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  • Writer's pictureSusan Woodcock

Eliminating Pesky Pin Holes of Light

What are pin holes of light?

Blackout lining is made by coating a base material with layers of acrylic foam. This blocks light but when sewing by hand or machine, the needle pierces the fabric and a tiny hole is created.

On flat Roman shades, rings are traditionally sewn on the back of the shade catching the face fabric and lining with the stitches. Where every rings is sewn, you will see a pin hole of light when the shade is lowered to darken the room. It doesn't sound like a big deal... but imagine 35 little light holes shining through on your custom Roman shade!

Pinholes of light in a Roman shade

After a lot of experimentation I developed a method for hand sewing the rings to a blackout shade without pin holes of light. It's simple really. I'm surprised that I have not thought of this before. The process is outlined below but for a more clear explanation view this 30 minute video, a live hangout on air that I presented on May 23, 2014. Click to View the Video

To use this method you will not need any special tools or supplies... just a needle and thread. That is what I love about this the most! Hand sewing is my specialty and even though I believe adhesive products have their place in the workroom, I am thrilled to have a solution to pin holes of light that uses hand stitching.

To begin, cut the blackout lining to the size needed for the finished shade. Mark for the columns of rings taking into consideration hems around the sides and bottom. Hand stitch all the rings to the blackout using a thread that matches the lining. Yes, you can match thread to the lining - not the face fabric! No more color threads on the back of your shade.

Sewing rings on blackout lining

After all the rings are sewn to the blackout lining, place your main fabric face down on the worktable. Fold and press side and bottom hems. Place a layer of interlining and trim to fit and then top with the blackout (with the rings sewn-on) face up. For best results I found that adding a layer of interlining eliminates the most light, but to my delight this method also worked great without interlining, creating diffused light at the tack points or no light at all depending on the face fabric.

Adding lining to a blackout shade

Next, fold the blackout lining down the length of the shade at the center-most column of rings. Starting at the first ring, and using a needle and threadwith two strands of thread knotted at the bottom, pick up the stitches from the back of the sewn ring. Do not catch the lining, only the stitches. Pull the needle and thread through until almost to the end, thread the needle through the loop created by the knotted thread and secure.

Sewing the ring to the face fabric

Create a Daisy Chain (aka French Tack) about 1/4 inch long. You will want each tack to be exactly the same length so count the number of "chains" that you stitch. I did four for each tack. At the end, thread the needle and thread through the loop to lock it in place.

how to make a daisy chain

When the Daisy Chain is completed, take a stitch through the interlining, catching the face fabric and back through, securing to the bottom of the Daisy Chain with a knot. Continue on to the next ring. To speed up the process, do not clip the thread between each tack point. The floating threads will not show because of the blackout lining.

When that column of rings is finished, fold the lining over to the next column - working from the center to the outer edges. After all the rings are tacked with a Daisy Chain to the face fabric, continue to finish the shade by finishing the side and bottom hems. If you use a cord shroud that can be tacked to the shade without rings, use this same process by tacking the shroud tube to the lining instead of rings, and connecting the face to the lining with Daisy Chains at each tack point.

The finished shade has no pinholes of light! Keep in mind that results may vary based on your fabrication techniques and materials used, but I think you will be pleased with the finished shade. If you would like to learn more about making Roman shades, and products for cord safety such as cord shroud, ladder tape, Ring-Locks, lift systems and more, visit our Custom Workroom Technical Center website at for hands-on training.

Blackout Roman shade with no pinholes of light

I hope you will try this new method for sewing rings to blackout shades. Please report back by commenting below, sharing on the HomeDecGal facebook page, or by sending me an email at I look forward to seeing how you incorporate this idea into your shade projects!

Best Wishes,

Susan AKA HomeDecGal

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