Cape Town has been having experienceing a scorching long, hot summer. We may have a Mediterranean climate – but it’s been weeks and weeks on end – of 30’C plus temperatures – with no rain. Our city council has upgraded to Level 2 water restrictions. While we have air conditioners in some of the rooms in our house, we are loathe to use them.

Blackout curtains

Blackout curtains

A Google search on how to cool a home revealed a few ways that are eco friendly. One was to paint our roof with new technology ceramic white roof paint. Another was to install celing fans. And a third was to make black-out curtains. I was willing to try all three. Anything to get relief from the relentless heat.

Ceramic white roof paint

Ceramic white roof paint

We got in our longstanding painter to do the roof. I was worried how he would cope in the heat. He came early and worked until midday when it got too hot. He did comment that the glare from this paint was intense. It took a few extra days but it’s made a difference. My other half took responsibility for the fan. Not quite a simple as we thought. The ceiling had to be reinforced and the electrician had sort out the wiring. We needed an isolator switch.

Ceiling fan

Ceiling fan

Here’s how I made blackout curtains.

You need: –

  • hooks/cafe curtain bracket or socket
  • drill
  • screws
  • thin aluminium rod cut to size
  • curtain fabric
  • matching colour thread
  • black out fabric
  • ribbon ties (optional)
You need this to make blackout curtains

You need this to make blackout curtains

You do: –

These are not heavily gathered curtains. I wanted them to lie flush against the wall so no light or heat could pass around the sides into the room. I allowed about 10% extra fabric in the width. I also made sure they went as high as possible and that the hem at the bottom was as low as possible. Again to minimise the amount of light coming in around the curtains

Lay fabric on floor and cut to size

Lay fabric on floor and cut to size

You will need to make sure you have enough fabric to fit your window. Plus a bit for gathering. And extra for seams, a hem at the bottom and a slot for a rod at the top. If your fabric choice has a pattern then you most likely need to allow extra fabric for a pattern repeat and a seam. You also need a similar amount of blackout fabric.

We have a bay window in the one room so for that curtain I needed cafe curtain brackets and the aluminium rod had to be cut to fit exactly. That room also has a A shaped window at the top. I cut a piece of corrugated cardboard to fit that space and made a slip cover for it. It rests on top of the burglar bars. Handy that.

Cut in half to make two curtains

Cut in half to make two curtains

I cut the curtains in one piece. Then cut that piece in half to create two curtains.

Hem all around

Hem all around

Next I sewed a hem all around the curtains.

The blackout “fabric” doesn’t need to be hemmed to I cut that to be slightly smaller than the curtain pieces.

Cut blackout slightly smaller than curtains

Cut blackout slightly smaller than curtains

I folded the top over and hemmed it to make a slot for the aluminium rod to slide through.

My other half drilled holes in the wall for the hooks on either side at the top of the window. The aluminium rod dropped into the hooks. Once I slipped the aluminium rod into the slot, I had to snip through the fabric so the rod could hang onto the hook. See photo below.

Snip so rod fits onto hook

Snip so rod fits onto hook

I used something call Stop Fray (a bit like cold glue or wood glue) to seal the edges of the snip so the fabric doesn’t unravel.

The curtain hung for a day before I pinned and sewed the bottom hem. It’s amazing how much they drop. Any excess blackout that was visible was trimmed away. I also stitched the blackout  to the curtain by hand in a few spots at the side of the curtains.

Curtains against wall

Curtains against wall

If we want to open the curtains, I use a piece of ribbon to tie them back.

Come winter when we welcome the light, I can lift these curtains and rods off the hooks, pop them in a bag and pack them away on top of a cupboard.

More next week. Until then, have a great green week.

Greenie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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