A little home sewing to beat the heat

Liner for blinds

That merciless Florida sun on my windows. It’s brutal and really heats up a room. When I first moved into this house – which faces east and has lots of windows in the front bedrooms – my electric bill was about $200/month. Trying to manage the heat and diminish the morning light in these bedrooms, I used blinds and heavy ‘lined’ curtains (even though I don’t like curtains because they collect dust and aren’t really my style).

About 5 years ago, I purchased blackout liners for the windows and hung them on simple tension rods behind the blinds. What a difference! But over time, with the rising sun, they started to disintegrate. Amazing. One of my spring projects was to (1) ditch the curtains, (2) replace all the blinds in the bedrooms, and (3) make new blackout liners.

It took me 2 weeks! most of it spent taking down curtain rods and blinds and cleaning up behind them. I had so many leftover holes in the walls and window frames, and the window frames looked dingy.  Spackle, sandpaper, and paint… I’m not as strong as I was in my fifties, but I’m still stubborn – I just had to pace myself.

These liners really work, and I love not having the curtains. My bedroom at 8:00 on a sunny morning. Dark, cool, perfect.

no sun 0

Making the liners was the easiest part of this project. I used Roc-Lon blackout fabric from JoAnns, white on white. It’s 54″ wide, which is perfect for a single panel on even my widest (52″) windows.

I didn’t hem the sides or bottoms of the panels – this ‘fabric’ doesn’t ravel. The only sewing was to make a header for the tension rods. On the machine, I used my walking foot, lowered the pressure on the presser foot, and used a 80/110 needle with regular sewing thread.

Liner for blinds (2)

It’s not a dress! but I’m really enjoying the results – new blinds, no curtains, cool, dark rooms.

That electric bill. I’m the only human in this house, so I knew most of it was for the A/C. Using window liners made a big difference. But improvements over the last 4 years have had an even greater impact – a new roof, exterior house painting that included re-sealing all the windows, a new A/C handler and compressor, a new insulated/hurricane proof garage door, and additional weather stripping around doors. These were big ticket items for the most part, but they pay off – now my average monthly electric bill is $70 – $80. And the savings have really helped my fabric stash and hopefully made my eco-footprint a little smaller!

Bye for now – Coco

5 thoughts on “A little home sewing to beat the heat

  1. Earlier this month I made curtains out of the Ron-Loc from Fabric mart for our East facing windows. What a difference! Our house if much darker now but I think that the money I save on my electric bill I will just buy a few motion activated night lights! Thank you for taking the time to blog, I really enjoy reading it.
    P.S. You’ve inspired me to grow out my gray hair too!

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  2. Well that is pretty darn brilliant to put the roc lon behind the blinds. I need to do something in my Master. It gets the afternoon sun and it is HOT in there. I hear you with the improvements. We replaced a 15 year old A/C unit and it was incredible the savings and we were so much cooler. I have to say that I did not notice a difference after replacing the roof with the highest efficiency rated stuff. Disappointing. Had to have the new roof though so…..
    It’s very nice you have been able to reduce the eco-footprint and stimulate the economy at the same time. Happy dance!

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    1. thank you! The roclon is great, much better and nicer in all ways than the blackout curtains I purchased previously. Ah – own a home long enough and you get to pay for the big stuff! My old roof was ‘contractor grade’, minimally to code, and the code has changed a lot since it was built in 1992. The new one has better felt, asphalt, new fascia, and lots more attic air vents across the roof. Both tile roofs, but the new one is barrel tile – I think it’s ‘cooler’ than the previous flat tiles. The AC change was amazing! The newer units are incredibly more efficient. Just got a new hot water heater as well, and it promises to be ‘better’ as well. Every single penny saved is appreciated!

      Let me know if you decide to line your Master windows – a great little project!

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