Monday, May 6, 2013

blackout curtains.

Watching the sunset slowly creep its way closer to the summer equinox is certainly preferable to the slow crawl towards constant darkness here in Seattle. That being said, this is the first year that I'm experiencing this visible changing of the seasons where I'm not enjoying a few extra hours of gorgeous sunlight with my love (with a glass of wine on the patio? It seems never again, I'm afraid...). Instead it has translated into more difficultly for bedtime with babies. What was our perfect little bedtime routine has now become obsolete when to the boys it looks like it's high noon outside.

The added fact that naps had been nonexistent until just recently meant it was time to find a solution to help them (and us!) sleep better.

Enter the blackout curtain.

A fellow new mom mentioned she had blackout curtains and it helped her sweet babe nap. A quick inquiry led to a few conclusions: 1) the really nice ones usually really do work and 2) they are freaking expensive. Our bedroom has two floor to ceiling windows, a giant almost wall-to-wall window and an open doorway facing west. There is a lot of window to cover up. At $60 a pop for the cheapy ones that aren't guaranteed to work, I was hesitant.

Then I talked with another mama who told me about blackout lining. It can be found in pretty much any fabric store. I found mine at the Pacific Fabric & Crafts outlet in SODO in the curtain and upholstery area for $7.99/yd. Since I wanted to blackout all the windows in the upstairs I bought 10 yards and went to town. I used a coupon for 20% found in this year's Chinook Book, so for the cost of roughly one set of curtains I was able to blackout the entire second floor of the house myself.

This is probably the simplest project I have ever done. Seriously. If I can do this in one day at home by myself with two four-month-old-twin-boys to take care of at the same time, you can do this. 

I started by cutting out a piece of blackout lining slightly smaller than the curtain itself. (I actually made these curtains a few years ago for separate windows in different rooms in our old house and then repurposed them in the bedroom in this house when we moved in last year.) 

Next I pinned the lining to the back of the curtain, a few centimeters from the top. 

Then I sewed along the seam of the curtain hole. I used a contrasting color and stitched a few centimeters off of the main seam so one day when the boys are older if I decide I want to take the blackout lining off it will be easy to distinguish from the construction of the curtains themselves, but feel free to use matching thread and sew directly over whatever stitching already exist to hide your work.

The before and after contrast is insane! (With two adorable little monsters on the bed, enjoying the new-found darkness.)

Et voila. The room isn't completely blacked out mostly due to the fact that there are six separate curtains covering the giant window, but now it looks like 10pm no matter what the hour. The room is significantly cooler, too, a perk with the crazy hot streak we've had this week. (I'm not complaining, it's just unlike Seattle to reach 80 in May!)

Here are the side windows...

...and the open doorway.

Like I said, this was by far the easiest project I have ever done It took only a few hours, while taking care of the babes at the same time.

Nap time so far has gone much better than before - less light means they sleep longer and are more awake and cheerful when they wake up! More time for mommy while they nap and more fun when they are up! Win-win!!! I will let you know if bedtime gets progressively easier, as that was the ultimate goal, though that one might take a few days to really see a result one way or the other.

In the meantime, happy sleeping!

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