on one side. Stitch top, one side (the one that wasn’t pressed), and bottom using 1/2 inch seam allowance. Turn right side out and press. Starting from bottom of blind, stitch 21 casings, each about 1 1/2 inches. Be sure that the pressed edges stay folded under. The top casing will be a bit larger than the others. Insert slats and stitch the final side closed. Use an awl to punch two holes in the top of the blind. Be sure to punch through the mini-blind slat in the top casing. Install snap heads at one end of each strap, and punch a hole through the other end.

kl_blindsupInstallation
To install, drill two holes in the saloon wall over the window. Place the strap against the saloon wall with the smooth side of the snap head toward the outside of the boat. Then place the blind over the strap with the lining side facing toward the outside of the boat, aligning the holes in the blind and the strap. Screw the snap screw through the blind and the strap into the wall (see photo showing blinds rolled up, below). Repeat for the other strap.

Tips

  • If you experience “fabric creep” when stitching the casings, try basting the layers together by hand before stitching. Or, if you have a walking foot, use it. If you don’t, the blinds may not hang straight.
  • When putting the slats in the casings, alternate the curvature of the slats so that they stack nicely when gathered up with the strap.
  • If you plan to wash the fabric blinds instead of dry cleaning, then prewash the fabrics before cutting and assembling the blinds. Rip out the final seam of stitching to remove slats for washing, then re-sew after cleaning. Use the longest stitch length that looks reasonable to make the seam easier to rip out.
  • The slats used in my blinds have holes in them where the draw strings passed through in the original mini-blinds. The fabric that I used is light enough that you can see these holes when the blinds are lowered on a sunny day (you can see them in the picture). If this bothers you, be sure to cut slats that don’t have holes, or use a heavier fabric. You could also try putting tape across the holes.

Kelly Lange
Lil’ LeRoy – NT 26-092
boogiex@jhu.edu

Leave a Reply