Title:
Customizable row assembly and method of manufacturing a window covering
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A customizable width panel and anchor member for a window covering. The panel is customizable in width and preferably comprises a plurality of spaced openings along a longitudinal portion thereof. The anchor member, which is restrainedly positionable with a control member has a selectable width and is restrainedly positioned with the longitudinal portion of the panel.



Inventors:
Yu, Fu-lai (San Hsia Town, TW)
Huang, Chin-tien (San Hsia Town, TW)
Yu, Shun-chi (San Hsia Town, TW)
Application Number:
10/984066
Publication Date:
05/11/2006
Filing Date:
11/09/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47H5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PUROL, DAVID M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLSON & HIERL, LTD. (20 NORTH WACKER DRIVE, 36TH FLOOR, CHICAGO, IL, 60606, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A customizable width row assembly suitable for use in a window covering including at least one control member, the row comprising: an adjustable width flexible panel having a central portion and at least one longitudinal portion, wherein the longitudinal portion defines a plurality of spaced openings; at least one anchor member having a selectable width that is positioned substantially parallel with the spaced openings and restrainedly positioned with the at least one longitudinal portion of the panel; and wherein the anchor member is adapted to be connectable with the at least one control member through at least one of the spaced openings of the panel.

2. The row of claim 1, wherein the control member is a cord including a plurality of spaced loops and the anchor member is operatively connected to the cord by positioning the anchor member through at least one of the spaced loops.

3. The row of claim 1, wherein the control member is adapted to be connectable to the anchor member with a fastener module.

4. The row of claim 3, wherein the control member is a cord that includes a plurality of spaced loops and the fastener module includes an engagement member, whereby the fastener module is restrainedly positioned with the control member by passing the engagement member through at least one of the spaced loops.

5. The row of claim 1, wherein the anchor member includes a substantially rigid rod and at least one tubular member connected with the rod.

6. The row of claim 5, wherein the tubular member is threadably engaged with the substantially rigid rod.

7. The row of claim 1, wherein the anchor member includes a plurality of rods in adjustable sliding engagement with a mounting sleeve.

8. The row of claim 1, wherein the anchor member comprises a trimmable rod.

9. The row of claim 8, wherein the anchor member further includes a plurality of score lines.

10. The row of claim 1, wherein the anchor member extends transversely across substantially the entire longitudinal portion of the panel.

11. The row of claim 1, wherein the anchor member is removable from the panel.

12. The row of claim 1, wherein the panel further includes: a second longitudinal portion defining a plurality of spaced openings, the second longitudinal portion located opposite the central portion from the first longitudinal portion; and a second anchor member adapted to be connectable with a second control member through at least one of the spaced openings.

13. The row of claim 1, wherein the panel further includes: a second longitudinal portion defining a plurality of spaced openings, the second longitudinal portion formed with the central portion; and a second anchor member adapted to be connectable with a second control member through at least one of the spaced openings.

14. A customizable width panel suitable for use in a window covering including at least one control member, the panel comprising a longitudinal portion and defining a plurality of spaced openings, the openings being positioned along the longitudinal portion of the panel, wherein the control member is operatively connected with the panel through at least one of the plurality of openings and the opening through which the control member is connected with the panel is adjacent to at least one other opening free of connection to a control member.

15. The panel of claim 14, wherein the control member is operatively connected to an anchor member restrainedly positioned with a longitudinal portion of the panel.

16. The panel of claim 14, wherein the control member is a cord including a plurality of spaced loops and an anchor member is operatively connected therewith by positioning the anchor member through at least one of the spaced loops and the anchor member is restrainedly positionable with the longitudinal portion of the panel.

17. The panel of claim 16, wherein the control member is operatively connected to the anchor member with a fastener module.

18. The panel of claim 17, wherein the fastener module includes an engagement member, whereby the fastener module is restrainedly positioned with the control member by passing the engagement member through at least one of the spaced loops.

19. The panel of claim 15, wherein the anchor member includes a substantially rigid rod and at least one tubular member connected with the rod.

20. The panel of claim 15, wherein the tubular member is threadably engaged with the substantially rigid rod.

21. The panel of claim 15, wherein the anchor member includes a plurality of rods in adjustable sliding engagement with a mounting sleeve.

22. The panel of claim 15, wherein the anchor member comprises a trimmable rod.

23. The panel of claim 22, wherein the anchor member further includes a plurality of score lines.

24. An anchor member for a window covering including a plurality of customizable rows and at least one control member, wherein the plurality of customizable rows include at least one adjustable width panel having at least one longitudinal portion, the anchor member comprising: one or more substantially elongated members restrainedly positionable with the longitudinal portion of the panel, wherein the width of the anchor member is set by adjusting the overall width of the one or more elongated members, and wherein the anchor member is adapted to be connectable with the at least one control member.

25. The anchor member of claim 24, further including a substantially rigid rod and at least one tubular member connected with the rod.

26. The anchor member of claim 25, wherein the tubular member is threadably engaged with the substantially rigid rod.

27. The anchor member of claim 24, further including a plurality of rods in sliding engagement with a mounting sleeve.

28. The anchor member of claim 24, further including a trimmable rod.

29. The anchor member of claim 28, further including a plurality of score lines.

30. A method of assembling a customizable width window covering comprising a plurality of rows and at least one control member, the plurality of rows including an anchor member and a panel defining a plurality of spaced openings, the method comprising: obtaining measurements of a window space; adjusting the width of the plurality of panels in accordance with the measurements of the window space; restrainedly positioning an anchor member with each of the plurality of panels at a longitudinal portion of the panel; and restrainedly positioning at least one of the plurality of anchor members with the at least one control member through at least one of the spaced openings.

31. The method of claim 30, wherein restrainedly positioning at least one of the plurality of anchor members with the at least one control member includes removably securing a fastener module to the control member and securing the fastener module with the anchor member.

32. The method of claim 31, wherein the fastener module includes a transverse rod and the control member defines at least one loop, and securing the fastener module to the control member includes engaging the transverse rod with the control member by guiding the transverse rod through the at least one loop.

33. The method of claim 31, wherein a portion of the fastener member is guided through an opening in the panel, and the portion of the fastener member is secured with the anchor member.

34. The method of claim 30 further including adjusting the width of the anchor members.

35. A window covering comprising: a plurality of rows; a headrail; at least one control member suspended from the headrail and connecting the plurality of rows to the headrail; wherein at least one of the plurality of rows includes an adjustable width flexible panel and an adjustable width anchor member; the panel having a central portion and at least one longitudinal portion, wherein the longitudinal portion defines a plurality of spaced openings; and at least one anchor member positioned substantially parallel with the plurality of spaced openings and restrainedly positioned with the longitudinal portion of the panel; and wherein the anchor member is adapted to be connectable with the at least one control member through at least one of the spaced openings.

36. The window covering of claim 35, wherein the control member is a cord including a plurality of spaced loops and the anchor member is operatively connected to the cord by positioning the anchor member through at least one of the spaced loops.

37. The window covering of claim 35, wherein the control member is adapted to be connectable to the anchor member with a fastener module.

38. The window covering of claim 37, wherein the control member is a cord that includes a plurality of spaced loops and the fastener module includes an engagement member, whereby the fastener module is restrainedly positioned with the control member by passing the engagement member through at least one of the spaced loops.

39. A method for manufacturing a window covering, the method comprising: providing a roll of fabric having at least one longitudinal portion defining a plurality of spaced openings; separating a portion of the roll of fabric along a line substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal portion thereby forming a customized panel, whereby the panel includes a longitudinal mounting portion defining a plurality of spaced openings; restrainedly positioning an anchor member with the longitudinal mounting portion; and operatively connecting a control member to the anchor member.

40. The method of claim 39, wherein the width of the anchor member is adjusted according to the longitudinal mounting portion.

41. The method of claim 39, wherein operatively connecting the control member to the anchor member comprises removably securing the control member to a fastener module and removably securing the fastener module to the anchor member.

42. The method of claim 39, wherein the longitudinal portion of the roll of fabric defines a hollow loop.

43. The method of claim 42, wherein restrainedly positioning the anchor member with the longitudinal mounting portion includes inserting the anchor member through the loop.

44. The method of claim 43, wherein operatively connecting the control member to the anchor member includes removably securing a fastener to the anchor member through one of the plurality of spaced openings.

45. The method of claim 39, wherein the control member is a control cord.

46. The method of claim 45, wherein the control cord defines a plurality of spaced loops.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a customizable row assembly and method of manufacturing a window covering. More particularly, this invention relates to panel and anchor members for rows in a window covering that may be customized in size to fit a variety of window spaces.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Decorative window coverings are popular items for providing privacy and blocking light. These window coverings take on various forms, such as Roman shades, Venetian blinds, vertical blinds, honeycomb shades, and the like. Typically, window coverings include a panel or plurality of rows of panels that cover an opening, which are connected to an adjustment mechanism in a headrail with one or more control members, such as cords.

For example, one popular type of window covering is known as a Roman shade. This type of shade consists of a fabric material suspended along its top edge from a head rail and is gathered at spaced intervals to provide a series of soft folds across the face of the fabric. Consequently, the typical Roman shade has a cascaded or softly pleated appearance. Such Roman shades are constructed so that when they are raised, they gather from the bottom in generally horizontal folds or pleats until the entire shade resides near the top of the window covering. In some versions, the top of the window covering may also be lowered. The shades are operated by pulling on control members, which are attached to the shade. The control members are usually secured to a bottom portion of the panel with adhesive, ultrasonic welding, sewing, tying or the like.

An alternative to the conventional Roman shade is disclosed in co-pending application Ser. No. 10/427,829, which is hereby incorporated by reference. Unlike the standard Roman shade, the Roman style shade disclosed therein allows the opening of the individual rows, which creates gaps in the face of the shade without requiring the entire shade to be raised. The plurality of rows of panels forming the window covering are secured to control cords, and are narrowed by raising or lowering of the control cords.

Another common type of window covering is a Venetian blind. Venetian blinds are typically constructed of a plurality of slats supported by a pair of ladders, which are controlled by an adjustment mechanism in a head rail. The ladder typically includes a pair of parallel cords suspended from the head rail and connected to a bottom rail. A number of rungs span across the parallel cords and support the slats. An alternative to the conventional Venetian blind is disclosed in co-pending application Ser. No. 10/413,200 filed on Apr. 14, 2003, and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,792,996, which is hereby incorporated by reference. Unlike the conventional Venetian blind, the blind disclosed therein utilizes non-ladder control members and has a configuration that allows the rows of slats to conceal the control members and holes for the control cords when the rows of slats are closed.

With any of the aforementioned window coverings, a problem that exists is a result of the fact that window spaces come in many different widths. Because of this, it is typical that window coverings need to be custom ordered to fit a particular window space. For example, with Venetian blinds, the head rail, bottom rail and blind slats would need to be cut to particular widths, and then assembled by the manufacturer. This custom process requires a substantial amount of time to custom build blinds for each particular window because an order must be placed with a retailer, which then sends the customer order to the manufacturer for assembly of the blind. Several days or even weeks may pass between when the customer chooses the window coverings and when the finished window covering is finally received.

The present invention solves the shortcomings of the prior art by providing a row assembly that is are easily customized in width to fit a variety of window spaces.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to window coverings comprising a plurality of rows. In particular, each row assembly of the window covering includes a panel that is customizable in width, such as to fit the width of a desired window opening. Window coverings with which the row assembly of the present invention is suitable for use typically include at least one control member, such as a cord. Examples of suitable window coverings are described above.

The panel includes a main or central portion and at least a first longitudinal portion, where the first longitudinal portion defines a plurality of spaced openings. In some embodiments, the panel also includes a second longitudinal portion on the opposite side of the main portion from the first longitudinal portion. In other embodiments, a second longitudinal portion is positioned within the main portion. The second longitudinal portion also defines a row of spaced openings. The openings are preferably spaced at regular intervals.

The panel may be formed of any trimmable or foldable material, but is preferably formed of a relatively thin flexible material, such as woven or non-woven fabric, film, paper, or the like. Alternatively, the panel may be formed of thin strips of woods.

An anchor member is also typically included with the row, and the control member is restrainedly positioned with the anchor member through at least one of the spaced openings. The anchor member may also be adjustable in width and is positioned in substantially parallel relationship with the at least one row of spaced openings and restrainedly positioned with the longitudinal portion of the panel. Alternatively, an appropriate width anchor member can be selected for a customized panel. In either event, the anchor member may be restrainedly positioned with the panel by securing an edge portion of the panel to the panel body to form a loop within which an anchor member is guided. Alternatively, the anchor member may be fixedly secured to the panel by way of adhesive, sewing or the like. The anchor member could also be formed integrally with the panel such that it is actually a part of the panel. It is preferred that the anchor member is removable from the panel.

The anchor members can be configured in various different manners. In several embodiments, the anchor members can include interconnected tube and rod members. These tube and rod members can be secured in position with one another by frictional engagement, threaded engagement, or the like. The width of the anchor members which preferably extends across all or most of the width of the panel may be are selected by sliding the tube over the rod to shorten the overall width, or by threading the tube onto the rod. Alternatively, the anchor members may be adjusted by trimming portions of the tube. In another embodiment, the anchor member can be formed from a plurality of elongated members, such as rods, operatively connected by a mounting sleeve. The overall width of the elongated members can be adjusted by sliding one member relative to another. In yet another embodiment, the anchor member may be formed of a trimmable material, such that adjustment of the anchor member is accomplished by cutting. Anchor members can also be provided in various stock widths, such that the appropriate width anchor members are selected and utilized. To further facilitate the shortening of the anchor member, scoring lines may be provided to aid in cutting or breaking of the extra width. It should be noted that for the sake of consistency in terminology, the foregoing description of the width of the anchor member denotes the axial measure of the anchor member.

The plurality of spaced openings enables stock widths of panels for window coverings to be sold that can be easily narrowed to custom widths at the point of sale or by the customer. Alternatively, an entire roll of panel material can be provided and appropriate mounting widths, i.e., the size of panel for a particular window space, cut as desired. The plurality of spaced openings enables stock widths of panels to be narrowed or a desired width of material to be selected from a fabric roll, and the control members of the window covering to be restrainedly positioned with the panels through whichever one of the spaced openings corresponds to the control hardware found in the headrail of the window covering. For example, a head rail may have hardware that suspends a pair of control cords from positions 5 inches from opposite edges of the head rail. A stock width panel can be trimmed to fit within the window space and secured with the control cords at the openings positioned approximately 5 inches from the edges of the panel.

In the case of stock width panels, narrowing the width of the panels may be accomplished in a number of ways. One method is to trim the extra width of material with shears or other mechanical cutting implement. Another is to fold excess material over the main portion of the panel and adhere the folded over material to the main portion. Yet another alternative is to include perforations extending from top to bottom across the panel that enable easy and controlled tearing of marginal portions of the panel. The same trimming or cutting methods may be employed where the panel material is provided as a roll of fabric.

One particular advantage of such a row of a window covering is that stock widths of panels or an entire roll of material and anchor members may be obtained, and rather than requiring the customer to place an order for special width panels and anchor members and wait for their completion, the widths of the panels and anchor members can be customized quickly at the store or by the customer at home. It should be noted that rather than customize the anchor members a supply of anchor members of various widths can be provided such that no trimming of the anchor members is required. Instead, suitable width anchor members may be chosen. As such, selecting the suitable anchor member can be done by adjusting the width of an anchor member or simply choosing an appropriate width anchor member. It should be noted that the width of the anchor member does not necessarily have to exactly or even substantially match the width of the panel.

The present invention is particularly advantageous in that it allows easy replacement of rows of a window covering. For example, if a panel of a window covering requires replacement due to damage, wear, or staining, an appropriate width of panel may be purchased and installed into the existing window covering without requiring a special order for the replacement. Other advantages are readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings,

FIG. 1 is a perspective rear view of an embodiment of a row assembly of a window covering with a panel and an anchor member according to the present invention, a portion of the panel is partially cut away;

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of the anchor member of FIG. 1 in a fully extended state;

FIG. 3 is a perspective rear view of the row assembly of FIG. 1, with the anchor member in a shortened state;

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of an anchor member of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a perspective rear view of the row assembly of FIG. 1, wherein a portion of the panel and anchor members are trimmed to the desired width;

FIG. 6 is an alternative embodiment of a row assembly including a panel and alternative anchor members according to the present invention, a portion of the panel partially cut away;

FIG. 7 is a cross sectional view of the anchor member of FIG. 6 in a fully extended state;

FIG. 8 is a schematic perspective view of the row assembly of FIG. 6 with the panel narrowed by folding and gluing;

FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view of an alternative anchor member having threaded members;

FIG. 10 is a cross sectional view of yet another alternative anchor member having scoring lines for trimming;

FIG. 11 is a schematic perspective view of another alternative anchor member having a pair of parallel rods operatively connected by a mounting sleeve;

FIG. 12 is a cross sectional view of another alternative anchor member formed of a cuttable material;

FIG. 13 is an enlarged view of a panel and anchor member restrainedly positioned with a control member;

FIG. 14 is an enlarged view of an alternate method of restrainedly positioning a panel and anchor member with a control member;

FIG. 15 is a perspective front view of a Roman style shade embodiment of a window covering comprising rows including the panels and anchor members;

FIG. 16 is a perspective front view of another Roman style shade embodiment of a window covering comprising rows including the panels and anchor members; and

FIG. 17 is an enlarged partial view of a row of a Venetian type blind according to the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

The invention disclosed herein is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms. Shown in the drawings and described hereinbelow in detail are preferred embodiments of the invention. It is to be understood, however, that the present disclosure is an exemplification of the principles of the invention and does not limit the invention to the illustrated embodiments.

As shown in FIG. 1, a row 1 is shown. The row 1 includes a panel 10 that includes a main or central portion 11 and a longitudinal portion 12. The longitudinal portion 12 forms a loop and defines a plurality of spaced openings 14. The loop may be formed by overlapping a portion of the panel 10 over itself and securing an edge to the main portion 11 of the panel 10 through any means known in the art such as gluing, welding, sewing or the like. Inserted within longitudinal loop portion 12 is anchor member 16. In this embodiment, anchor member 16 is formed of a pair of sleeve or tube members 18 and 20, and a central rod member 22. Each of tube members 18 and 20, as well as central rod member 22 may be formed of any suitable relatively rigid material such as plastic, polyurethane, thermoplastic resin, polypropylene, lightweight metal, wood, or the like.

Panel 10 further includes a plurality of spaced openings 24 along a lower longitudinal loop portion 26 of the panel 10. This lower or second longitudinal portion is on the opposite side of the main portion 11 from the first longitudinal portion 12. The lower longitudinal loop portion 26 is formed in a similar manner as described above. Also, as with the previously discussed loop portion 12, an anchor member 28 is inserted within loop portion 26, which is formed of a pair of sleeve or tube members 30 and 32, and a central rod member 34 (all shown in phantom). Referring also to FIG. 2, a cross section of anchor member 16 is shown in its fully extended state. As shown, the central rod member 22 is partially inserted into each of tube members 18 and 20.

If it is desired to have a window covering of narrower width, the width of anchor members 16 and 28 may each be shortened as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. In particular, the central rod member 22 is more fully inserted into each of tube members 18 and 20 such that the overall width of the anchor members 16 and 28 is decreased.

The panel 10 may be trimmed to the desired width by any suitable means. For example, the extra width of material may be trimmed with scissors or fabric shears as shown in FIG. 3, or paper trimmer-type cutter. In some cases it may not be necessary to shorten the anchor members as discussed above. The material forming the tube members, such as tube members 18 and 20 can be formed of a cuttable material such as polypropylene such that the panel 10 and anchor members 16 and 28 are cut manually, such as shown in FIG. 5.

The spaced openings 14 of panel 10 are shown as not extending across the entire width of the panel 10 for ease of illustration, however, in the preferred embodiment the spaced openings are positioned across the entire width of the panel 10. For example, if the panel material is provided in the form of a roll, the spaced openings are positioned all along the longitudinal portion so as to enable any width of panel to be cut therefrom.

Shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 is an alternate embodiment for the panel and anchor members. In this embodiment panel 110 is essentially the same as in the previous embodiment. Disposed within longitudinal loop portion 112 is an anchor member 116. In this embodiment, rather than having a pair of tubular members connected by a central rod, anchor member 116 includes a central tube 122 connecting a pair of rods 118 and 120. Each of rods 118 and 120 may be slid into central tube 122 such that the overall anchor member 10 is of the desired width. As in the previous embodiment, panel 110 includes a second anchor member 128 positioned within longitudinal loop portion 126.

Referring to FIG. 8, an alternate method of adjusting the width of the panel 110 is shown. Rather than cutting away the extra material, a portion 111 of the panel 110 may be folded over and adhered to the panel 110. This adhesion process can be done by any method known in the art such as gluing, adhesive tape, sewing, or the like. This folding process can also be utilized to provide a cleaner edge to a previously trimmed panel.

Referring to FIGS. 9 through 12, additional alternate embodiments of anchor members that may be used with a panel as described above are shown. FIG. 9 shows an anchor member 216 including a pair of tube members 218 and 220 which are connected by a central rod member 222. Tube members 218 and 220 each include an internal thread portion 219 and 221, respectively. Similarly, central rod member 222 includes threaded portions 223 and 224. Adjustment of the overall width of anchor member 216 can thus be accomplished by threading the tube members 218 and 220 onto the central rod member 222 as necessary. FIG. 10 shows an anchor member 316 which is a single rod, but includes a plurality of scoring lines 318. Accordingly, the overall width of anchor member 316 may be shortened by trimming or snapping the rod at the desired scoring lines. Shown as FIG. 11 is yet another embodiment of an alternative anchor member 416. Anchor member 416 includes a pair of rods 418 and 420 operatively connected in a laterally adjustable sliding relationship with mounting sleeve 422. As yet another alternative, anchor member 450 can be a uniform width of material such as shown in FIG. 12. In this embodiment, the anchor member 450 is formed of a material cuttable with conventional hand tools. For example, the anchor member 450 may be formed of polyurethane, polypropylene, or other lightweight plastic or wood.

The panels and anchor members discussed may be restrainedly positioned with the control cords of a window covering according any method known in the art. However, two methods may enable rows to be readily removed for replacement or cleaning. One method is shown in FIG. 13. Row 500 includes panel 510 and anchor member 516 positioned within longitudinal loop portion 512. A control member, such as cord 540, which includes a plurality of loops (only one shown) formed therewith, is restrainedly positioned with anchor member 516 by guiding anchor member 516 through loop 542.

Another way to restrainedly position a control member with a panel and anchor member is through the use of a fastener module. For example, as shown in FIG. 14, a row 600 including panel 610 and anchor member 616 positioned within loop portion 612 is restrainedly positioned with control cord 640 through use of fastener module 642. In this embodiment, fastener module 642 includes a clip portion 644 that grasps anchor member 616. Fastener module 642 further includes a housing 646 and a transverse rod 648. Similar to the previous embodiment, control cord 640 defines at least one loop 641 through which transverse rod 648 is guided, thereby restrainedly positioning the panel 610 and anchor member 616 with the control cord 640. Examples of suitable fastener modules are discussed in a co-pending patent application Ser. No. ______, and entitled Fastener Module for a Window Covering and Method filed on Oct. 21, 2004 by the inventors Messrs. Fu-Lai Yu, Chin-Tien Huang, and Shun-Chi Yu, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

Shown in FIG. 15 is an embodiment of a window covering 700 according to the present invention comprising a headrail 702, control wands 704 and 706, and a plurality of rows 710 that may be customized in any of the ways discussed above. The particular embodiment shown is a Roman style shade such as disclosed in co-pending application Ser. No. 10/427,829. FIG. 16 is an alternate embodiment of a Roman style shade. The primary difference is the mechanism for raising and lowering the control cords. In this embodiment, the control wands 754 and 756 of window covering 750 extend from opposite sides of headrail 752.

FIG. 17 is yet another embodiment of a row 800 according to the present invention. The row 800 is a slat from a Venetian type blind such as is disclosed in co-pending application Ser. No. 10/413,200 filed on Apr. 14, 2003, and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,792,996. In this embodiment, the first longitudinal portion 812 is at a edge portion of the row 800, and a second longitudinal portion 826 is formed within the main portion of the panel 810. As in the previous examples, panel 810 is made of a flexible material that may be adjusted in width. Each of the longitudinal portions 812 and 826 are operatively connected to control cords 802 and 804, respectively. Control cord 802 is restrainedly positioned with the longitudinal portion 812 by engaging anchor member 806 with control cord 802 by passing the anchor member 806 through a loop 808 formed therein. Control cord 804 is operatively connected with the second longitudinal portion 826 by engaging a fastener module 830 therewith, and engaging the fastener module 830 with anchor member 816 through opening 814. Anchor members 806 and 816 may take any of the forms of anchor members discussed above.

While in the embodiments described above, the panel is described as defining a plurality of spaced openings, it is contemplated that such spaced openings may, in some embodiments not be necessary. For example, rather than have a fastener module access the anchor member through an opening, the fastener module could be operatively connected with the anchor member by being secured thereto over the panel.

As discussed, the customizable width panel and anchor member may be provided in various forms. For example the panel material may be provided in the form of a roll, or in various stock widths. In the roll example, a seller at the point of sale, upon receiving an order, cuts sections of panel material from the roll to the desired width. Anchor members, such as those described above are secured with the longitudinal portions of the cut panels. Rather than adjust the width of the anchor member, it is also possible that a supply of anchor members of different fixed widths can be provided to accommodate different window spaces. A supply of control cords with fastener members secured therewith are also provided.

The assembly of a window covering with the panels, anchor members and control cords may be done at any point in the supply chain, or by the final consumer. The window space measurements are obtained and widths of panel material are trimmed or customized to fit within the desired window space. For example, desired widths of fabric are unrolled off a roll of fabric. Alternatively, customizing of the width may also be done to pre-cut panel widths, such as by trimming the pre-cut panel with scissors, or by folding and gluing, or the like. For each panel, anchor members are restrainedly positioned with opposed longitudinal portions of the panel such as by guiding the anchor member through loops formed in the fabric. The width of the anchor member, as discussed above, may also adjusted by any of the methods discussed above.

Each panel is also secured to a cord member. The preferred method of accomplishing this is by securing a fastener module to the anchor member through an opening in the longitudinal portion of the panel. The fastener module is also restrainedly positioned with a cord member. Alternatively, when the anchor member is guided through the loop in the fabric panel, it may also be guided through a loop in the cord member. The cord members are also installed with the headrail for the window covering by guiding the cords through the given hardware, such as cord locks, rotatable drums, or the like.

The order in which the various components of the window covering are customized and assembled can vary. For example, the cords can be installed with the window hardware and the customized panels attached to the cords suspended in the window space. Alternatively, the entire window covering can be assembled and then installed in the window space. Also, the securement of the cords to the anchor member depends on whether the cords include fastener members or not. The order of assembly will be readily apparent to one skilled in the art.

The following is a preferred method of assembly. A roll of fabric is provided. The roll of fabric includes at least one longitudinal portion defining a plurality of spaced openings. A portion of the roll of fabric is separated along a line substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal portion. In other words, widths of fabric panels are cut or otherwise separated from the roll such that a customized panel is formed. Accordingly, the customized panel, which was separated from the roll, also defines a longitudinal portion having a plurality of spaced openings and may be referred to as a longitudinal mounting portion.

An anchor member is restrainedly positioned with the longitudinal mounting portion. For example, the longitudinal portion preferably defines a loop through which the anchor member is inserted. The width of the anchor member may be adjusted to fit the customized panel if necessary.

A control member, such as a cord, is connected to the anchor member. As discussed above, this is preferably accomplished through the use of a fastener module that is removably secured to the control member and the anchor member through one of the spaced openings. It is also preferred that the control cord defines a plurality of spaced loops as discussed above, and individual fastener modules are secured at each of the spaced loops. To assemble, the desired length of control cord with pre-hung fastener modules is cut and the fastener modules secured to the anchor members of the rows of the window covering.

The foregoing descriptions are to be taken as illustrative, but not limiting. Still other variants within the spirit and scope of the present invention will readily present themselves to those skilled in the art.