Friday, January 13, 2012

Fleece Curtain Panels

Cold weather is here for sure; it was 14 degrees last night with gusting winds.  We are grateful for heat that works and for a fireplace that supplements.  However, we still have a few windows that are original to the house, and they are not the most energy-efficient features any more.  Replacing them will be difficult because of the unique frame sizes and hardware that are really great architectural aspects of the house, so until we can get someone to replace the panes only, we have to deal with a little heat loss.

I actually forgot about this quick, easy project until we got our last gas bill, and the total was higher than the same period last year in spite of generally warmer temperatures.  The annoying thing about energy bills is that it is impossible to compare one year to another; even with temperature data, there is always something that makes each year unique.  However, when I saw a usage spike, I went looking for the answer.

As it turns out, I had forgotten to put my fleece panels up at the back windows.  These panels snuggle close to the lower side window in the back "picture" window, protecting the room a bit from cold air that escapes and falls to the floor.  I had noticed a bit of a chill to the room, but I forgot about my project.  I leave the panels out in the summer and pull the main curtains all the way back to be able to see the garden from all angles, but in the winter, I pull the curtains closer and install the panels.  I guess this year I wanted a garden view a bit longer and didn't properly do my winterizing.

If you have a window that needs a curtain panel, these are super-easy.  I cut a fleece remnant to size and sewed one end only to make a rod pocket.  There is no need to hem all the way around, because fleece doesn't fray, but you could line them in white if your window faces the street or the neighbor.  Mr. FC&G cut dowels to size and sanded the ends smooth, then we lay the rod with the curtain panel across two cup hooks.  If you put the cup hooks in "upside down" so that the rod rests in the back curve rather than the cup itself, the panel will stay closer to the window.  Bingo, curtain panels without having to buy tension rods or specialty curtains! 

My room is warmer once again.  Yeah!

The Analysis

Fast:  We made these panels in less than an hour counting the oh-so-complex cup hook installation.

Cheap:  Fleece remnants + dowels + cup hooks = a set of curtain panels for around $5.

Good:  With rising heat prices, I would bet we save more than the $5 investment every cold month we use these.  And they bring some needed color into a gray winter world.
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  1. Now that is a great idea than most would not think of and easy to put up and take down as needed.

  2. That's a very good suggestion, re the cup hooks! I've just hung some fleece here at my window and deliberately hung a slightly longer piece (20cm extra) so that I could fold over at the bottom and have it sit neat and snug on my windowsill; the extra weight really helps to keep the fabric tight to the glass. I'm actually using a fleece throw that is folded in half so it really is super warm now !! (If you have sash windows then you won't have a sill to speak of though, I realise).

  3. That's a really good idea to add some extra length. As winter approaches, I'm getting ready to make a new set of these, since the originals have gotten sun bleached, and I think I'll make them double thickness just to make things warmer.