Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Skylight Curtain Tutorial

When we moved to New England seven years ago we noticed a trend. Most of the houses had skylights. I love skylights. I love that they vent the hot air out and that during our long winter months they let light in. Lots of light. What I don't like is that my children's bedrooms are so bright when they go to bed the children (1) refuse to go to sleep while Mr. Golden Sun is still up and (2) are unable to sleep in late in the morning with Mr. Golden Sun shining in their eyes at 5.30 am.

I first whipped this skylight curtain up about six years ago for my husband, who couldn't see the t.v. or play his X-Box on weekends because of the glare on the television.

The skylights in my children's bedrooms are huge. I measured the width of the window to be 43 inches across. I added one inch onto this number for a hem. The width of the fabric would need to be 44 inches.

I then measured the length. 50 inches. I then added a few inches on the end for the rod sleeves and came up with a length of 56 inches.

Supplies needed:
  • Two fabric pieces cut 44 x 56 (make sure your backing fabric is black - my first skylight curtain has Nemo fabric for the front and back and it does not do the job well)
  • Two tension rods that extend to 60 inches (the kind you use for shower curtains - can be found at some grocery stores or at large discount stores. Pay attention to the lengths - they come in a variety of sizes - buy the ones that will fit your window)
  • Sewing machine, iron, thread, scissors, ruler, yardstick

Find a nice large table or floor and cut both your front and back fabric to size. Sit there and cut and sew extra fabric onto main piece since you used it before on a quilt and completely forgot. Actually - a patchwork front to match a homemade quilt on a bed would be nice as well. Remember to wash, dry, and iron your fabrics before cutting.

On both 44 inch sides of both the front and back fabric fold the fabric down one half inch, iron and sew. You now have a hem and your fabric is now 43 inches wide.

Place the fabrics right sides together. Sew up both of the 56 inch sides. You now have a large tube you can capture children in.
Once you release your prisoners turn the tube so it is now right side out. Iron it.

Find that large table or floor again. Place the tube on the floor with the black fabric facing you (pretty fabric will be on the floor - remember to sweep up dog hair before this part). Fold the fabric up 3 or 3 1/2 inches. I think three would have been fine but I went with 3 1/2 (see above image with ruler as a guide). Try to put your tension rod in the opening. If the widest part of the rod can easily slide in and out pin your fabric and sew. If not - adjust until the rod does slide in and out easily and then sew. You just made a sleeve for your tension rod. Repeat on other side.

Take rods and curtain to window. Insert tension rods into the curtain. Stand at window turning the rods until they fit. Stand back, admire your work and listen to your children scream "Mommy! It looks like the night sky!"

Can be taken down and washed. Can be rolled up to let in light. The kids can use it to build a fort or as a blanket for their dolls (okay - maybe just my kids). And mommy can hope it will help with bedtime / rise and shine time.

Happy Sewing!

(Edited to add: Children each slept at least one hour longer with the new skylight curtain in the bedroom window.)


mysteryhistorymom said...

Beth- You never cease to amaze me!:-) Lori

jillytacy said...

Great idea! I love the night sky print.

Kathe W. said...

This is the perfect solution for my very bright skylights for HOT sunny days! Thanks several years after you wrote this- your kids must be alsmost teeneagers.....hahah

Willie Norman said...

That sure is nifty and creative! Now, you can control the light that enters the space. But even without the curtain, the skylight looks great. And yes, they are a lovely addition to every home. Aside from the vent air, they provide natural light to the space, making it more spacious and bright.[Willie Norman]


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