Friday, August 15, 2014

Extreme blackout; or, where are the pinholes of light?

"Extreme blackout"- this blog post title could actually apply also to my blog in general- I having been out of sight since early July!  I've checked the blog stats and am shocked (but delighted) to see that people are still reading this blog every day even though it's been 6 weeks since my last post..... 
Ever since returning from vacation, I have been swamped with very intense production deadlines.  It's hard to remember to take photos when working so hard, but I do have some, and a few stories to tell.
Here's one of them.

"Extreme blackout" is what I call this homeowner's request for her bedrooms.  We created three-layer treatments that came as close as one could get to total blackout, without fully covering the windows with draperies, which she did not want.
We installed phase one of her renovated home on July 31, the family moved in on August 1, and on August 4 their baby boy was born.  He came home the next day to his own very, very dark bedroom.
Now that is DARK!
Here's what you see by daylight:

More on the toppers in a future post- meanwhile, thanks to Joanna Braxton for her instructional DVD on making these sleek cornices....

Now, you might be wondering, where are the pinholes of light that are the inherent drawback to blackout shades, the thorn in the side for shade fabricators, and the bane of our existence?

Yeah, we solved that problem.

A double-sided shade with multiple layers of linings made it possible.  Here's what the back looks like (this photo is of a similar shade in another room.)   These are serious shades, folks, more like furniture than curtains! 
Before going into detail, I want to acknowledge that my train of thought about those pesky pinholes of light began during an enlightening webinar by Susan Woodcock (Home Dec Gal) which I attended in the spring.  She developed her own clever way of dealing with the pinholes, which over a couple of months percolated through my brain and evolved into this method for this particular job.

First we made the shade using three layers of lining.  Next to the face, Bella Notte Silky Blackout.  Then interlining, and finally regular cotton sateen.
The shade is strung, using ladder tape on the outer two rows.
Another layer of Silky Blackout is tacked over each ring, one tack on each side of the ring.  So one layer of blackout hides the hole(s) in the other layer.  No pinholes of light!
Coming up next: more on the double-sided blackout; more rooms with variations on the three-layer treatment; more on the slender cornices; more on box pleated draperies.  No more 6-week hiatus for me.  Thanks for hanging in there, and coming back!


  1. I love reading your blog posts. It is always interesting to see how different workrooms take different steps to make a shade or drape. Is there a reason why you interlined this shade when you are using 2 layers of blackout lining? Did you need the extra weight?

    1. Sorry it took so long to reply Kathy- I was having some trouble with comments. Yeah the layers could've been fewer but once i started this way I had to make them all the same. Next time I'll layer the linings differently. In this business you know every job is different and we have to roll with the punches!

  2. I am interesting in finding out out about the actual curtain material you used for the double-sided shade with multiple layers of linings project? If you know the name and where you purchased it from???

    1. Hmmm I'll try to find out- I don't supply the fabrics, the designers do that. I'll see if I can get the name.