Monday, June 24, 2013

Notching up on Shade Safety

A very special client is having a baby any day now.  The crib is between two windows and this expecting mom was really hoping for beautiful London shades.  Knowing full well the safety issues with shades, I was determined to find a way to make her the treatment she wanted.  However, I had to find a way where I would 100% certain the shade could not possibly present any danger in this room.  I do not want to spend a single moment wondering whether or not I did the right thing.  While ladder tapes and shrouds provide complete compliance with the new standards, I wanted an over-the-top level of assurance for these two windows.  I did not want to lose a moment's sleep wondering about them for the next 5 years.

I'm not ready to show the fronts of the treatments yet- those will come later in the summer- but I do want to share the backs, and the solution I arrived at.
I sewed by hand a 7" wide strip of winter white voile over the rows of rings and lift cord.  Ta-da.  That's it.  That's it!  The first question regarding shade safety is: Is there an exposed cord in the back?  And the answer is, no!  No exposed cord = no risk.  It cannot be accessed.  Holy cow, it is such a simple solution.
Because the sheer is so, well, sheer, it's practically invisible, and, it just scrunches up with the fabric as the shade is raised.  When I first started thinking about it, I thought I'd have to line the whole shade with this sheer.  But as my thinking evolved, I realized that it just needed to be wide enough to be flexible.  From the front it raises up in its folds just as usual.
I sewed it by hand because the shade needed to be fully made first.  I suppose if I planned well ahead of time, I could sew one side by machine first, then add the rings and string and hand-sew the other side, but I was still experimenting, so I did it all after the shade was made, and sewed by hand, not too tightly so it would remain flexible.
At the bottom, where the weight bar is tacked, the strip is sewn across part-way.  At the top it's left open to allow the lift cord through.

I think this would work with any shade except for a flat Roman: Londons, relaxed, dog-ear, or balloon shades, modified as needed for specific styles.
I was inspired by the double-sided shades made by my CHFA Forum-mates Scot Robbins, Mary Ann Quinn, and many others over the years.   I thought I could adapt that concept to this application.  Many thanks to them for sharing their ideas and photos. 


  1. You are amazing! Thanks for sharing this great idea! Sometimes simple IS better!!

  2. why won't it work for flat romans?

  3. Hi Anonymous-
    the sheer strip needs to be fully sewn shut in order to make the cord inaccessible. For a Roman shade, that would make the sheer just pleat up along with the face fabric, and the lift cord would not pull up straight. However, I'm going to be doing some experimenting, for sure!