Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Basement Blackout Curtains

The first basement progress post can be found here, and this is the second post in the series.
what this end of the basement currently looks like

Like I said in my first basement progress post, the main room in our basement is a multi-purpose room: the kids' play room, my sewing and craft room, and our home theater.

We don't have a TV upstairs because we have a projector in the basement. Well, that and we don't have cable and can't pull in local channels with rabbit ears because of all our tall trees. We don't mind since Amazon Prime and Netflix are cheaper than cable. Whether we're watching DVDs or streaming tv shows, we have a much better viewing experience than we would with a run-of-the-mill TV.

The only problem is if we want to watch a movie while it's still light outside: there's two glass doors that lead to the patio I built and that face the setting sun. All that sun is great if we're playing or creating, but not so good when we're trying to watch a movie. Several years ago I bought fabric for curtains and two black sheets to line the curtains. I wasn't in the sewing mood, mostly because I knew I'd have to lay everything out on the floor and I wasn't looking forward to it, so the roll of fabric has been shuffled from my sewing table to the guest room closet to the-under-the-stairs closet. I threaded the hem of the sheets on the curtain rod as an interim solution and tried to ignore the fact that the too-long sheets only kept out some of the light.

too-long, too see-thru, and sagging because of the loose bracket

A few weeks ago I noticed that one of the brackets holding the curtain rod was pulling out of the wall, despite the fact that I'd used anchors to install them. I'm guessing the anchors were just no match for small kiddos pulling the sheets back and forth across the curtain rod.

Since I had to take the curtain rod down (and remove the sheet curtains) to fix it I decided it was time to buckle down and finally sew the curtains. I sewed the lining to the curtains so it was a little fiddly, but overall the project wasn't as bad as I was afraid it would be and only took a few hours.

light tan fabric with a darker tan leaf print

The fabric is thick, and with two panels there's a fair amount of weight for the curtain rod to support. I knew I couldn't depend on anchors in the drywall to support the weight, so I had to find a stud to screw the brackets into. While the stud was closer to the door frame than I wanted, at least I was able to find one close to where I wanted it placed.

I used rings with clips to hang the curtain panels. The rings are great because it's easy to adjust the height a little without having to re-hem the whole thing.

The result: the curtains look good and are much more effective at blocking the light than just the sheets. One more project that I really didn't need to delay for so long.

it's a sunny afternoon out, but you can't tell with these curtains

I also made a curtain for the other window in the room. I'd rigged an old, too-long tab-top curtain to cover the window, but it was old, unevenly faded, and rather ugly. As I removed it I realized that this particular curtain panel was purchased to cover a window in our very first {very tiny} apartment 14 years ago. Apparently I never got rid of it in any of our moves or purges in the intervening years since then, though the rest of the curtain panels from that first apartment are no longer around.

the ugly old curtain

There wasn't enough fabric left over from the other curtains to make another curtain, so I looked through my stash and found a tan pillowcase that I bought at IKEA that was too large for our pillows. After cutting the seams, there was enough fabric that when I combined it with the leftover piece I had just enough to make a single curtain panel for this window. I lined it with part of a brown sheet that was also sitting in my stash, waiting to become a dust ruffle on the guest room bed (but won't be since I changed to gray bedding in there).

this window looks so much better with a nice curtain
the stained glass is one of my projects from a class I took in college

Both curtains do a terrific job of darkening the room. They also help with insulation. The basement stays cooler in the summer than the rest of the house, but it's also cooler in the winter, which isn't nearly as desirable. I'm hoping the basement will be a bit warmer in the winter than it has been in the past.

Up next: painting the LEGO table, which is the last of the projects I built while pregnant with River that still needs to be painted.

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