Out like a light

Sleep.   Something you may want to do after reading this post if you have no interest in sewing (just skip to the pictures like my husband does, k?).  But also, something I dreamed about for the first 8 months of Sienna's life.  Until we took charge and hired a sleep consultant. Two months later, Sienna's still a rockstar nighttime sleeper but her naps are still very inconsistent.  And, in the last couple of weeks, she has decided that afternoon naps are for sissies.  Racking our brains to figure out what could have changed (other than babies just being babies and never letting you get too comfortable with something good), I remembered that the sleep consultant strongly recommended improving upon her sleep environment; specifically making her room A LOT darker than it was.

The big window in her room had a blackout roller blind and a pair of IKEA curtains.  The thing is, when we had the roller blind cut, the dude at the store cut them a bit too short (and I probably was off in my measurement by a teeny bit), leaving a big gap on either end of the window.  Blackout my arse.  Also, the IKEA curtains are made of a thick fabric but were still letting in a ton of light.

So, as you can imagine, first sewing project on the list: line the curtains!

sewing machine

cone holder


Attempt #1

Objective: Line the curtains with fabric that I already had at home.

Process: I researched online and found a couple of ways to do this:

  • no sew option using fusible tape
  • open the curtain hems, slip in the lining and re-sew

I chose option 1 because I figured opening the seams would take forever and I could still practice sewing by hemming the lining prior to fusing it to the curtain.

Status: FAIL

Why:  After hemming the lining (I did better than I thought I would, but let's just say I would never offer my sewing services to anyone) and attaching it to the curtain, I tested the panel in her room and it. did. not. make. one. bit. of. difference.  UGH.

Lessons learned:

  • If you're trying to create a blackout effect, TEST the fabric BEFORE doing anything else!
  • Do not attempt to work with stretchy fabric when you are a beginner. It's friggin hard to work with, especially on such a large scale like curtains.
  • If your fabric cutting sucks, so will your hems. It's not one of those things that you can miraculously fix later.
  • Did you know that the difference between curtains and drapes is that drapes are lined and curtains are not?  News to me!

Sewing Skills acquired:

  • Winding the bobbin and threading the sewing machine like a pro
  • How to do a double fold hem (if I keep practicing, I may even attempt to hem my own pants!)
  • How to apply no-sew fusible tape (I did a far from perfect job, but I'm still gonna count this as a skill)



Attempt #2

Objective:  Line the curtains using blackout lining

Process: Paid a little visit to Fabricville and got me some blackout lining.  Opened up all the hems (which, it turns out, required that I also remove pompom trim that I sewed on ages ago), cut the lining to size and slipped it in to the curtain, pinned and re-sewed the hems.

curtain seams opened

blackout lining laid out

pinning in place

pinning pompoms in place

Status: (near) SUCCESS!!

Why:  Not only was the blackout lining wayyyy easier to work with, but I found my sewing groove AND the drapes now block out *most* of the light.

blackout drapes installed

The only problem is that light is still creeping through from the sides of the curtain.  

light still on sides

I think if I add some velcro to the sides and snap them to the wall, Sienna will then have the perfectly dark room that she's been hoping for (cuz I can read her mind, obvs).

Lessons learned:

  • It is not advisable to use fusible tape when working with blackout lining; the special coating on the lining could melt when ironing on the adhesive.
  • Often, the harder method is the better one, long term.  When I undid my original work with fusible tape, it took three seconds to pull apart the lining from the curtain.  Also, I found it so much easier to work with a stiff fabric that it ended up taking me much less time, surprisingly (plus, I didn't have to finish the lining, just re-sew existing hems).
  • One might just go out and buy blackout curtains right off the bat :).  Hindsight is 20/20 but at least I learned along the way.

Skills acquired:

  • Opening hems using my trusted seam ripper
  • Getting comfortable with sewing a straight line and guiding the fabric through the machine


Let's just hope that, after all this effort, Sienna once again sees the value in afternoon naps.  She be out like a light in no time!